Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frugal ways to beat the heat

Here in Oregon its just plain HOT! Yesterday we hit 106 degree's and today should be even hotter. Over the last few days we've done a couple of things to keep it cool in our home. We do have central AC but don't want our bill to be crazy high so we use it only when needed. Here are a few ways you can beat the heat and not have to spend extra money.

1. Shut all vents except in the main living area. Ours in our living room/kitchen area.
2. Shut all doors and keep them shut.
3. Put a towel in front of each door to keep heat from coming under the door and into your other area.
4. Hang dark blankets on windows if you don't have blinds. Hang them even if you do have them, the more cover the better.
5. If you have a vent near a window or sliding door, make sure you lay a piece of wood or maybe a broom on the bottom of the curtain, keeping the drapes away from the vent. This way the cool air doesn't go up the window/door and get hot.
6. If you own a fireplace, try to cover the opening with a piece of wood or something long enough to cover it. In our home its 2 large pieces of artwork with a blanket over it. The bricks on our fireplace get so hot, they let heat into our home.
7. Do not use your oven or stove. Eat snack food that you do not have to cook. Maybe use microwave, toaster, rice cooker. etc.
8. Open your fridge only when really needed. Same for freezer. This will save you energy. Plus if you power goes out, it will keep stuff colder longer until it comes back on. (Ours went out last night for a few hours)
9. Sleep in your main living area. We have slept in our living room together for 2 nights now. Its much more comfortable. Pillows and sheets are only needed. Plus its family time!
10. Do not use your dryer. I hang all my clothes outside. Take advantage of the heat and save some on your energy bill. I do this regularly and it saves me about $10-$20 a month off our electric bill. Our family of 6 does a lot of laundry.
11. Take a cold bath. Let the kids wear their bathing suits, they will love this. I let them take a 20 minute bath before bedtime so they can relax and get some energy out.
12. Hang dark colored sheets on the outside of each window. Its not pretty but it keeps the heat from getting to your window, prevents the windows from heating up and letting heat in your home. We do this because we have not replaced our old windows for new ones. Saving up for that.
13. Keep a cool wash cloth for each person, and a bowl with water nearby. This way if the power goes out, you don't have to get up and get them wet again. This helped our children so much. Once we handed them one of those, they fell asleep right away.
14. Wear thin clothing or very little. Undies and tanks are all were wearing while home. My little ones wear just undies, it keeps them cool and comfy.
15. Try to stay home. The more you open your doors, the more heat will seep in your home.
16. If you own a garden, water each morning and evening. Once it cools down, water your garden. Do not water in the daytime, all that water you use up will just evaporate and some plants will even burn from the heat.
17. Early morning open up all windows and doors and let evening heat out. It will get fresh air in your home and cool it down. If at night its cooler and has a little wind, you can do the same. Once the sun comes up, shut up everything again.
18. Do dishes at night. If you have a timer, use it to your advantage. Not only is water rates cheaper later at night, you will not heat up your home this way. Same goes for laundry. If your not able to hang dry clothes, do laundry at night. Open up your laundry window to let hot air out. I will usually use my washer timer to wash a load during the night so when I get up, all I have to do is hang dry.
19. When its livable, we turn off the AC for the night. Since were all sleeping in the living room, we will keep a small fan running over all of us to get air circulation. Much cheaper than keeping the AC on all the time.

Things to do while cooped up in your home or need to get out
1. Craft time
2. Coloring books
3. Reading books
4. Game systems. We have the Wii that we use to battle each other. We play stuff like car races, Mario, etc and get family time at the same time.
5. Watch a movie
6. Play board games-switch with a neighbor when they get bored of their games. This way you don't have to go buy any.
7. Go to the store and take your time.
8. Go to the mall, usually have a play area
9. Public fountain
10. Play dates
11. Back yard pool -I fill mine once, each day take strainer out and remove grass or gunk. Should last a few days this way. You can add a 1/2 tsp bleach if you want to keep it clean but I choose not to, keep it toxic free.
12. Sprinkler time. We have no sprinkler system in our yard so 2 times a week we use the sprinkler to water our yard. This is perfect time for the kids to run in the sprinkler. Plus its in the evening and kids can get their energy out and go to bed easy.
13. Computer time

Remember, just because you have an AC doesn't mean you should keep it running 24/7. Not only is this a good idea for the power company and helps prevent black outs. But your saving money on your energy bill. Remember, there are lots of people who do not have AC and have to use just fan's. Children and the elderly need power to keep those fans running. Remember to check on any elderly people you know, they are more susceptible to this heat and some don't have family members near by. Maybe invite them to stay with you. Help out as many people as you can.
Remember to stay cool!

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