These days, the only thing hotter than the housing market here in the Pacific Northwest is the weather. South Sound homes tend to be more prepared for rain and cold than extreme heat, and air conditioning units sell out quickly when the temperature spikes. Fortunately, there are a few handy tricks to help keep your Rob Rice home at a comfortable temperature until you can install central air conditioning.
Make Sure Your Ceiling Fans Rotate Counter-Clockwise
Do you switch your ceiling fan’s blade direction with the seasons? If not, you may not be making the most of your Rob Rice home’s cooling capabilities. Ceiling fans are designed to create and enhance drafts, and since heat rises, you want yours to rotate counterclockwise in the summer so you can feel the downdraft breeze. A counterclockwise rotation takes air and pushes it down toward the center of the room, eliminating stagnant air and helping alleviate discomfort.
Ceiling fans typically have a little switch located on the body, above the blades, that controls the direction in which the blades spin. More modern fans may also have a setting to control fan blade direction on an external remote. If you have to climb up to the fan itself, make sure your fan is off before you flip the directional switch or make a manual adjustment. If you have the ability to adjust the angle of the blades themselves, the ideal pitch for a fan blade is between 12 and 15 degrees. Any less and you’re unlikely to feel the benefits, while more will create an uncomfortable gust. Keeping your fan blades clean can also help alleviate allergies, as a dirty fan can disperse dust, dander and tracked-in pollen.
Make Use Of Your Vent Fans
While they’re not a fix-all, vent fans do a great job of moving hot air up and out. Typically used to expel shower steam and stove heat, they can still help you keep your Rob Rice home cool during scorching summer days. In order to get the most from these fans, it’s best not to leave them on all day, and to use them in tandem with other fans throughout the house. If it’s too hot to open doors and windows, vent fans can give you a way to get the hot air out.
Of course, clean vents and fans are going to do a better job of venting air than those that are plugged with dirt and dust. Plaque and debris will increase load and detain hot air, so make sure you give your fans a wipe down before using them in this way.
Wait To Use Large Appliances
You’ll never be more aware of the heat from your oven than when it’s already too hot in the kitchen. Saving your cooking, laundry and other large appliance use for hours when it’s cooler (at night, for example) will help you conserve energy and avoid adding hot air to an already warm home. The stove and oven will be the biggest culprits, and it’s a great excuse to eat cooler foods or grill outside. In a pinch, use a crockpot or Instant Pot, which can cook most of the same foods without generating nearly as much heat. For incredibly hot days, try turning off or unplugging as many small appliances as possible to eliminate any extra heat.
Hang Blackout Curtains
In a heat wave, closed blinds are the first line of defense, but they don’t completely block light or heat – plenty of sun can still slip through the slats, and the blinds themselves can easily heat up, too. Blackout curtains can make a great barrier between a hot window and the rest of a room. Closing a window is already a great way to enforce natural temperature regulation within a space, and these curtains are the icing on the cake.
Blackout curtains help preserve the interior of your Rob Rice Home by blocking errant light that could lead to issues like carpet bleaching even with the blinds closed. Despite their name, they come in a variety of colors and styles to match your décor even once the extreme weather has passed. A strip of blackout material stitched into the curtain allows it to block heat and protect furniture without making a room feel oppressive or small.
Create A Backyard Oasis
The concept of a “backyard oasis” varies from home to home, but if it’s hotter inside than outside, the best course of action for comfort may include escaping outdoors. Set up a backyard awning, tent or umbrella to provide some shade and put your feet in a basin of cool water or kiddie pool to keep your body temperature down. A well-placed awning can cool your home while still allowing light, as well as providing a lovely backyard ambience.
If your backyard has a large tree, hedge or similar natural shade source, embrace it in lieu of a store-bought option. Chances are, that large plant has a way to keep itself cool, in addition to naturally emitting oxygen, and you can benefit from close proximity. Deciduous trees cool the air through a process called evapotranspiration. If your South Sound home features a vine or bigleaf maple, black cottonwood or red alder, you have a natural shade source that can also provide a bit of relief on a hot day.
Place Fans Carefully
Unfortunately, not all fans are created equal. Because heat rises, a ceiling fan is often a great first choice, but having a ceiling fan in each room is expensive, energy inefficient and improbable in relation to the layout of the house. It’s important to place fans in locations where they can be effective and circulate cool air across a large amount of space.
In a room with only one, the fan should be placed along the wall opposite the majority of the room’s activity. This can improve air circulation, disrupt rising heat and draw cool air to the spaces it’s most needed for comfortable living.
If a room is especially hot due to lack of circulation, place one fan in the furthest corner from the door, and a box fan in the doorway, facing out. This will dump heat out of the room while integrating the space with the airflow of the rest of the house. If the heat is especially intense, place the smaller fan in the doorway and the box fan facing out the window. This will create a quick circulatory flow. Once the room cools off, move the fan out of the window and close it to seal in the cool air.
For a more comfortable sleeping experience, it can help to put a fan on either side of the bed, especially if the high and low temperature are relatively similar and the night shows no sign of cooling. If you have a small air conditioning unit, don’t be afraid to add a fan to ensure that cold air goes a little bit further. Make sure your fans are not blocked by furniture and check their motors occasionally to ensure they aren’t overheating – they’re working hard to keep you cool!
Invest In A Dehumidifier
While dehumidifiers don’t technically cool a room, they reduce humidity considerably, which can feel like the same thing. Humidity is an uphill battle for portable air conditioning units, whose benefits can be canceled out by too much moisture in the air. Air from a portable air conditioner is generally less humid than the hot air it’s battling, but it’s not big enough to fully cancel out the heat and can leave a space feeling muggy.
A dehumidifier can be a great companion to a fan or portable air conditioner and is less likely to sell out when a heat wave hits. Dehumidifiers don’t just remove water from the air, they tackle the allergens that breed and thrive in a moist environment. The old adage, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” can ring very true when it comes to pinpointing the source of heat wave discomfort. Once you’ve eliminated humidity, even from just one room of the house, you’ll likely feel much better overall.
Are You Ready To Install Air Conditioning?
All of our luxurious and affordable South Sound homes are outfitted with incredible HVAC systems from Sunset Air, and central air conditioning is an ever-popular upgrade. If you own a Rob Rice home and are interested in making the switch, contact us to learn more!
Interested In A Rob Rice Home?
To learn more about our luxury communities, affordable homes and unique pre-sale program, connect with us on our website or call 360-754-7010.