How to survive a heat wave without breaking the bank

Summertime means vacations, beach trips and barbecues. It also means heat waves, which, for people without air conditioning, can be miserable. Particularly for tenants that live on higher floors, where rising hot air means that your bedroom is often hotter inside than it is outside. Even if you do have air conditioning, it's not a very cost effective way to beat the heat, especially when temperatures are constantly north of 90 degrees. 

For anyone looking for ways to keep cool this summer without breaking the bank, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine: While this may be sacrilegious for beer and coffee drinkers, alcohol and caffeine will only work to dehydrate you, making living in the heat that much more difficult.
  • Cool yourself down with water: Placing wet towels on your head or shoulders, dipping your feet in buckets of cool water or even taking cold showers can bring some much needed relief.
  • Eliminate extra heat sources: Replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, and shutting off or unplugging computers and other appliances, can help get rid of a lot of extra heat in the house.
  • Ventilate your house: Running ceiling fans during the day and opening windows at night can help promote ventilation throughout the home, allowing cool air to breeze through rooms.

Of course, if you do want to run the air conditioner, more power to you. But this amenity can prove unnecessarily costly if your home isn't well-insulated. Poor insulation can result in that expensive cold air leaking outside, spending your money without actually cooling you. Homeowners in the Virginia area should meet with Virginia home inspectors to get an assessment of their property as to how well-insulated and energy efficient it is. A home inspection will not only improve your household, but greatly bring down your utility bills.