(NC) It can be hard to enjoy your stylishly decorated home or even get a good night's rest when it's scorching outside and your air conditioner or fan can't keep up. Beyond being uncomfortable, it can be dangerous for your health if it gets too hot indoors. This is especially true for older adults or young children, or if you have certain medical conditions such as breathing difficulties, heart problems, or a mental illness like depression.
Fortunately, there are simple changes you can make to create a more pleasant indoor environment, even on the hottest days. Here are some tips recommended by Health Canada.
Optimize your AC. If you have an air conditioner, make sure it works before the hot weather starts. If your air conditioner has a thermostat, set it to the highest setting you find comfortable — somewhere between 22°C and 26°C. If you use a window air conditioner, cool only one room where you can go for relief.
Get creative in the kitchen. Ovens produce a lot of heat, so prepare meals that don't need cooking in the oven. Using an oven will increase the indoor temperature, which is difficult to lower during extreme heat events, especially without an air conditioner. Instead, cook something on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, have a fresh summer salad or fire up the grill outside.
Invest in the future. Planting a broadleaf tree on the side of the house where the sun hits during the hottest part of the day will provide shade during the summer months and shelter the house from radiant heat.
Screen out the sun. Block the sunlight with awnings, curtains or blinds. Allowing the sun to beam through the windows will increase your indoor temperature because of the “greenhouse effect” and will trap hot air inside. Installing and closing awnings or shutters is very effective at keeping the heat outside, since the sun's rays will be blocked before they reach the window. If it's safe, open your windows at night to let in cooler air.