How hot do you think it’s been?
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has been recording heat index highs of 51 in Cavite and Pangasinan, and 58 in Occidental Mindoro. According to PAGASA, a heat index between 41 to 54 causes heat exhaustion and cramps. In broiling, roasting temperatures, you’ll need more than wearing light clothes and drinking cold water to survive.
You’ll need other ideas to stay cool, especially when you don’t want to overuse your air conditioning system and pay too much in electric bills.
Whether you’re in a rented condominium in the city or a bungalow in the suburbs, a cooler indoor space doesn’t have to be expensive. By all means, use your AC system. But use it with the following in mind:
• Turn on your AC during the day and off during the night
• Set your thermostat at a comfortable level
• Use a timer to set the hours for maximum use without running up your bill
You can also shut the blinds when the sunlight’s turning your living room into a sauna. You’ll stop the cold air from escaping, preventing your AC from overworking.
Another way to maximize the cool air from your air conditioner is to run the fan. An electric fan will allow cool air to circulate in any room, letting you get comfortable.
What if you want to save up and turn off the AC? Could your electric fan help you stay cool?
Place a pan filled with ice in front of your fan, and just sit in its path. It can be a short-term solution, but it’ll still keep you cool.
A long-term, eco-friendly solution would be to add more plants to the front of your home. Trees, shrub, and the like will act as natural shade and cut solar gain. Plants also allow your walls to be cooler, preventing heat from entering your home and making them much more effective than blinds or curtains.
If you live in a condo, you could still use specific plants to cool your home. Moisture from plants maintains indoor humidity and keeps temperatures down. Some plants, like fern and areca palm, purify the air.
A cooler home is sometimes not enough, and you’ll still feel uncomfortable from the heat. Aside from staying hydrated, try the following:
Keep the caffeine to a minimum because it promotes dehydration
Limit protein-rich meals in large portions because they boost metabolic rate and heat your body
Try lighter fare and frequent small meals instead, and if you can, eat more fresh food so that you don’t have to turn on the stove, which is a heat source you can cut
Another way to stay cool is to put some of your skincare products in the refrigerator. For example, your cooled lotion can cool you down. You can also put water in a spray bottle and place that in the refrigerator. Spritz some on while you read or sip on your iced tea; the addition of a simple hand-held fan would keep you even more comfortable.
The heat will get unbearable. But it’s not a reason to run up your electric bill by overworking your AC. With a few simple, practical steps, you can keep cool without the heady costs.