18 Great Ways to Stay Cool on your Front Porch This Summer
The world’s climate has been growing increasingly hotter in recent time, and international weather agencies know it.
According to the National Centers for Environmental Information’s latest report, May 2015 was recorded as the warmest on a global scale since 1880, proof of which was the deadly heat wave in India which reached a searing high of 48 degrees Celsius, as well as scorching temperatures recorded across the rest of Asia and South America.
National Geographic also notes that the 20th century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years. Add to that the report from NASA’s Earth Observatory which states that in the past century, world temperatures have climbed by 0.7 degrees Celsius, “roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.”
The porch is the place to be
To put it in a nutshell, we’re in for really hot weather, especially in the summers to come.
With that in mind, you will probably find yourself wanting to beat the heat by having your rest and recreation activities on your porch than anywhere else in your house.
The porch is now becoming an important house space because not only does it provide you with the chance to take in Mother Nature’s breeze; it also provides you with a more economical alternative for saving on electricity compared to having your air conditioning unit running at full blast 24/7.
Tips for cooling down
Here are several ways on how to cool down and stay cool in the midst of the summer heat, not just on your porch but anywhere else.
During the summer months, you will probably notice that the upper sections of your home tend to be warmer than usual. This is a typical problem, especially in homes with upper floors. When the air circulating in an enclosed space becomes denser, it tends to rise, thus leading to warmer upper floors.
So, how to keep cool? Just stay in the lower areas of your home and feel more refreshed these summer months. Get some mats and transfer your sleeping quarters to your living room or any other area in the first floor for a more comfy and cooler rest.
Get an electric fan.
The regular electric fan will be your friend this summer, especially if you want to keep the air in your home circulating.
This is how to cool down a room -- or the entire upper floor of your home, for that matter -- using your electric fan. Position your fan at the bottom of your stairs and aim its head up. Doing so will force the cooler air from the ground floor to the warmer upper floor, thus allowing better air circulation within your home.
Get a cold air fan.
There is the regular electric fan, then there is the cooling fan that can help you and your abode to keep cool in summer. It is a fan that blows cold air, much like the kind of air you’d expect from an air conditioning unit. However, economics-wise, it won’t give you a heart attack when the electricity bill comes, compared to the AC unit.
A cooling fan (also known as an evaporative cooler) knows exactly how to make a room cooler through -- you guessed it -- evaporation. It has a reservoir where water is placed to dampen a cooling pad within the unit. The unit then sucks the air circulating around it which in turn hits the cooling pad, creating the cooler air for your enjoyment.
Heat-emitting appliances must be kept to a minimum inside a room.
The usual culprits are TV sets and/or desktop computers that could not only heat up the climate within your room but could also contribute to your electricity bill charges.
How to make your room cooler? SFGate’s Home Guides recommends you to either replace your cathode ray tube TV or monitor with a flatscreen with LCD display, or transfer these to other areas of your home, all for your coolness’ sake.
Curtains in the morning, open windows in the evening.
Another way on how to make a room cooler even without an AC unit is through blocking out the sunlight using either thick curtains or blinds, especially during times when the summer sun is literally beating down on your side of the planet. That will lessen your room’s absorption of heat.
Then when evening comes, welcome the cooler air in with open windows. Do this alternating technique during these warmer months and you’ll be as cool as a cucumber.
Speaking of cucumbers…
Load up on “cool” food.
When we say “cool food,” we don’t necessarily mean ice cream. In fact, ice cream does just the opposite because the body works overtime to digest food that contain more fat, carbohydrates, and protein -- and those are exactly what constitute ice cream. As a result, the body heats up even more from all the digesting caused by ice cream.
The true cooling foods are those that have high water content in them. More water in the body brings about lesser digesting work and lower body temperatures. Typical examples are fruits like apples, watermelon; and veggies like cucumber, spinach, and other leafy greens.
Spicy food also act as cooling agents for your body due to their capability to make you perspire more. As the humid air hits your skin, the water off it evaporates, leaving you cooler.
Note that in the previous item, we emphasized the importance of water content in food to make you cool down. Water, indeed, is a natural body-cooling agent that becomes more essential during warm weather. Thus, one can only have so much water in and around him to cool down.
Drink more water than usual. Make more lemonade and other cool and refreshing drinks. Make fruit shakes but go easy on the milk. Go to the beach. Go to a swimming pool. Sink your feet in a bucket of cold water. Keep a spray bottle filled with water and constantly spritz your face with it. Just take the time to enjoy the cooling goodness of water for a cool summer.
Lay off the liquor.
Probably the worst drink you will want to have on a hot day -- worse than a hot cup of coffee or tea -- is beer or any kind of liquor.
The main component of these drinks is alcohol which acts as a vasodilator, meaning, blood vessels widen and cause the body to heat up. As a result, a person tends to get dehydrated and sweaty. You also tend to visit the bathroom more often to pee.
Change your lighting fixtures, especially if they are of the incandescent of halogen kind.
These bulbs tend to be heat emitters and will only add to both the humidity of your home and your electricity bill.
Instead, replace these lighting fixtures with CFL or LED lights that generate white light instead of yellow light. They may be a wee bit more expensive but they don’t emit heat as much as halogens or incandescent bulbs. In the long run, they also save you money that would otherwise have gone to bill payment.
Do not forget to also turn off lights when you leave a room.
Close the door.
Another idea on how to cool a room is by thoroughly closing it in the daytime to keep cool air within and hot air out. Not only does this work against the scorching heat of the sun, it also works whenever heat-emitting appliances outside your door are in operation or when someone is busy cooking in the kitchen.
Freeze your pillow.
If you want a sound sleep despite the warm weather, placing your pillow -- or just about any of your bed linens -- in the freezer before turning in for the night is a great idea. Just make sure you seal said items inside a plastic bag so that your stuff won’t end up as frozen as a popsicle.
Ice, ice, baby.
Ice is just as much a friend as water is to you during the summer months. Use it to cool down your body temperature!
Just press a cube of ice on your pulse points (crooks of elbows, the sides of your neck, wrists, inner thighs, and crooks of the knees) so that the lower temperature could travel faster through your blood vessels, resulting to an overall cool feeling.
You can also place several cubes of ice in a cup or glass, then breathe into it. Your warm breath will push out cold air from within the cup toward your face. Yes, wonderful, isn’t it?
Use that sexy wet look and cool off.
One sure-fire way to bring down your body heat is through soaking an article of your clothing with water then wearing it until evaporation dries it off and cools you down. Repeat this procedure after article of clothing has dried.
This must be done with caution though since keeping your back wet could make you potentially sick with pneumonia. Perhaps a safer approach would be to wet a towel then wrap it around your body for instant relief from the heat.
White is the new black during summers, not because Paris and Milan catwalks said so, but because the color white tends to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it. This ability makes white or other pastel-colored clothes the wardrobe of choice in cooling your body temperature.
Also go for light and breathable fabrics like cotton, silk, or linen that are loose-fitting for your summer wear. Sleeveless tops and blouses would also do good for day trips to the mall or park.
Bare some skin!
The more skin is exposed to air, the easier it is to manage the heat. Lounge on your front porch in your swimwear! Show off those curves! Then when indoors, strip down to your underwear. No one will judge you for that.
Yes, summer time is definitely your best excuse for taking it all off and baring as much skin as you decently can!
Your body has a temperature control system, and this is located on the back of your neck. Thus, if you want to cool your body down, then this area should be properly shaded and kept away from the sun. You can wear a cap that’s turned backwards or wet a hand towel then place it on the back of your neck.
However, if hardcore cooling down is what you want, then use that same hand towel and insert a cube of ice among its folds. Then strategically drape that hand towel on your neck, making sure that the ice is placed on the back of your neck. Your nerve receptors in that area will eventually read that cold sensation and send the message throughout the rest of your body, making you feel as chill as a pickle.
Stay away from direct sunlight.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that the sun is our primary source of heat here on Earth, and that it tends to stay out longer than usual during summers. Thus, it would be wise to keep cool under a shade.
Your garden’s trees could very well be your sources of shades when at home, so make sure you’ve properly cared for them so that they can generously give back not only shade but also that vital oxygen we need to breathe in.
You may also want to attach awnings to specific areas of your house to add more shade and keep you protected from direct sunlight.
Your front porch can also give you your much-needed shade. Sit on your lounge chair, bring a fruit shake, read a good book, and kiss your summer blues away.
Don’t go for paved patios.
Some homes have patios that are paved with concrete slabs which aesthetically look nice, except that this same pavement is contributing to the overall heat index in your living space.
When the sun beats down on it, the pavement absorbs heat and will remain heated even when the sun is already down.
If you are still on the threshold of having a patio made for your home, consider allotting more green space than paved space.
For those in homes that already have patios, the best remedy is to douse your paved patios with water constantly to minimize the heat absorbed by the cement.