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Summer days are just around the corner — those hot, sticky days we love to complain about until it’s -35°C and we’d do anything to bring them back. Whether you’ve never had air conditioning, you’re waiting for a pro to come give your unit a tune-up, or you’re trying to reduce your energy use, consider these seven tips to keep your home cool this summer without touching the thermostat:

  1. Go dark. Summer may be the ideal season for natural light, but letting that sunshine in can heat up your home faster than you can say, “close the blinds!” If you don’t have air conditioning, consider keeping your blinds and curtains closed during the day to keep out those warm rays.
  2. Let the air flow free. Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise and open as many interior doors as possible to let the air flow through your home. At night, open your windows to let in the cooler evening air — but be sure to close them again in the morning if it’s particularly sunny and humid outside.
  3. Use your home’s built-in fans. Your bathroom fan and the exhaust fan in your kitchen are both designed to push hot, steamy air out of your home. While they won’t necessarily help when it comes to reducing your energy use, they could help with the humidity.
  4. Switch off the lights. Turning off as many lights as possible (especially ones with incandescent bulbs, which give off more heat than the LED variety) can make a small difference in your home’s temperature.
  5. Change your bedding. Swapping your flannel sheets for lighter cotton ones can cool things down at bedtime, as they’re more breathable. You may even want to visit your local bedding retailer and look for special “cool” pillows that are made from materials like silicone, polyurethane, or buckwheat.
  6. Get grilling. This one may go without saying, but it’s worth a reminder. Baking up a storm on a hot summer day is the perfect recipe for an overheated house. For those especially toasty days, avoid planning meals that require an oven — use your barbecue or outdoor grill instead.
  7. Think outside the house. Long-term additions like awnings, trees, and climbing plants can help shield your windows from the intense summer sun and reduce the amount of heat that gets absorbed by your home’s outer walls.

Still feeling the heat? If you’ve never had an air conditioning unit and you’re thinking of installing one this summer, reach out to your licensed home insurance broker to make sure you have the coverage you need for your new cooling system.