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10 tips to survive the summer with or without air conditioning

Fresh at your door: the definitive guide to beat the summer heat without spending too much money. Whether or not you have air conditioning, you will be able to reduce a few degrees.

10 Tips with air conditioning

1) Better 2 units: with the same power, it is better to have a split air conditioner, with one outdoor unit (condenser) and an indoor one (evaporator). Compact air conditioners, which are sometimes portable, have everything in the same unit.

“Portable air conditioners are usually less efficient and noisier.”

2) Set it to 26 degrees: that is the advice from the IDAE (Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving). It does not have to be lower for your comfort. For every degree that you lower it, you will be using 8% more energy. 

3) Inverter: if it does not have the inverter technology, it cools down all the way until reaching the target and then stops. It only starts up again when the room temperature heats up. The inverter system is more efficient.

“The inverter system works faster/slower depending on how far/close the target is.”

4) Lowering the temperature will not make it faster: if you have an inverter system, the temperature will not go down faster if you set it to 18 degrees. It takes the same amount of time but uses more energy (compressor always at 100%).

5) Choose the most efficient one: it is easy to see what type of efficiency your air conditioner has. It is shown on the sticker which is on the front or side of the unit. Look for the blue fan icon: the scale goes from A+++ to D.

“Efficient air conditioners are more expensive but the electricity bill will be cheaper.”

6) Add a fan: they are cheap and help to reduce the electricity bill since they distribute the cool air from the air conditioner throughout the room.

7) The slats should be horizontal and the humidity at 40%-60%: if you can choose the position of the slats, set them parallel to the ceiling, so that the cool air can be distributed uniformly throughout the room and not focus on a single point.

8) Clean the filters: the more you use the air conditioner, the more you should clean the filters from the indoor unit. Remove them, wash them with soap and water, and leave them to dry before putting them back in. Get rid of the dust on the grille of the outside unit.

“If you do not clean the filters, the efficiency will be lower and the unit may even break.”

9) Make sure that it is not directly exposed to sunlight: deciding where to install it is not a matter of aesthetics. Make sure that it is in a place where the air circulates, and that it is not close to electrical household appliances or lamps.

10) Turn it OFF when you go: if you leave it on so that the house is cool when you return is like parking your car and leaving the engine on.


10 Tips without air conditioning

1) Use a cheap alternative: if you click here, you will find efficient fans for under 60 euros. According to the IDAE (Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving), the thermal sensation can be lowered by up to 5 degrees.

2) Ventilate the house when there is less heat (at sunrise) and then protect it with closed windows and lowered blinds.

3) Do not cook at a high temperature: cold dishes will prevent that heat from spreading to the rest of the house.

4) Avoid heavy food digestion: this increases your body temperature, so this is not the best time to put away a hot stew. Alcohol will dehydrate you. Coffee, tea and coke will also increase your body temperature.

5) Sleep at a low height: heat rises, so you should go down to the basement (if you have one) or even put the mattress on the floor.

6) Lukewarm showers: the water should be one degree lower than your body temperature (=around 35ºC). Although you will prefer a cold shower, a lukewarm one will have a better effect.

7) White cotton clothing: avoid synthetic fibres that attract the heat. The same can be said for your pillow.

8) Stop the heat from getting in by using awnings, curtains, blinds and vegetation: everything adds up and a balcony with vegetation can reduce your house temperature by a couple of degrees; a good awning even more.

9) Cool down sheets and pillowcases: this is known as the Egyptian method and is designed for extreme heat. The idea is to place the bed linen (protected inside plastic bags) in the freezer and then take it out when you go to bed.

10) Drink plenty of water and walk under the shade: although it is patently obvious, we must include this tip since good dehydration is fundamental so that all of the above works.

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