The term ‘Goldilocks climate’ is an adequate portrayal of the Virginia climate. This term is an informal one used to depict the balance of being in the middle: if you remember the story, Goldilocks found three bowls of porridge, three chairs, and three beds when she entered the house of the bears. In all three scenarios the first and second she tries isn’t to her taste, and the third option is. The third option falls directly in between the first and second options, so it resembles middle ground.
It has to be said that despite the relatively mild winters of Northern Virginia, the temperatures and humidity in summer sometimes rivals that of states around the Gulf like Florida. Despite the fact that Virginia in its entirety is said to have a temperate climate, Northern Virginia is one of five regions in the state that represent a diversity of weather patterns throughout.
During the summer, Northern Virginians can expect average temperatures ranging anywhere from 61-86 degrees F. These temperatures are averages taken during the month of July. Thus, even though more southerly regions of Virginia often experience higher temperatures during summer, it’s still clear that keeping your home cool in the summer is a high priority.
There are numerous ways to keep your home cool in the Northern VA summer heat:
Sure, it might seem a bit depressing to walk around a dark house during the day, but closing the blinds is a wonderful way of keeping your home cool without having to adjust your cooling system. Windows throughout the house are notorious vulnerabilities to your home’s insulation: during the winter, windows can let out a lot of heat, and in the summer, they let in too much unwanted heat!
You might not like the idea of keeping all window-coverings closed, particularly if you have a penchant for black-out curtains. It’s nice to let the bright light and sunshine into the house, but this summer cheerfulness won’t pocket you any change when it comes to your AC bill!
Shut the Doors
Another simple trick to keep your home cool during a Northern VA summer is to restrict unwanted heat into a particular room by keeping doors closed. As a homeowner, you’ll notice that rooms with more windows or sliding doors will be much warmer than other rooms. Sometimes retreating to the cool room is a welcome relief during the summer, so make sure to close the door to stop the heat from getting in. Warm weather is a blessing, but if you find yourself sweating indoors, and doing basic tasks makes you drip sweat like a tin of paint, it’s time to cool off.
Portable fans are an additional way of keeping your home cool in the Northern VA heat. Bear in mind, however, that portable fans should not replace your cooling system, as this will run your energy bill through the roof: particularly if you have a fan in every room! If for some reason your AC unit isn’t performing efficiently, you may need to get it checked for maintenance or repair.
Still, even if your AC is working perfectly, you may prefer cooler temperatures than the rest of the household and require extra cooling down during the summer months. Household members often have different levels of tolerance for cold and hot temperatures, so portable fans can help to customize the amount of coolness of a room without disturbing the consistency of the AC temperature thermostat.
During the winter months, cool cotton sheets fail to warm us up adequately, and so in many homes you will find people opting for fleece or wool sheets that are much warmer. This is wonderfully cosy in winter, but when it comes to the summer thick sheets can make for a very uncomfortable night’s rest. As a general rule, fresh cotton sheets that feel cool to the skin are optimal during the mild spring and summer months, and your fleece, wool, and flannel should be kept in the storage trunk until the air starts to get chillier as winter approaches.
Adjust Ceiling Fan
Well, you learn something new everyday: did you know that ceiling fans actually need to be adjusted from time to time? They should be set counter-clockwise in the summer at the highest setting in order to provide a nice cool breeze circulating throughout the rooms of your house.
Sometimes we forget that at one time air conditioning didn’t exist. How on earth did people cope? Well, they did, and at the end of the day, so can you. Going overboard with your AC unit not only runs up high bills, it can also have negative effects on you and your household. Air conditioning can dry out the skin and nasal passages, resulting in increased infection and disease. This is not to say that air conditioning is severely detrimental, but it can certainly amplify dry skin and increase the frequency of mild ailments like colds and flu.
If you want to keep your home cool without having to turn up the AC to full blast, why not try just keeping yourself cool instead? Cold, iced drinks, cold cloths on your wrists and head at regular intervals, and wearing light clothing will all work together to keep you cooler. It might not be feasible to turn the cooling system off altogether, but maybe a notch or two will help improve the quality and humidity of the air you breathe.
If the heat of the summer really bothers you, and you can’t seem to keep cool no matter what you do, you might want to consider long-term residential remodeling. Adding a well-placed awning or planting a tree that will direct the sunlight away from your windows can have a drastic impact on the amount of sunlight that warms your home. Heat tolerant plants that provide shade include sunflowers, corn, banana plants and palm trees. A long-term improvement doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective!