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Ways to keep cool outside around your home

Posted on July 27th, 2015

summer coolingSummer is in full swing, the days are bright, and everything is lush and green.  The yard around your house is calling you to throw garden parties, set up outdoor games with the kids, or just kick back on a comfortable piece of patio furniture with a glass of something cold and a good book.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to truly enjoy these fleeting summer months when the temperatures are so high.  Here’s some summer cooling tips for adapting your patio and yard to be every bit as cool as inviting as the air conditioned interior of your house:

Misters

There are compact personal models you carry around, which use a small fan to blow a spray of superfine water droplets over yourself.  As the water dries, you feel cooler.  Some of these allow you to add a touch of essential oils to the mix, such as peppermint, increasing the cooling effect.

If you’re in the mood to really indulge yourself, consider investing in a patio misting system for summer cooling.  This network of unobtrusive installed pipes will, on schedule or at the touch of a button, douse your entire patio area in a refreshing and fast-drying fog.

Keep in mind:

Both kinds of misters require regular cleaning to keep algae from growing within the water reservoir.

The patio misting system may also leak if improperly installed – it’s a good idea to work with a reputable crew, even if you end up paying a little more to start.

These systems are not safe to use around electronics, such as a patio television set, unless its weather sealed.

 

Swimming Pool

Installing one of these gives you access to a time-honored way of beating the heat, staying active, and having fun with friends and family.  If you place lawn furniture nearby, you can enjoy the cool air radiating from the pool as the water evaporates.  If that’s not enough, you can have a quick dip in.

There are also some useful accessories to keep the pool below air temperature for summer cooling.  You can have a sun screen installed, which will block some of that water-heating solar radiation.  Many such screens are retractable, allowing you to enjoy the sun and warm your pool naturally during colder months.

Still not cool enough?  Try a swimming pool heating and cooling system, also known as a swimming pool heater/chiller.  This will control the water’s temperature significantly, either heating or cooling it.

Keep in mind:

Swimming pool installation fees vary wildly.

The pool needs regular maintenance to keep it clean.  The good news is, a properly installed pool will not need many repairs.

The water needed to fill the pool, particularly a large one, may be pricey depending on where you live.

Fans

If you have a porch or patio, consider having ceiling fans installed.  These waft a gentle breeze over a wide area.  Tabletop fans are another option for summer cooling.  They direct the stream of air at your overheated head.  Both of these tend to be quiet and low-maintenance. Ceiling fans can keep you cool in the summer and can match the look of your home style.

Keep in mind:

If you’re battling extreme heat, this may not be enough.  A 100 degree breeze is not much of an improvement over 100 degree still air.

 

Air Conditioning

If fans aren’t enough, consider an outdoor air conditioner.  It may sound strange, but concert venues and public fairs have been using these for years to keep their guests comfortable.  These devices, also called portable air conditioners, come in many different capacities.  Look for a small one if you’re going to set it by your outdoor reading chair, or a larger model if you’re planning on hosting a yard party.  If motor noises bother you, aim for a smaller, well-insulated model as they tend to be quieter.

Keep in mind:

They have a limited range, since you aren’t trapping the cold air within four walls and a roof, and must be placed strategically near where people will sit or stand.

The larger models may be quite loud.

This will increase your electric bill, escpecially if you run the unit for hours every day.

 

Landscaping

Another way to beat the heat is by introducing some tasteful landscaping features that create shade.  Planting trees is one option, but they take several years to grow to a useful size.  For instant satisfaction, consider a gazebo or arbor. These structures are quick to install, fairly inexpensive to maintain, and add a lovely touch of class to the yard for summer cooling.

The arbor is an especially flexible feature that can be adapted for any decorating style; plant grapevines for a functional note, climbing roses for a romantic touch, or use ivy as a practical and drought-resistant option.

Keep in mind:

The gazebo will need light maintenance every year.

The arbor needs watering and pruning to keep the plants alive and in good condition.

If you live in an area with very cold winters, arbor vines may die off and need to be replanted every spring.

 

Outdoor Umbrella

If you’re not interested in permanently changing the look of your yard by planting or building a structure, you can get many of those shady benefits from a yard umbrella.  These rugged canvas and steel devices come in a range of sizes up to 12 feet across for summer cooling.  That’s a lot of shadow to take refuge in.  They come in a variety of designs, from understated and tasteful to wildly colorful and fun.  They’re also portable, easy to swap out from the in-ground base, and you can pack them away in the fall.

Keep in mind:

These take a certain degree of strength to set up or take down.

They aren’t incredibly durable.  Don’t leave the umbrella open during wind storms.  Expect to have to replace it within 5 years.

 

Now that you have some ways to handle summer cooling, you can begin to see which way fits the best for you.

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