How to Beat the Heat Around the Office: Savvy Tips for the Self-Employed

Summer is here, so if you’re not already trying desperately to find ways to stay cool, you will be soon. After all, it’s pretty hard to stay productive when you’re going into heat exhaustion, and good luck trying to look suave with a big sweat stain running down your back.

So, short of wearing one of those silly hats with the built-in fan, what can you do to beat the heat?

Regulate your air flow

We tend to think of drafts as ghostly little currents of cold air that little old ladies love to complain about, but drafts can also let hot air in. If the air inside your office is cooler than the outside temperature, try to keep it that way. If it gets into the high 70s outside, keep your doors and windows closed. If you run your AC and have a fireplace, make sure the flue is closed, or your fireplace will actually suck hot air in from the outside.

When it cools down later in the evening, open the windows, let the cool air in, and turn on a fan to circulate the air throughout your office. Make sure you seal the building back up in the morning before it warms up again, though, so you can trap the cooler air inside.

Block out the sun

If you keep your blinds closed during the sunniest hours of the day, you can reduce the heat coming into your office by more than 40%. Not only will it help you stay cool, but it will also save you money in cooling costs. Blinds or curtains with light colors or reflective surfaces work the best, as they reflect more of the sun’s energy than dark colors do.

Get creative with your fans

If you put some thought into how you place your fans, you can get a lot more bang for your buck. Try placing a shallow bowl of ice directly in front of one of your fans (not nearby anything that can be ruined by water, just in case). This will cool the air that the fan is circulating, making it even more effective.

You should also experiment with running the AC at a lower setting, as using it in conjunction with a fan will increase its efficiency. In addition, when it cools down, try pointing your window fans outward. It might seem counter-intuitive, but this will actually force warm air out and draw cool air in.

Eliminate heat from your equipment

Most electronic devices give off some degree of heat. Set your computer to go into standby after not being used for a few minutes, and don’t leave it on overnight. Do the same with other electronics. Every little bit helps.

You should also consider switching to fluorescent or LED light bulbs. They’re more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, and therefore give off less heat. They’re more expensive than the old-fashioned bulbs, but they last longer and the energy savings due to their increased efficiency means they’ll eventually pay for themselves.

Eat and drink for the weather

Avoid drinks that cause your body to lose water, such as alcohol and caffeine. If you absolutely must have your daily caffeine fix, try substituting iced green tea for your hot cup of java.

You should also do your best to avoid hot, heavy foods. Reach for fruits and vegetables instead, especially ones that contain plenty of H2O. Watermelon and cucumber are especially good choices for summertime snacks.

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