That Burning Sensation

No matter what you like to do outside, gotta play it safe with sun exposure. 

With this most recent batch of amazing weather, it got me thinking about sun exposure and the impact of prolonged sun on skin.  Like most of us, I LOVE being outside – riding bikes, running, kayaking with Jackie and the girls, playing golf with my buds or just enjoying the summer breeze in the backyard. I’ve experienced that “burning sensation” telling me it’s time to get out of the sun or put on more protection. For those who don’t know I am what some might call follicley challenged (bald!) So…. This blog really hits home with me.    As “heat people” we know a thing or two about heat, cold and temperature, when we’re solving your PIA (pain in the #$%) Jobs! I decided to do some digging on sunscreen and found this great article at along with some tips on Wikipedia.  Take a read and be sure to load up on the sunblock – and ENJOY this amazing weather.

  • Whether you’re lounging on the beach, going for a run or bike ride or hiking up a mountain, when you’re outside, you’re pummeled by invisible rays that can cause your skin to darken and burn. This ultraviolet (UV) radiation can also damage DNA in your skin cells, causing genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Fortunately, you can protect against many of the damaging effects of these rays with sunscreen.
  • Sunscreens, which can be sprays, lotions, gels or waxes, are usually made up of a mix of chemicals. Inorganic chemicals in sunscreen can reflect or scatter the light away from the skin, and organic (carbon-based) ones can absorb UV rays so that our skin doesn’t.
  • Some inorganic chemicals, including minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, act as a physical sunblock. They reflect UV rays, similar to how white paint reflects light. The white-colored noses on beach-goers in the 1980s and 1990s were due to these compounds; because manufacturers make the inorganic particles much smaller now, we don’t see the visible white.
  • Along with inorganic chemicals, sunscreens often contain organic chemicals, with names such as avobenzone or oxybenzone. Instead of physically deflecting UV light, these molecules absorb UV radiation through their chemical bonds. As the bonds absorb UV radiation, the components of the sunscreen slowly break down and release heat.
  • The SPF (introduced in 1974) on sunscreen bottles stands for Sun Protection Factor (I never knew this) and refers to how well the sunscreen protects against one type of UV radiation, called UVB (it may be helpful to think B for burning). UVB rays cause sunburn and several types of skin cancer.
  • To understand how the rating works – “SPF 15” means that ​115 of the burning radiation will reach the skin, assuming sunscreen is applied evenly at a thick dosage of 2 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2). A user can determine the effectiveness of a sunscreen by multiplying the SPF by the length of time it takes for him or her to suffer a burn without sunscreen. (Thus, if a person develops a sunburn in 10 minutes when not wearing a sunscreen, the same person in the same intensity of sunlight will take 150 minutes to develop a sunburn of the same severity if wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 15) It is important to note that sunscreens with higher SPF do not last or remain effective on the skin any longer than lower SPF and must be continually reapplied as directed, usually every two hours.
  • The SPF is an imperfect measure of skin damage because invisible damage and skin aging are also caused by ultraviolet type A (UVA, wavelengths 315–400 or 320–400 nm), which does not primarily cause reddening or pain. Conventional sunscreen blocks very little UVA radiation relative to the nominal SPF; broad-spectrum sunscreens are designed to protect against both UVB and UVA.
  • Another type of radiation, called UVA radiation, penetrates deeper into the skin and can cause premature wrinkling, age spots and can also heighten the risk for some skin cancer.  Sunscreen lotions labeled broad-spectrum block against both UVA and UVB, but currently there is no standard for listing UVA blocking power. Inorganic chemicals that deflect sunlight will deflect both UVA and UVB rays.
  • The ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) is a similar scale developed for rating fabrics for sun protective clothing. According to recent testing by Consumer Reports, UPF ~30+ is typical for protective fabrics, while UPF ~20 is typical for standard summer fabrics.
  • Most organizations recommend using sunscreen with an SPF between 15 and 50 (SPF ratings higher than 50 have not been proven to be more effective than SPF 50). A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 protects against about 93 percent of UVB rays, and one with an SPF of 30 protects against 97 percent of rays, according to the Mayo Clinic. No SPF can block 100 percent of UV rays.  I am a SPF 50 man (It’s because I am such a sensitive soul!)
  • Because most people don’t use enough sunscreen and because sunscreen tends to rub or wash off, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends reapplying sunscreen within two hours regardless of its strength, and using at least an ounce (a shot glass-full) for maximum protection.  My guess is that most of us do fall into the not enough category!  Also, I think we should only use shot glasses as God intended!
  • For people with fair skin, health organizations strongly recommend also using a hat and sunglasses, long sleeve clothing and shade to protect your skin.  For those of us that ‘BRONZE”  a hat should be fine!




Lather Up

At long last, Sum-Sum-Summertime!!!

Finally, it’s here. Today marks the official start of summer – that wonderful time of year.  I can remember as a kid waking up early every morning and rushing out of the house (still doing this by the way) and taking advantage of the long days of sunshine and fun.  So many things come to mind – bike rides, baseball in the park, tag, hide and seek, sprinklers, pool parties, campfires, smores, heading to the beach, barbecues (will save for another time!)  – I could go on.  I dug around to find some random trivia for you to enjoy – be sure to click the song links at the bottom – it will jump start your weekend fun!  Enjoy!

  1. The word “summer” is from the Proto-Indo-European root *sam-, meaning summer. The root *sam is a variant from the Proto-Indo-European root *sem-, which means “together/one.”
  2. The “dog days of summer” refer to the weeks between July 3 and August 11 and are named after the Dog Star (Sirius) in the Canis Major constellation. The ancient Greeks blamed Sirius for the hot temperatures, drought, discomfort, and sickness that occurred during the summer (Always have to blame someone!).
  3. Summer is the by far the busiest time at movie theaters, and Hollywood always hopes to earn a significant portion of total annual ticket sales through summer blockbuster months. To date, the top 10 most famous summer blockbusters of all time are 1) Jaws, 2) Star Wars, 3) Jurassic Park, 4) The Dark Knight, 5) Raiders of the Lost Ark, 6) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 7) Forrest Gump, 8) Ghostbusters, 9) Animal House, and 10) Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  4. In the United States, over 650 million long-distance summer trips are made.  The top 5 most popular summer vacations are 1) beach/ocean (45%), 2) a famous city (42%), 3) national parks (21%), 4) a lake (17%), and 5) a resort (14%).
  5. The Eiffel Tower is 6 inches taller in the summer than in the winter.  In the summer heat, the iron in France’s Eiffel Tower expands, making the tower grow more than 6 inches. (See I am 5-10 and ½!)
  6. The month of June was named after either Juniores, the lower branch of the roman Senate, or Juno, the wife of Jupiter.  Marc Antony named the month of July, in honor of Julius Caesar.
  7. The month of August was named for Julius Caeser’s adopted nephew Gaius Julius Caesar Octavius, who held the title “Augustus.” He named the month after himself.  “September” is from the Latin word septem, meaning “seven.”
  8. Both “equinox” and “solstice” refer to the path of the sun throughout the year. During a solstice, the sun is either at its northernmost point (Tropic of Cancer) or it is at its southernmost point (Tropic of Capricorn). An equinox is either of the two days each year when the sun crosses the equator and both day and night are equally long.  The word “solstice” is from the Latin solstitium, which is from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop) because it seems as if the sun stops at the solstice.
  9. In southern England, over 37,000 people gather at Stonehenge to see the summer solstice. Druids and pagans are among those who celebrate the longest day of the year at this notable place. –  isn’t amazing how people spend their free time!
  10. Ancient pagans celebrated midsummer with bonfires. It was believed that the crops would grow as high as a couple could jump across the fire. Additionally, bonfires would generate magic by boosting the sun’s powers.
  11. Some education reformers believed that children were overstimulated in a system which required 48 weeks of schooling. They believe that over-schooling could lead to nervous disorders, depression, insanity, and separation anxiety towards families and believe that children need the 2–3 months off to relax and also to take a break from other childhood stresses.  other critics of summer vacation point out that American students spend approximately 180 days (26 weeks) per year in school, but Asian students are “in school for 240 to 250 days”.  This is consistent with the conclusions of researchers who suggest that advanced abilities are in proportion to the time spent learning. Summer holidays in Japan start from late-July until early-September. (after reading these compelling thoughts, it makes you want to head to the beach with a cold one!)
  12. According to custom, in the United States, a person can wear white pants only during the summer, or between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  This year, NYC fashion says black is the new summer white… (not buying it).
  13. A ubiquitous summer treat is watermelon. Watermelon is part of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family and consists of 92% water. On average, Americans consume 15 pounds of watermelon annually.
  14. Popsicles, a popular summer treat, was accidentally invented by an 11-year-old boy in San Francisco in 1905. He left a glass of soda sitting outside and by the next morning the soda had frozen. He began selling them at an amusement park in New Jersey. In the U.S., cherry is the number 1 flavor.
  15. July, the hottest summer month in the Northern Hemisphere, is National Ice Cream Month, not surprisingly. Americans eat an average 20 quarts of ice cream a year. Vanilla, (which is my personal favorite since you can always add lots of goodies to it), is the most popular flavor, with chocolate coming in a distant second.
  16. The longest summer bikini parade on record happened on August 19, 2012, in China with 1,085 participants.
  17. Before the Civil War, schools did not have summer vacation. In rural communities, kids had school off during the spring planting and fall harvest while urban schools were essentially year-round. The long summer holiday didn’t come about until the early 20th century.  Leading advocates for play such as Henry Curtis believed strongly that children were not having enough time for play. In addition to advocating playground equipment, Curtis also advocated that summer should be spent working with families in gardens and going camping. Curtis was a large supporter of boy and girl scouts and encouraged children to engage in scouting during the summer.
  18. According to Forbes, the top 9 most hazardous summer injuries are caused by 1) playground equipment; 2) skateboards; 3) trampolines; 4) lawn mowers; 5) amusement attractions; 6) non-powder guns, BBs pellets; 7) beach, picnic, camping equipment; 8) barbeque grills, stoves, equipment; and 9) trimmers, small garden tools.
  19. According to Rolling Stone, the top 10 best summer songs of all time are:
    1) “Dancing in the Street,” Martha & The Vandellas
    2) “Summertime Blues,” Eddie Cochran
    3) “School’s Out,” Alice Cooper
    4) “California Girls,” The Beach Boys
    5) “Rockaway Beach,” The Ramones
    6) “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly & the Family Stone
    7) “Summer in the City,” Lovin’ Spoonful
    8) “Vacation,” The Go-Gos
    9) “Summertime,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
    10) “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama 
  20. About one shot-glass worth of sunscreen is enough to cover the body.  The record for the most people applying sunscreen was on January 8, 2012, in Australia with 1,006 participants applying sunscreen for 2 minutes.
  21. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans eat 7-8 billion hot dogs.





Hot Enough for Ya?

tibetan terrier and fan

As we enjoy the sticky, sunny weeks of summer, we’re all now confronted with the sun, heat, storms and humidity of August. All across the country, weather experts have been sending daily warning by projecting the “heat index” in anticipation of hot & humid weather. Major cities like NY, Boston, and Washington DC have been experiencing amazingly hot days. So, being the “Chief Heat Expert” here at KHT, I thought I’d dig in and learn more about the history and details behind the fabled heat index and pass it along for you to enjoy. Special thanks to the National Weather Service.

What is the Heat Index?
The Heat Index (HI) or humiture or humidex is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity, in shaded areas, as an attempt to determine the human-perceived equivalent temperature, as how hot it would feel if the humidity were some other value in the shade. The result is also known as the “felt air temperature” or “apparent temperature”. We often say – “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” – but for the heat index, it’s actually both. The heat index is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.

How does it affect humans?
When the body gets too hot, it begins to perspire or sweat to cool itself off. If the perspiration is not able to evaporate, the body cannot regulate its temperature – evaporation is our natural cooling process. When perspiration is evaporated off the body it effectively reduces the body’s temperature. When the atmospheric moisture content (relative humidity) is high, the rate of perspiration from the body decreases – in other words, during humid conditions, the body feels warmer and the opposite occurs during the relative humidity decreases.

Who invented the Heat Index?
The heat index was developed in 1978 by George Winterling as the “humiture” and was adopted by the USA’s National Weather Service a year later. It is derived from work carried out by Robert G. Steadman. Much like the wind chill index, the heat index contains assumptions about the human body mass and height, clothing, amount of physical activity, thickness of blood, sunlight and ultraviolet radiation exposure, and the wind speed. Significant deviations from these will result in heat index values which do not accurately reflect the perceived temperature.

Why is this not much of an issue out west?
In arid conditions, the body actually feels cooler – as there is a direct relationship between the air temperature and relative humidity and the heat index. Hotter days can be more bearable in dry, low humidity settings.

Is there a cart or mathematical formula available to make projections?

chart 1 768 blog

To determine the heat index using the chart above, you need to find the air temperature and the relative humidity in your area. For example, if the air temperature is 100 F and the relative humidity is 55%, the heat index will be 124 F.

But I’m an engineer – can’t you just let me figure it out on my own?
If you prefer to enter numbers manually instead of reading a chart, and are mathematically inclined, here is an equation that gives a very close approximation to the heat index.
The formula below approximates the heat index in degrees Fahrenheit, to within ±1.3 °F. It is the result of a multivariate fit (temperature equal to or greater than 80 °F and relative humidity equal to or greater than 40%) to a model of the human body. This equation reproduces the above NOAA National Weather Service table (except the values at 90 °F & 45%/70% relative humidity vary unrounded by less than -1/+1, respectively).

heat index formula 764 blog

What are the effects of the heat index?

effects of the heat index 768 blog
Note: Exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 8 °C (14 °F)

What’s the difference between being in the sun and in the shade?

Because the humidity index is based on temperatures in the shade, while people often move across sunny areas, then the heat index can give a much lower temperature than actual conditions of typical outdoor activities. Also, for people exercising or active, at the time, then the heat index could give a temperature lower than the felt conditions. For example, with a temperature in the shade of only 82 °F (28 °C) at 60% relative humidity, then the heat index would seem 84 °F (29 °C), but movement across sunny areas of 102 °F (39 °C), would give a heat index of over 137 °F (58 °C), as more indicative of the oppressive and sweltering heat. Plus, when actively working, or not wearing a hat in sunny areas, then the feels-like conditions would seem even hotter. Hence, the heat index could seem unrealistically low, unless resting inactive (idle) in heavily shaded areas.

What’s the best cooling off fluid to drink?
Aside from good old cold water, lemonade or iced tea, here are a few “fun” drinks we found fishing on the internet – most you’ve probably never heard. Load up the ice in your glass, splash it in and enjoy!

  1. Vita Coco Lemonade Coconut Water
    Rich in vitamin C, this all-natural blend of coconut water and lemon juice contains the same amount of potassium as a banana and is a healthier alternative to the sugar-sweetened lemonade. Suitable for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs.
  2. Mr Fitzpatrick’s Rhubarb & Rosehip
    This English rhubarb and rosehip tipple is perfect with some iced sparkling water. The fruity cordial is also rich in calcium and high in dietary fibre.
  3. Mello Raw Fresh Watermelon Juice
    Keep hydrated with Mello’s raw drink made with fresh watermelon and pomegranate juice. Free from anything artificial, the cold-pressed juice is a great way to replenish after a workout.
  4. Qcumber Sparkling Water
    A refreshing mix of natural cucumber water and sparkling spring water. Quench your thirst by drinking straight from a chilled bottle or use it as a mixer for a tasty summer cocktail.
  5. Luscombe St Clements
    Luscombe have blended spring water with the finest Sicilian orange juice and lemon juice to create this lightly sparkling drink. Pour into an ice-filled glass to cool down in the heat.
  6. Hampstead Tea London Oolong Tea with Peach
    A great choice choice for those who are winding down after a long day in the sun. The organic brew is made with all-natural ingredients and is full of antioxidants.




lemonade 768 blog


At my house growing up, there was nothing like fresh lemonade – poured over a big glass of ice cubes, we’d drink it as soon as it was made. With the weather being so hot these past few days, it made me think of Mom’s lemonade (and popsicles). Here’s a classic recipe, and a few others I found on line ( that look just as good. Enjoy!

Classic Lemonade
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; let cool. In a pitcher, combine the syrup with the lemon juice and 2½ to 3 cups water. Serve over ice.

Thyme and Lime Lemonade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
plus sprigs for serving
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups Classic Lemonade
3/4 cup vodka (optional) For “Big people lemonade”!
In a pitcher, using a wooden spoon, mash the thyme with the lime juice. Add the lemonade and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Add the vodka, if using. Serve over ice and garnish with the thyme sprigs.

Frozen Blueberry Lemonade
1 ½ cup blueberries
1 cup lemonade
½ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
In a blender, puree the blueberries, lemonade, mint, confectioners’ sugar, and 3 cups ice until smooth. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Strawberry Mint Lemonade
1 cup sugar, 8 sprigs mint
1 quart strawberries
1 ½ cup fresh lemon juice
splash of vodka (optional) And another one for “Big people lemonade”!
Combine the sugar, mint, and 1 cup water in a small pot. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and discard the mint leaves. Combine the syrup with the strawberries, lemon juice, and 5 cups cold water in a large pitcher. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Serve over ice, garnished with additional mint. Add a splash of vodka, if desired.

If you have a favorite recipe, please send it to me and I’ll share with our readers.

Stay cool!



Oh So Sweet

corn 768 blog r2

Lower left photo: Go to the Food Network for classic and some quick and easy corn on the cob reinventions. (l to r) Bacon, sweet & spicy, Japanese, classic & Mexican. Yum! 


Nothing signifies the height of summer like biting into a sweet, succulent (and if possible – fresh picked from the field) ear of corn. It’s tough not to get excited when traveling outside the city and seeing farm after farm of fresh corn, or even better, stopping at a roadside stand filled with piles of cut corn and fresh vegetables. So, in KHT Style, here are just some things to know about corn.

While the normal method of eating corn on the cob is to dunk it in boiling water, slather it with butter and top it with a little salt, some farmers insist fresh is best. Next time, grab an ear, peel back the husk and bite away – you’ll be amazed at the fresh flavor.

Other than eating corn raw or boiled, some people like to soak the corn in water for a bit and put them on the grill. When the husk turns brown, it’s done. You can also grill corn with the husk removed, creating a golden brown on the kernels. Some people even fry corn while still on the cob, which caramelizes it and give it a smooth flavor. The easiest way is to put corn, still in the husk, into the microwave for three minutes, pull back the husk, roll it in butter or margarine, and top it with coarse or table salt.

When cooking corn, don’t add salt to the boiling water, because salt toughens the kernels. As an alternative to butter, rub with wedges of lemon or lime. Instead of salt, sprinkle with cayenne, dill or other spices and herbs. You can also add corn kernels to rice and bean dishes, soups, salads, even pancakes. Frozen and canned are just as nutritious as fresh—just watch out for extra sodium and high-fat sauces.

Sweet corn is technically a grain, not a vegetable, and has undergone radical transformation since the Supersweet hybrid was introduced in the late 70’s. Sugar in corn starts to turn to starch as soon as the ear is separated from the stalk, losing nearly half of its sweetness within 12 hours of picking if not chilled. Hybrids have changed that, extending shelf life and allowing corn to be shipped longer distances.

Corn is a high-carbohydrate food with lots of fiber, some protein, B vitamins (e.g., thiamin and folate), a little vitamin C and a handful of minerals. Treating corn with lime (as in tortillas) makes certain amino acids and niacin more available to the body. Yellow corn contains some beta carotene and is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin—which may help keep eyes healthy and possibly protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Corn contains more calories than most veggies: 175 in a cup.

The typical harvest time for sweet corn in Northeast Ohio is mid-July through early September. Corn typically takes 60-80 days to produce a crop. Many farms will plant multiple crops to take advantage of the weather and growing season. Corn harvested later in the season is usually better than the early ears, as the ears are bigger and at its sweetest point.

Corn is planted in multiple waves throughout the season and is continuously harvested. Ideal growing conditions include temperatures between 68 and 73 degrees – but corn can survive temperatures as low as 32 and as high as 112 for short periods. A steady supply of moisture is essential. This year, due to the lack of rain in late June and early July, the old adage of “knee high by the Fourth of July” didn’t quite make it. To stay on track, a good long soaking is needed.

Corn stalks grow seven to 10 feet tall and each cob has an average of 800 kernels, with one strand of silk for each kernel. Each cob has an even number of rows. Popular bicolor corn is typically sweeter than single color varieties, which can be coarser and chewier.

Ohio is the sixth largest producer of sweet corn in the U.S., and the U.S. is ranked first worldwide. The most popular variety is yellow and white, often referred to as “honey and cream”. The taste of corn, much like a good wine, changes its taste almost every day, depending on the amount of rain, temperature and the soil. Some farmers give the corn a cold water bath as soon as they are harvested to capture the flavor and sustain freshness during delivery.

Growing techniques vary. Some farmers use black, peat-based “muck soil”, much like a drained swamp, to retain moisture and limit irrigation, while others use more traditional planting and watering.

The best way to tell if corn is fresh is not to pull back the husk, but to look at the stalk end. If the cut is brown and dry, it is past its prime. The cut should still be moist and white, or just a little brown on the edges. When you bring it home, place it in the refrigerator where it will retain most of its flavor for up to five days.

The best way to preserve that summertime flavor all year round is by freezing. A good method is to toss the ears of corn into boiling water for a few minutes and then plunge them into the sink filled with cold water. Remove the kernels with a knife, and then turn it over and run the flat end blade down the cob to squeeze out the juice – it makes a difference – add some butter and seal in freezer bags. Another good trick is to place the cob in the center of a bunt cake pan, and scrape the kernels off with a knife. The pan catches the falling kernels and don’t go rolling all over the counter.

Special thanks to Christine Klecic of Mimi newspaper and University of Berkley Wellness Center for insights in helping compose this post.




Boy It’s Hot!

sun 768 blog

With the mercury reaching uncomfortable highs these next few weeks, your “heating and cooling experts” at Kowalski Heat Treating have some handy tips – things we’ve learned along with tips from our friends at Real Simple magazine. As kids, the heat never really bothered us – we used to just turn on the sprinkler, blast each other with the hose or jump in the pool. There was nothing better than making a great big whirlpool with my brothers and sisters!   But, now that we’re a bit older, somewhat wiser, and not as carefree, here are some good tips to try as you work to beat back the heat.

Wick while you work. To keep yourself cooler when computing, plug a Kensington FlyFan ($10, into a USB port on your machine. The fan’s flexible neck lets you direct the breeze to your sweaty brow.

Cool Your Neck, Wrists and Behind Your Knees. Using a cool washcloth, or one stored in the fridge, gently place a cool cloth in these areas. It will help cool you down much quicker.

Take A Cold Shower. Obvious, but not many people do this. Cool down and then put on loose fitting, light weight clothing.

 Try a Desert Trick. When the air outside is dry and cooler than the air inside, usually at night and in the early morning, hang a damp sheet in an open window. “That’s what we do here in Death Valley,” says Dale Housley, a ranger at Death Valley National Park. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water.

Cool Smoothies, Lemonade and Ice Water. Make yourself a fresh smoothie from frozen fruit, ice and juice. Or better yet, try an ice cold glass of water or lemonade. Pack it full of ice cubes, and drink it slowly.

Avoid Direct Sun and Exercise Carefully. Wear a light colored hat, (this is especially important to those of us who are follicley challenged!) stay in the shade, and take it easy. If you must exercise, or do yardwork, take breaks often, and hydrate with cool water. Your body will love the liquids and turn on its sweat machine. Give yourself time to recover before heading back out.

Block the Sun. Closing curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Make a Makeshift Air Conditioner. If it’s hot but not humid, place a shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan and enjoy the breeze. As the ice melts, then evaporates, it will cool you off.

Give your A/C Some TLC. Clean or replace the filter in room and central air conditioners about once a month during the summer. If you have central air-conditioning, have the ducts checked for leaks, which can reduce a system’s efficiency by as much as 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Seal any cracks between a window unit and the frame with caulking or a sealant strip.

Close the Damper. While running any kind of air conditioner, shut your fireplace damper. An open one “pulls hot air into your house instead of sucking it out,” says Tommy Spoto, a master chimney sweep at Chimney Chap, in Copiague, New York. “This is called flow reversal.”

Close Everything Else, too. Whether the air conditioner is on or off, keep windows and doors shut if the temperature outside is more than 77 degrees Fahrenheit (most people start to sweat at 78). Whenever the outside air is hotter than the inside air, opening a window invites heat to creep in.

Spritz Yourself. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give yourself a good squirt. “It’s all about thermal regulation,” says John Lehnhardt, an elephant expert at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “As the water evaporates, it cools you.” While elephants wet their ears first by blasting water from their trunks, humans should begin with their wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins.

Fan Strategically. If the day’s heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night or when the temperature drops below 77. A window fan can help; the trick is to face the blades outside to suck warm air out of the house and pull cooler air in. “Kind of surprising,” says Bill Nye, the Science Guy, a scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor. “Having a fan blowing in is a good idea―but it’s not as effective as one that’s blowing out.”

Let Your Computer Take a Nap. Set it to go into low-power “sleep” mode if you are away from it for more than 10 minutes and it will give off less heat. When you’re finished for the day, shut the machine down completely. Despite what some IT guy may have told you years ago, properly shutting down and restarting modern-day computers won’t put undue strain on the hardware. And forget about working with a computer on your lap―it’s too darn hot. That’s why they changed the name from laptop to notebook.

For a full list, visit