Keeping Your Body Cool

You can reduce your cooling bills if you understand how to keep your human body cool. Your body needs to remain at a constant temperature of about 98 degrees, and it releases heat by convection, radiation and evaporation to accomplish this cooling.

The first way your body cools itself is by giving up heat to the air moving or convecting around your skin. Convection happens when your body warms the surrounding air, causing the air to rise and allowing cooler air to move against your skin.

The second type of heat loss takes place when your warm skin radiates heat to surrounding cooler objects such as walls and furniture. If these objects are relatively cool, this process of radiation allows your body lose a lot of unwanted heat. If the objects are warm they will accept less of your heat.

The third type of heat loss is the evaporation that occurs when you sweat or douse yourself with water. If you create more body heat than you can lose through convection and radiation, you begin to sweat and evaporation takes place. If you then stand in front of a fan, your skin will cool rapidly. This is because water carries heat away as it evaporates from your skin.

Room fans and ceiling fans circulate air within an occupied room to increase convection and evaporation from your skin. These circulating fans can help you avoid the use of expensive air conditioning when the weather is only moderately hot. They also work well when used in conjunction with air conditioning by allowing you to set your cooling thermostat higher. Be sure to leave your windows closed when you run your air conditioner.

You can help heat radiate from your skin by installing energy conservation measures that keep your home’s walls, ceiling, and floor cooler. Plant trees around your home, install awnings or window shades, install attic insulation, or apply a reflective coating on your roof to stop heat before it enters your home.