Keeping cool when the weather’s heating up isn’t easy when you don’t have air-conditioning or you don’t want to turn it on yet - but it’s not impossible. Here are our top cool tips for surviving hot summers minus the triple-digit energy bills and carbon footprint.
In your home
Keep blinds, shades and drapes closed during the day
Especially if one side of the house gets more sun that the rest. Up to 30% of heat comes from your windows meaning the indoor temperatures can increase by 20 degrees. Closing the blinds stops your home from becoming a mini greenhouse.
Minimize indoor humidity
Don’t do any laundry or cooking or take showers during the day. If it’s unavoidable then make full use of extractor fans or ventilators to get rid of the warm air and steam.
Use a ceiling fan on its summer setting
Ceiling fans are great at circulating air so make sure yours is rotating counter-clockwise. This keeps warm air out and provides a cool, comforting breeze. Desk fans are a great way to cool a room (and still cheaper than AC): place dish of ice on a table and angle the fan towards it, the fan will send out welcoming blasts of chilled air.
Keep internal doors open and windows closed
Keeping doors open will allow cool air to flow through all the rooms in the house. Keeping the windows closed will stop warm air from getting in, but you can open them at night when the air is cooler. If you can invest in reflecting window film, it keeps the heat out while filtering out UV rays.
Time for bed
Use cotton bed sheets instead of man-made fibers. Invest in buckwheat pillows: buckwheat hulls have natural air flow between them so don’t retain body heat. In extreme temperatures douse your sheets in pillows in cool water before going to bed. Fill a hot water bottle with cold water, freeze or chill it, then take it to bed with you.
Food and drink for hot weather
Stay off the beers
Alcohol dehydrates you and interferes with your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. If this is a step too far then drink plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks to offset the fluid loss. Or try an alcohol-free mocktail!
Grill, don’t roast
Break out your inner Gordon Ramsey and concoct an array of salads, pasta, fresh seafood and chilled desserts. Summer is the ideal excuse for eating ice cream! If hot food is on the menu then get out the barbecue and enjoy the pleasure of eating outdoors.
Cooling yourself down
Having done everything you can in your home, try the following tips to make sure you’re staying as cool and comfortable as possible:
Take tepid showers
Apply cold cloths to your pulse-points
Soak your feet in cold water
Drink a glass of cold water before going to bed
Wear loose, comfortable clothing made of natural fibers