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How to Stay Cool Without an A/C

Hot summer days sometimes don’t revolve around hanging by a pool or beach. If you’re at home and want to escape the scorching heat, we have some tips to help you stay cool without an air conditioner.

1. Head to a cool center: When it’s extremely hot, try and look for some relief in a safe, air-conditioned cool center. Bring your book, magazine or laptop to help pass the time. Visit your local county website, call 211 or view a listing of cool centers near you.

2. Visit your local library: Libraries have comfortable chairs to help you read and relax while listening to music or a podcast. If you have little ones, most libraries have reading time activities to help entertain and educate your kids. You may also be surprised by the collection of audio books and current movies available at your local bookstore. You’ll also have access to computers or WiFi. As the day cools down, you can take home your favorite books or movies to enjoy at home.

3. Mall: Do some window shopping or get yourself a smoothie or ice cream at the food court. Shopping malls are air conditioned and can help you pass the time on hot days. Some malls also have indoor playgrounds for kids—a nice alternative to playing outdoors.

4. Sheets in your fridge: Consider this cool tip by Lifehacker which involves putting your cotton sheets in your refrigerator or in your freezer for a few minutes. They’ll be cool and can help provide some temporary relief before your afternoon nap or before your bedtime.

5. Take a shower: Taking a shower can help your body cool down. Let your hair air-dry to help extend the cooling period of your body and maximize the cool and clean feeling of a cold shower.

6. Don’t use your stove: Consider using your microwave or grill to cook and prepare food. It’ll help keep your home cooler and save energy as well. You can also consider ordering take-out. 

7. Stick to cotton: Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. You should also use light-colored bed linens that are made from cotton because they are more breathable and help promote ventilation and airflow in your bedroom.

8. Fan circulation: Never underestimate your fan. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind-chill effect. Adjusting your ceiling fan to turn counter-clockwise will help circulate air downward. Give it a try and stay cool!

9. DIY air conditioner: Check out this neat trick from Greatist on how to create your own air conditioner at home. You’ll need a pan or bowl and fill it with ice in front of a fan. The breeze from your fan will pick up the ice’s surface as it melts and will create a cooling mist for you.

10. Cold drinks: Fill up on water, tea, lemonade or other fruit-infused water to help you stay cool. Try and avoid drinks with a lot of sugar because they’ll dehydrate you.

11. Wear sandals: Take off your socks while you’re at it and just go barefoot at home to help you feel refreshed. Sweaty feet can contribute to you feeling hot. They’ll feel extra cool after a cold shower.

12. Keep the sun out: Close your windows, draw your curtains and tilt your blinds up to help keep out the heat. Be mindful of daylighting which can help reduce the need for artificial lighting in your home during daylight hours and help prevent heating or cooling problems in your home. Here are some tips from the Department of Energy:

  • South-facing windows allow most winter sunlight into the home but little direct sun during the summer, especially when properly shaded.
  • North-facing windows admit relatively even, natural light, producing little glare and almost no unwanted summer heat gain.
  • East- and west-facing windows provide good daylight penetration in the morning and evening, respectively, but may cause glare, admit a lot of heat during the summer when it is usually not wanted, and contribute little to solar heating during the winter.

13. Open your windows at night: If it’s safe to do, consider opening your windows at night to let in the cool breeze.

14. Wear a neck cooling wrap: This little bandana can be wrapped around your neck or forehead and help keep you cool during the day. Neck cooling wraps are filled with special crystals that when soaked in water can help stay cool for days.

15. Stay in the bottom level: If you live in a multi-story home, consider staying in the first floor because heat rises to the top (since it is less dense than cooler air). Hang out in the first floor of your home to stay cool.