How To Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

Maija Kappler

It’s going to be a long, hot summer. Sweating it out a home without air conditioning is never a fun prospect, but this year, the next few months are going to be even more uncomfortable than usual for many people. With so many of us working from home due to the coronavirus lockdown, being comfortable at home is crucial.

And even people who do have air conditioning probably don’t want to use it all the time: it runs up your electrical bill, and can be bad for the environment.

Here are some of the best ways to stay cool without air conditioning

Get a fan

If you don’t have A/C access, a fan is the next best thing. The Wirecutter has ranked a whole bunch of good options at different price points.

And here's a quick bonus hack: make your fan work overtime by putting a shallow bowl full of ice or an ice pack in front of it.

Stay hydrated

Drinking cold water can help reduce your body heat. Dehydration is more likely when it's hot out, so a cold glass of water can do wonders.

Keep your curtains closed during the day ...

This is obvious, but: the sun will make your space hotter. About 30 per cent of unwanted heat comes in through our windows, so closing curtains and drawing blinds will keep the sun from getting in. The heavier the curtains are, the better.

... But open your windows in the evening

When the sun starts going down and the temperature drops, that’s when you want to start letting the air in.

Keep your doors closed

Closing the doors to unused rooms will keep any cold air generated by your fan in one place.

Turn on all the fans in your home

Do you have a kitchen fan? Bathroom fan? Using those will help get hot air out of your space.

Use energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs

Energy-efficient lightbulbs are a win/win/win: they'll save you money on your electrical bill, they're good for the environment, and they give off less heat than incandescent (or traditional) bulbs. 

Try not to cook at night

If it’s possible, try to use your oven or stove in the morning. That way, your kitchen will be cool by nighttime, which will make it much easier to sleep. If you have an outdoor barbecue, that’s a great option too — or consider some cold dinner options.

Put damp face cloths in the freezer

Run cool water over a face cloth and put it in the freezer for about an hour. When you take it out, it will be nice and cool for you to use as a compress.

But don’t freeze your sheets or clothes

If you start freezing big things, like a blanket or your socks, it starts to get counterproductive.

“The amount of energy they can absorb from your body that night, they will be warm in just a matter of minutes,” Wendell Porter, an agricultural and biological engineering lecturer at the University of Florida, told CNN. “And then you’d have damp stuff that would mold your mattress. So you definitely don’t want to do that.”

Run cold water over your pulse points

You’ll cool down more quickly if you apply cold water to your wrists, neck, elbows, and feet than your forehead. These are all great spots to lay those cool compresses, too.

Take a cold shower (even if your bathroom isn't as nice as this one)

Duh: Dousing yourself in cold water will cool you down, especially before bed. LifeHacker suggests using peppermint soap or body scrub for an extra-chill experience.

Use cotton or linen sheets on your bed

Ditch flannel or silk: cotton is soft and breathable, which is you want on hot summer nights. If you’re the kind of person who has the option to choose between sheets of different thread counts, go for a lower number: the lower the thread count, the more breathable the cotton will be.

Linen is also a great option, but is usually more expensive. Wirecutter editor Christine Cyr Clisset suggests a cotton bottom sheet, which is smooth and cool, and an airy linen top sheet.

Bonus: consider buying a buckwheat pillow. They don’t retain as much heat as other pillows do, due to the shape of the buckwheat hulls inside them. Or if you’re feeling really fancy, a cooling pillow can make a big difference, although they’re often pricey.


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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.