Our grandparents survived without air conditioning and Gen X-ers will remember peeling themselves from vinyl bus seats and sweating it out in classrooms under ceiling fans recycling hot air. Before you switch on the AC, we’ve come up with some old school and plain ol’ common sense solutions to keep your cool this summer. So, if you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your air conditioner … or your climbing electricity bill, then you might want to try these three heat busters.
The 3 best solutions to keeping cool this summer
Skyrocketing temperatures are heralding the start of a long, hot summer this year. How prepared are you to beat the heat?
1. Keep yo’ cool
Instead of seeking to control the weather and change the temperature around you, accept that you’re not one of the X-Men and start with these handy tips to decrease your body temperature. After all, a hot summer’s day can be all the more tolerable if you’re not marinating in your own sweat. Some of the more obvious include wearing loose clothing made of natural fibres, avoiding dehydrating alcohol and caffeinated beverages, keeping your cuddle buddy at arms length and showing or bathing in tepid water.
If you don’t mind getting wet but don’t want to throw yourself under the shower at regular intervals, you can pop a spray bottle filled with water in the fridge to spritz on yourself, rub ice cubes or wrap damp facecloths around pulse points or position a bowl of ice in front of a fan to create a frosty breeze. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eat chilled foods like salads to maintain your inner cool and prevent your digestive system from overheating.
2. Chillin’ like a villan
Open windows to let in cool evening breezes and make sure you have blinds and curtains drawn to keep the hot midday sun out of your crib. If you have extractor fans in the bathroom, use them to suck out the warm air after your shower. Swap your lightbulbs for energy-savers and turn off lights and appliances when not in use to save on your power bill and well as reduce the ambient heat in your house.
For a cool night’s sleep, pop your sheets in a plastic bag and leave them in the freezer for a few minutes before you go to bed. You can also try a buckwheat pillow, the naturally occurring bubble in the hulls creates space and allows the pillow to breathe so you don’t wake up with your head on a soggy sponge.
3. Cool and the gang
Nothing beats the heat like getting out amongst in with friends and family for an afternoon BBQ. Once the sun starts to creep towards the horizon, gather the troops and fire up the grill. Cooking your meals outside will keep your house cooler as well as give you an opportunity to dust off the garden furniture and socialise over a snag.
Setup a low-slung hammock (hot air rises) over the deck for a cool place to snooze after a big feed. To keep the kids cool and active, roll a tarp out over the back lawn and grab a sprinkler or hose to create a make-shift waterslide. Don’t forget to squirt some dishwashing detergent on the tarp to get them slip-sliding around without the tarp-burn!
Alternatively there are heaps of useful outdoor shade solutions that can be quite affordable and will keep you out of the sun's harsh rays.
If it’s one of those oppressively hot summer days, make sure you check on elderly relatives and neighbours and keep children and pets out of the sun. If heat comes to heatwave, head to your local cinema or shopping centre to take advantage of their air conditioning or, if you’re crowd-shy, see if you can impose on a friend with a pool.