With the dog days of summer fast approaching, it seems like forever before we’ll feel cool again. If you don’t have an air conditioning unit or central air in your home, you could spend your days (and even nights) feeling miserable unless you’re able to cool down your home.
There are plenty of small things that you can do to beat the heat, so next time it’s the middle of a heatwave and you’re suffering through another afternoon of feeling like a puddle on the couch, use this article to figure out ways to cool down your life.
Calm down your day
The first thing to do when it’s really hot out and you don’t have AC is to adjust your expectations. There are things that you can do to feel cool, but you probably won’t feel as cool as if you just left a huge, air-conditioned mall. One thing you can do to help you feel cooler is to adjust the rhythm of your day.
Do you usually work out in the middle of the afternoon? Try working out either earlier in the morning, or in the evening. The same goes for running errands outside, walking the dog, or any other activity that requires you to be active outdoors. Keep those busier activities for when the sun is lower in the sky.
Stay away from big meals
Big meals can make both you and your home feel intensely overheated. There are plenty of ways to prepare great food in the summer without turning on your oven, which can add unnecessary heat to your living space.
Focus on summer-fresh veggies or your barbeque, which will allow you to craft amazing meals without heating up your home.
Open your windows and close your blinds
Many people have mastered the art of manipulating the hot air around their home, and you can too. During the late morning and early afternoon, which are the hottest parts of the day, close your windows and blinds to keep the hot air out of your house.
Then, when the heat of the day has peaked and it’s getting cooler outside, open all your windows so that the hot air accumulated in your house can escape. Then, the next day, repeat the cycle.
Invest in a fan
Having a fan can be a lifesaver during really hot days. Blowing it right at your body helps you to feel cooler and less sweaty, but it’s also really useful to have one working around your house.
If it’s really hot inside your house but cooling off outside, point your fan at an open window to help blow hot air away. Make sure that you get a good universal fan, or a few different ones for different rooms of your house.
Turn your fan into a swamp cooler
Another thing you can do with your fan is make a swamp cooler – a tried-and-true method that has been used to cool people down for years. Its official name is an evaporative cooler, and it’s a fan that cools air down through the evaporation of water.
While there are plenty of companies that make professional evaporative coolers, you can make your own by soaking a towel in freezing cold water, wringing it out, then placing it over a fan. As the fan blows through the towel, it will cause the air coming out to feel cooler.
Invest in bed sheets that will cool you down
Your bedding is something that many people don’t think about when it comes to battling the heat, but picking the right bedding can make a huge difference. When summer comes, put away your flannel sheets and bedding made of silk or polyester.
Only bedding made of cotton or linen is breathable enough to wick moisture away from your body. Linen is very cool in summer, but gets creased easily and can often look untidy. It also takes quite a few washes to soften up, but only gets more touchable and cozy as it ages. Cotton is beautifully soft right from the start, and is breathable no matter how hot it gets.
Don’t just use your freezer for food
Another way to help you feel cooler at night is to use your freezer. Put your sheets in the freezer before making your bed, and you’ll go to sleep feeling totally refreshed.
Another useful thing to have around is a hot water bottle – except instead of filling it up with hot water, fill it up with normal tap water, then place it in the freezer. After it’s frozen, place it at the foot of your bed, or even close to your body so that you can get the benefits of its coolness.
Use your ceiling fan right
Did you know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to use your ceiling fan? While most people take full advantage of the multiple speed settings, most fans also have a feature that switches the fan’s direction. In the winter, you should be setting your fan to spin clockwise, which will move hot air down and cool air up.
In the summer, do the reverse – set your fan to spin counter clockwise, which pushes the cooler air down while moving the hot air up and away from your body. It’s also a good idea in the summer to run your fan constantly at a low speed (even if you aren’t at home) to keep the air moving. Coming home from work and being greeted by stagnant, hot air is just awful.
Explore your basement
If you’re lucky enough to have a house with multiple floors, then summer is the time to really explore all the little nooks and crannies of your basement. Subterranean floors of your house are much cooler then the rest of the house, because hot air rises.
Set up your basement as a cool retreat every summer. You can even move your bed down there, which will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Drink plenty of fluids
Avoid feeling uncomfortably dehydrated in summer by drinking plenty of liquids. Summer causes you to sweat a ton, which can drain you of liquid faster than you’d imagine. Make sure you get the recommended amount of water in per day.
For women, that’s 91 ounces (11.4 cups), and for men it’s 125 ounces (15.6 cups), which can be obtained even through beverages like juice. Keeping up with your water consumption will help you feel more normal when the temperature rises, and can help stave off the uncomfortable headaches that come with dehydration.
Take a cool shower
Maintaining a cooler personal body temperature will help you feel better, even when it’s 100 degrees outside. The easiest way to do this is to hop in a cold shower. A cold shower will instantly lower your body temperature, making it much easier to deal with a hot house.
If you’re lucky enough to have a pool or live near a body of water, going for a swim right before you go to bed has the dual benefit of tiring you out, and cooling you down.
Use your doors
When you look at older houses, you’ll see that many of them were built so that you could close the door of every room. We’ve largely abandoned this in favor of lighter, more open floor plans, but these doors were crucial for houses that didn’t have central heating or air conditioning.
Closing the door on rooms that you aren’t currently using allows you to cool down small sections of your house. If you’re spending the day working in the office, why try and cool the entire house? Also, pay attention to which doors (and windows) give you a cross-breeze.