With temperatures reaching into the high 90s and triple digits across the country this week, I want to discuss how you can cool down safely in a heat wave without an air conditioner. Although cooling centers and air conditioners are great options for everyone, sometimes things might not work out as planned and your AC might break down, the store or cooling center might be closed, or there’s a regional blackout. When this kind of situation arises, remember to stay hydrated and give these cooling tips a try.
Cook Outdoors or Make No-Cook Recipes
The warmest room in a residence tends to be the kitchen, where heat is generated to cook food. Keep the temperature inside your apartment or house cool by tossing no-cook salads, snacking on no-bake energy bars, or cooking outdoors on your porch or backyard. If you prefer to grill outside, follow this quick and easy grilling guide.
Set Up Your Fan Strategically
Because hot air rises from the ground up, a ceiling fan isn’t your best choice when it comes to indoor room fans. The best place to set up a fan is to use a rotating fan on the floor. Position your fan with its blades across from an open window to create a cross-breeze. Use another fan by the window to vent hot air out as well. For more of a cooling effect, place a bowl of ice next to your floor fan so the fan will blow the rising cool air from the melting ice cubes into the room and bounce off the opposite wall. This will keep cool air circulating inside.
Try Spray Bottles or Wet Cloths and Sheets
Fill a spray bottle with cold water and spritz anytime you need a chill. Dampen a linen or cotton sheet and hang it by an open window to catch any breeze that comes through. You can also keep a wide bucket of water by the foot of a window and hang the sheet so the bottom portion touches the water. As the water evaporates and travels up the sheet, any breeze that passes through will feel cool. To cool down your skin, wet a cloth with cold or chilled water to use as a cold compress in a pinch.
Turn Off Electronics
Powering down any non-essential electronics is just one small but significant way to keep additional hot air from circulating. Shut down anything not being used or that doesn’t need to be turned on like power strips, electric equipment like computers and televisions, and electric lights.
Use Awnings, Window Blinds, Curtains, or Shades
If you’re not near tree shade, use awnings for an artificial covering. When you’re indoors, keep blinds, curtains or shades drawn to reduce the amount of solar heat that enters through open windows. Look for thermal curtains or shades and give your windows a checkup to see if they’re energy-efficient. You can keep windows open for air circulation but try to leave half the window covered so you don’t get the maximum sun exposure you would get otherwise. If nighttime hours are cooler, open windows and doors to let the cool air inside.