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Cool Down Naturally: Ways to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

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There are methods for staying comfortable without artificial conditioning, whether you’re without power, facing intense heat, or attempting to save money.


According to the US National Institutes of Health, heat might encourage enjoyable summertime activities, but the body shouldn’t be overheated for an extended period of time because it can damage your brain and other organs. Heat cramps, heat edema, and heat stroke are symptoms of hyperthermia, a heat-related sickness that can occur when the body’s natural cooling mechanism—sweating—is insufficient. This risk is increased when there is heat and high humidity because the saturated air causes perspiration to build up on the skin, which inhibits the body’s natural cooling process.
Using some common materials and understanding how to adjust the temperature in your house will help you stay cool.
Using some common materials and understanding how to adjust the temperature in your house will help you stay cool. Here are 14 ways to accomplish it.
Hydrating yourself is the first and most important step in cooling down when you’re hot and flushed, according to Wendell Porter, distinguished lecturer emeritus in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida.

 

For an extra cool blast, try peppermint soap. The menthol in peppermint oil activates brain receptors that tell your body something you’re eating or feeling is cold.

Place a cold washrag or ice bags (packs) on your wrists or drape it around your neck to cool your body. These pulse points are areas where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you’ll cool down more quickly.

Place box fans facing out of the windows of rooms you’re spending time in to blow out hot air and replace it with cold air inside.

If the weather in your area tends to fall between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings and evenings, opening the windows on both sides of the house during those times can facilitate a cross-flow ventilation system. If you do this, you can opt to use or not use the fans, but the fans would help cool the house faster, Porter said. The outdoors can pull the hot air from your home, leaving a cooler temperature or bringing in the breeze. Just be sure to close windows as the sun comes out, then open them when the weather is cool again.

Just resting near a fan would reduce your body temperature as well.

If you have windows that face the sun’s direction in the morning through afternoon, close the curtains or blinds over them to “keep the sun from coming directly into the house and heating up (the) inside,” Porter said.

You could also install blackout curtains to insulate the room and reduce temperature increases that would happen during the day.

If you do turn the air conditioning on, don’t set it below 70 degrees Fahrenheit in an effort to cool the house faster, said Samantha Hall, founder of Spaces Alive, an Australia-based design research company helping to create healthy, sustainable buildings.

“It just runs for longer to reach that temp and will keep going until you start to feel a bit chilly and is then hard to balance,” she added. Instead, keep the unit temperature as high as possible while still comfortable.

Cotton is one of the most breathable materials, so cotton sheets or blankets could help keep you cool through the night.

The lower the thread count of the cotton, the more breathable it is, Porter said. That’s because higher thread counts have more weaving per square inch.

If you can’t sleep through the night because you’re too hot, try sleeping somewhere besides your bedroom, if that’s an option. Heat rises, so if you have a lower or basement level in your home, set up a temporary sleeping area there to experience cooler temperatures at night.

Common advice for staying cool without air conditioning includes refrigerating or freezing wet socks, blankets or clothing then ringing them out to wear while you sleep. But this isn’t a good idea, Porter said.

Because of “the amount of energy they can absorb from your body that night, they will be warm in just a matter of minutes,” he said. “And then you’d have damp stuff that would mold your mattress. So you definitely don’t want to do that.”

If no one’s using a room that doesn’t have vents or registers, close the door to that area to keep the cool air confined to only occupied areas of the house.

Use the exhaust fan in your kitchen and/or bathroom

Flip the switch for the exhaust fan in your kitchen to pull hot air that rises after you cook or in your bathroom to draw out steam after you shower.

Incandescent light bulbs generate a higher temperature than LED light bulbs do. To make the switch, watch for sales on energy-efficient bulbs, then slowly replace the bulbs in your house, Porter said.

Switching light bulbs can save money but won’t reduce a lot of heat in the home, Hall said. However, if you focus on switching the bulbs in areas you’re sitting near, that would make a more noticeable difference, Porter said.

Oven heat can spread throughout your house. Keep the heat centralized in one area, such as a slow cooker. Or, cook outdoors on a grill to keep the heat outside.

Eating an ice pop or ice cream to cool down may help for a moment. But don’t go overboard on the sugar if you’re overheated or at risk of being overheated, Porter said.

He said that eating sugar will increase your metabolism and make you feel hot inside. Therefore, while the chilly treat might be enjoyable, the added sugar might not.

If you’ve exhausted all other options and the heat at home is unbearable, check online to see if any nearby programs are providing ductless air conditioners.

Certain states may have cooling centers open and taking safety procedures to make sure they’re as safe as possible. Cooling centers are air-conditioned public spaces where people might go for comfort during excessively hot weather. Porter suggested that you start by contacting your local utility offices, since they would be aware of which companies are providing certain programs.

Cool Down Naturally:

Ways to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning If you’re looking for ways to beat the heat without relying on air conditioning, consider adjusting your diet to avoid excessive sugar intake. Sugar can increase your metabolism and make you feel warmer internally. Additionally, if you’re still struggling with the high temperatures, it’s worth checking online for nearby programs that offer ductless air conditioners. Some states may also have cooling centers available, where you can find air-conditioned spaces for relief. Contact your local utility offices to inquire about such programs and resources in your area.

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