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How to Stay Cool on Hot Days Without AC

It’s a hot summer this year, even if you aren’t one of the many unfortunate folks stuck in the northwest heat dome. And far too many of those same folks are stuck without air conditioning. If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t worry. Here are 9 things you can do to keep cool on a hot day, without any AC.

Drink Water

It sounds basic, but it makes a difference. When you’re hot, you sweat. The sweat increases the body’s thermal conductivity, allowing you to whisk heat away faster. The downside is that sweating takes a lot of moisture out of the body. By drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated, you can help promote active sweating. While the temperature of the water doesn’t matter, drinking it cold can really help feel refreshed.

Take a Cold Shower

While not exactly the definition of comfort, a cold shower does wonders at cooling the body down. It follows the same idea as sweating: the water will absorb your body heat and wash it away. You can’t be constantly taking a shower, however. So best save this for when fear of overheating may occur. Or just as an occasional escape from the heat.

Wear Damp Towels

Soak a cloth or hand towel in water. Then place it on points of the body that transfer a lot of heat. This can be spots like the wrists, the back of the neck, etc. For extra effectiveness, you can wrap a ice pack in the towel.

Cycle Air at Night

Depending on how cold it becomes at night, you can promote overall home cooling by opening windows and placing box fans in the windows. This will push the hot air out and pull cool air in. This method does require a certain level of consideration to the at-the-moment temps though, so be sure to read up from the local weather station to know when to start and stop this method.

Block Out the Sun

Perhaps that’s a somewhat dramatic way to describe it. What we mean is to close the window blinds and curtains. The idea is to prevent sunlight from entering through them and heating up your house even more.

Sleep in Cotton

Breathable fabrics like cotton sheets and blankets will help keep you from retaining too much heat while sleeping. If you have a set of something breathable, make use of them. If you aren’t sure how “breathable” it is, check the thread count. The lower the count, the more it breathes.

Spend Time Downstairs

This is mostly for folks with a basement. Heat rises, so lower floors will be naturally cooler than higher ones. This is especially true for basements, where heat is sucked down into the earth. If the area can be comfortably lived in, spend more time down there. If it isn’t, make it. Add some energy efficient lights, furniture, and some entertainment. Or even an air mattress, letting you sleep in a cooler room overnight.

Avoid the Oven

High temp cooking, like an oven, can generate a LOT of heat. If you can help it, cook with smaller, less heat intensive items like microwaves or toaster ovens. Consider grilling outside more, as well, letting all the heat escape outdoors while you stay cool inside.

Go Swimming

This may be hard to achieve if there’s a heat wave, since all public pools and beaches will likely be crowded with other folks in the same situation. But swimming is a great way to stay cool for a while. Even if all you have is a small kiddie pool, pet owners can use that to help their pets stay cool.

Fortunately, all of these methods are generally easier to achieve than when you’re trying to stay warm in the cold. We hope everyone stays safe and cool this summer.

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