We’ve reached the time of year when the days are sizzling and most of us opt to stay indoors, basking in the cool of our central air, portable AC or window unit. But for those who don’t have any of those lifesavers to beat the heat, things can seem dire indeed.


  • Ice & a Fan – an oldie but a goodie, this DIY air conditioner involves placing a bowl of ice in front of a blowing fan. As the breeze blows across the melting surface, it creates a cooling mist and sends cool air wafting.
  • Worry About Yourself – when the room temperature is beyond your control, you can cool your body temperature through drinking cold drinks, applying cool cloths to your pulse points, or wearing lighter clothing.
  • Cool Yourself – similar to above, if you can lower your own body temperature, you may be able to find some peace in the high temps. Try taking a cold shower or bath to lower your core temperature and rinse off sticky sweat.
  • Use a Frozen Water Bottle – you can fill a water bottle with ice or cold water and place it in your bed. Rather than warming the sheets as you would a hot bottle, place it at your feet to keep cool.
  • Get Away from Incandescent Lighting – Incandescent bulbs not only waste tremendous amounts of energy, but they generate and radiate heat. If you don’t have AC, the bulbs could be contributing to an already uncomfortable situation. Try switching to compact fluorescent or other energy efficient bulbs.
  • Turn off Your Electronics – just as your lights do, your appliances emit heat when they are plugged in. Unplugging these devices will not only help lower the temperature in your home, but it may cut your electricity use.
  • Close Your Blinds – window coverings help to keep sunlight and heat out, and the cold air in. This can lower temperatures by as much as 20 degrees.
  • Consider Blackout Curtains – as with blinds, blackout curtains block sunlight, helping to insulate the rooms in which they are installed. The Department of Energy finds that they can reduce heat by up to 33 percent.
  • Stay Hydrated – drinking plenty of water help you keep cool when temperatures soar. Hot weather means that many of us lose fluids through sweating and we need to be careful to replace them. Our bodies also need lost electrolytes replaced.
  • Be Careful with Cooking – help keep your home cool by modifying your cooking habits. Use your stove in off-peak hours, when it is still cool out or use other appliances that don’t generate as much heat (microwave, crock pot, instapot, grill, etc.). Of course, you could also eat out or eat cold meals, too.
  • Take it Easy with Alcohol & Caffeine – all of these drinks can dehydrate you, especially in the summer heat. These items are fine in moderation but should be consumed alongside plenty of water. Alcohol can also raise the body’s core temperature, which could make for further discomfort in the heat.
  • Substitute Bedding – consider switching out your bedding each season, flannel or fleece for cold weather, and cotton for high temps. Breathable cotton will make for cooler evenings. Also consider buckwheat, gel or memory foam pillows.
  • Remember that Heat Rises – because the higher you are, the hotter you will be, consider sleeping lower—downstairs or in the basement (if possible). Move your mattress closer to the floor, on an enclosed porch, on a balcony or terrace, or even in the garden!
  • Hang a Wet Sheet – similar to the ice & fan trick, dampen a sheet and hang it in front of an open window or door to allow for any breezes to be cooled by the evaporating moisture on the sheet.
  • Create Cross-Breezes – pre-dating AC in many areas, people have long used this method to combat the heat. Opening windows or doors in different parts of your home encourages breezes to blow through and cool it down. This may be most effective during cooler night and early morning temperatures, using fans.

Give all or some of these tips a try and see if they help you to beat the heat—and possibly even lower energy costs.

If Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is an area that interests you, consider the HVAC program at UEI where you can get the training and skills you need to begin a new career in the HVAC field.

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