No AC? No problem! 15 hacks to keep cool this summer

No AC? No problem! 15 hacks to keep cool this summer

Summer is here and it's hot, hot, hot. Which is great if you're sitting by a lake or lounging poolside, but a little less wonderful if you're at home with no AC. Sleeping in sticky sheets and sweating while you work from home isn’t particularly fun. So if you find yourself sweltering in the city heat – or you just want to dial down the AC to save energy / be nicer to the environment – here are 15 “beyond the fan” hacks for keeping your cool at home.

1. Block out the rays.

Close your curtains or blinds during the day, especially in south- and west-facing units, where the sun beams in at its hottest and most intense. Take a cue from hotels and invest in a set of blackout curtains, which have a reflective backing and use thick fabric that prevents light from shining through.

2. Lose the lights.

It goes without saying that keeping the lights off during the day makes things cooler. But you may also want to switch out your lightbulbs for when you do need to turn them on. If you still have old-school incandescents (harder and harder to find these days, so you may not), swap ‘em out for LEDs or compact fluorescents, which use way less energy, last longer and give off a lot less heat.

3. Use ice.

This may be the oldest trick in the book, but it will totally turn your little desk fan into a next-level cooling device. Just position a big bowl of ice in front of the fan, and it will blow the chilled air into the room, making things a little more comfortable.

4. Get a ceiling fan.

These aren't always the sexiest decor element, so you may have to hunt around for a fan that doesn't look like the one in your grandmother's living room. But if you go beyond the typical big box selection, you can find some lovely minimalist options that won't clash with your carefully curated space. The biggest thing to remember? Keep it spinning counterclockwise. This forces the hot air up towards the ceiling, which makes the room feel cooler. (Clockwise pushes it down, which is better for staying warm in the winter.)

5. Air-dry your clothes.

If you're running a dryer on laundry day, it'll definitely warm things up. Pick up a drying rack at any hardware or home essentials store, and dry your washables naturally. It’ll help keep things cool and (bonus!) it's good for the environment.

young woman drinking water

6. Drink lots and lots of water.

Hydration is your body's natural cooling system. Add some lime and a sprig of mint for a mojito vibe, keep a pitcher with lemon and orange slices in the fridge, or if you're more into fizzy water, pick up a sparkling water maker for an unlimited supply of bubbles. You can add flavourings, of course, but a glass of chilled sparkling water has a satisfying crispness all on its own.

7. Cool off in the shower.

It doesn't have to be icy, just a little cooler than your skin, and as you get used to it, you can gradually decrease the temperature. It’s super-refreshing after a workout! Don't forget to use your bathroom exhaust fan during and after your shower – it'll pull the warmth and humidity out of the air so it doesn't hang around.

8. Ice packs are your friends.

Feeling a bit too warm as you're heading to bed? Grab an ice pack (the squishy therapeutic fabric-covered ones are ideal, but a freezer bag full of ice will do in a pinch…just make sure it's well-sealed). Throwing a hot water bottle in the freezer will work too. Wrap it up in a dishtowel and put it against your neck, under your back or on any pulse point including your wrists, behind your knees, the insides of your elbows, the tops of your feet, your inner thighs or right in front of your ears.

9. Get the right sheets.

Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics, so it's a great option for summer nights, and it can be a pretty budget-friendly option as well. Bamboo sheets are even more breathable, softer and more environmentally friendly, but they do tend to be more on the more expensive side. Here's a helpful comparison of cotton versus bamboo.

10. Avoid the oven.

Using your oven or stove to prep meals will heat up your home – fast. Cook outdoors if you can, make no-cook meals like salads with grocery store rotisserie chicken, or use the slow cooker or Instapot, which generates less heat. If you do have to cook, stick to things that can be cooked quickly, and save the two-hour pot roast for colder days. And don’t forget to use the exhaust fan!

Cherry Popsicles

11. Eat frozen stuff.

Ice cream and popsicles are great, but the sugar/calorie overload may not do you any favours. But you can totally make your own popsicles. Try some of these tasty “beyond basic OJ” options. Or snack on frozen grapes (surprisingly yummy), frozen bananas (they taste like ice cream, without the guilt) or frozen strawberry slices.

12. Pick up a cooling pillow.

These pillows use a variety of materials to keep you from getting too warm at night and may include gels, bamboo, latex filling, ventilated memory foam and other cooling tech. Buckwheat pillows are nice if you want a more natural option: they don't hold on to your body heat like regular pillows. You can also get cooling mattress toppers and blankets – a quick Google search will net you plenty of “best of” lists.

13. Sleep al fresco.

If you have access to a safe balcony or outdoor space, take advantage of those cool night breezes by camping out on an air mattress or outdoor couch.

14. Keep your skincare products cold.

Store lotions, creams, toners and the like in the fridge. Not only will putting them on your skin feel super-refreshing, it will probably help them last longer, too.

15. Add a friend with AC to your social bubble.

Bring your laptop to their place and work in the coolness, or better yet, find a friend with a swimming pool and jump in whenever you’re feeling a little warm! (Bring drinks and snacks, of course.)

Stay cool this summer! And if you're on the hunt for a Toronto condo (with AC, and possibly even a pool) talk to a Condo Pro to find out everything you need to know.

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