13 Ways to Cool Down on hot days with no air conditioning

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Written by: Christine Hamilton

My a writer and creator. I'm a small business owner creating books, e-books, templates, designs and more.

January 23, 2024

How to cool down on hot days?  Summer in the Southern Hemisphere brings heatwaves, hot nights, blackouts and more. 

 There are two main types of hot weather.  Hot and dry with low humidity, your sweat is evaporated and feels cooler.  Heat with high humidity feels hotter as air already has a high moisture content the sweat does not evaporate.  The heat and sweat make you feel uncomfortable.

 Overheating is dangerous.  In dry climates, you can easily dehydrate.  Overheating in any climate can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death if not treated.

Ways to cool down

 

Here are some options for cooling down when there is no grid power available – 

  • Cool showers
  • Swimming
  • Cool suits
  • Stay in the shade
  • 12-volt fan
  • Handheld fan
  • Rechargeable fan
  • Increase airflow
  • Keep the heat out
  • Cooldown the environment
  • Wear cool clothes
  • Cool food and drink
  • Alternative power source

 Have more than one option available as the electrical grid can fail during big heatwaves.  Saving electricity saves you money too.  It always pays to have options to keep going without electricity.

 

Cool Showers

A cool shower on a hot sweaty day is so refreshing.  It is also a good method for cooling down if you are getting too hot.  Identify and stop heat exhaustion early.

Swimming

 Cool off in the pool, local waterhole or the beach.  Be aware of the hazards in the area like a rip, wild animals, and icy cold water giving you hypothermia over time. 

Avoid the heat and stay out of the sun especially at the beach to prevent overheating in the first place.  Sunburn can also cause overheating and dehydration.  

Cool Suits

Various types of clothing have been designed to cool down when they are wet, such as vests, neck scarfs, caps, beanies and even a face mask.  These articles of clothing are designed to keep you cooler in hot environments.

There are a range of cooling safety clothing on the market used in a range of industries from –

  • Athletes,
  • Car racing drivers,
  • Miners,
  • Factory workers

Other hot workplaces can have a variety of clothing items to keep their workers cool.

You don’t have to buy custom-made suits; you can simply have a hand towel with some ice or ice water around your neck.  If you have planned ahead, you could have some bottles of frozen water wrapped in a towel and use it like a hot water bottle but in reverse.  Do wrap frozen objects as they could stick to your skin or burn you.

Stay in the Shade

 

Physical labour and being out in the sun both raise your body temperature.  So, during the heat of the day find something less strenuous to do in the shade.  Take a break, or alter your hours of work.  Warmer countries may start work early in the morning before sunrise, have a break in the middle of the day and then start again later in the evening.

    12v or low-voltage fan

     Camping, automotive and caravan shops are the best places to find everyday items that don’t need 240v or mains electricity.  A small 12v fan run off a rechargeable battery is a good stand-in to cool down on hot days.  These are the fans you find in the cabins of trucks, caravans, boats and the like.

     If the fan does not come with a rechargeable battery, you will need a car battery to run it and even a solar recharging system if you want to go that far.

    Handheld fan

     The traditional fold-up handheld fan has been used for millennia.  Or you can use a piece of cardboard or a magazine anything to move the air.  Moving the air helps with evaporation and removing the warm air from your body.

    Battery or rechargeable fan

    There is a range of small rechargeable fans available in your local hardware, electronic or electrical store.  Keep them charged so you have a fan when the grid goes down.  Also, useful for cooling in areas away from power outlets.   Some older styles may use disposable batteries.

    These fans are small enough that you could put one in your household emergency kit for use after a disaster.

    Get your FREE Evacuation Kit Checklist here

    Increase airflow

    The house is getting hot and stuffy and there is some breeze outdoors.  Open up the windows and doors and let the airflow. 

    If you have high windows or roof vents this will help remove the hot air from the building as hot air rises. 

    As the hot air leaves it will draw in fresh air from outside.  If you have gardens and shade outdoors the air should be cooler.

    Keep the heat out

    If you are trying to cool your home with air conditioning or similar keep the heat out.  Have the walls and roof insulated. 

     Prevent the sun from shining directly into your home during summer which will heat the floors and walls.  This can be done with roof eaves, window awnings, screens and other shade devices. 

    Depending on your climate the shade system can be designed to let in the winter sun and keep the summer sun out.

    Cool down the environment

    There is a breeze but it is hot.  Hot dry landscapes, deserts, paving, sealed roads, dark colours, and brick walls all heat the air around them.  Big cities can be one big heat sync.

     Cool down the environment around your home to cool down the breeze.   Sun shining directly on hard surfaces absorbs heat and then radiates it out into the air during the day and night.

     Evaporation cools the air and surfaces nearby.  To cool down your environment you could – 

    • Shade hard surfaces, paths, driveways, and decks next to your home.
    • Have vegetation, trees, and plants to shade the area and cool the air.
    • Have a pond or pool on the side the wind comes from, the evaporation cools the air.
    • Have misting irrigation to cool the air and keep the plants happy.
    • Choose light colours and materials that don’t absorb a lot of heat.
    • Have someone design your home or yard to funnel breezes into wanted areas.
    • Hanging wet sheets or curtains in the path of the breeze cools the air.

    Wear cool clothing

    I’m not talking about the latest fashion.  Cool loose clothes are made of natural materials such as cotton.  These fabrics absorb the sweat and when it evaporates it cools you down.  Synthetic fibres down draw the sweat away from you and just stick to the wet skin.

    Choose light colours to reflect the sun’s heat.  White, light colours absorb less heat than black and dark colours.

    Cool food and drinks

    Hot weather and sweating can dehydrate you fast.  Drink plenty of cool water to stay hydrated.  If you are feeling really hot having very cold food and drink can give you stomach cramps and chest pains.  Drinking is the most important as eating some foods can add to your dehydration if you are not drinking enough.

    Avoid alcohol during hot weather as it is dehydrating.  Your body needs water to process the alcohol so it makes you thirstier.

     Eat a balanced healthy diet to replenish your electrolytes that are lost when sweating.  The four main electrolytes to replace are sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

    Alternative power source

    If the power grid has failed and you are in a blackout for an extended time.  You may have access to alternative power such as a generator or solar panels and batteries. 

     DON’T connect a generator to your home unless the switchboard is designed for it.  This could be deadly and the generator may not be big enough for the whole house and you could damage the generator or electrical items in your home.

     You can plug a pedestal fan into a small generator directly. 

     DON’T RUN THE GENERATOR INDOORS.  The exhaust CO2 fumes are deadly.

     Being in the city with solar panels on your roof will not mean you have power in a blackout unless the electrician designed the system to be isolated and run stand-alone.  Most solar panels on your roof feed back into the grid, so if the grid is not working you are not feeding anything.

     There are solar power exhaust fans that can be used to draw the hot air out of your roof and the building.  New solar-powered products are being created each day.

    Summary

    There is a range of methods you can use to prevent overheating and cool down on hot days.  You may need to change your schedule so that you are not working outdoors in the middle of the day giving yourself and those around you heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

     Learn to recognise the systems of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Prevention is better than hospitalisation or death.

    If your area is prone to extremes of heat or heatwaves you should include your course of action in your family emergency plan.  You can buy my printed emergency plan workbook to make creating your plan easier.

    ‘Create your own Emergency Plan for Families’ workbook from Amazon or buy a downloadable PDF version here in my shop.  Just remember to print off the digital copy and put it in your kit. 

    ‘Create your own Emergency Plan for Individuals’ workbook from Amazon or buy a downloadable PDF version here in my shop.  Just remember to print off the digital copy and put it in your kit. 

    OR buy both plan workbooks with the downloadable PDF bundle.

    Get your FREE Evacuation Kit Checklist here.