Sunday, April 10, 2016

How to beat the heat

How to beat the heat without air-conditioning

The heat is on, literally. It's sticky, uncomfortable and downright dangerous.
Here's out list of 26 ways to beat the heat without an air-conditioner.


1. Prevention is better than cure. Keep curtains and blinds closed during the day to block the heat and direct sunlight.
2. Close windows once the outside air is warmer than indoors.
3. At night, once the mercury drops, purge the accumulated hot air by opening windows and doors.
4. Halogen lights, dishwashers, cooking appliances and dryers all produce heat. Avoid using them during the hottest part of the day. Halogen lights are worth replacing to save energy, anyway.
5. Improvise an evaporative cooler by drying a load of washing in front of a fan. Sun exposure, especially when it's intense, gradually fades coloured fabric, so this is a great way to dry coloured loads.
6. Heat rises. If you have a two-storey house, stay downstairs. Sleep there, too.


7. Keep the family cool and hydrated. Keep a jug of drinking water in the fridge.
8. Stay cool from the inside out. For cooling snacks, make yoghurt, juice or pureed fruit icy-poles. Or put an icy pole stick into a fresh, ripe banana and freeze it.

9. Sitting for a while? Soak your feet in cold water. Add some grated ginger and bicarb soda just for fun.
10. Cool your caffeine. Try iced tea or an affogato, instead of hot tea or coffee.
11. Electric fans create cooling air movement using minimal electricity. For extra cooling, keep a spray bottle handy and regularly mist yourself with water.
12. But remember that a fan only works when it is blowing on you. If you're not in the room, switch it off.
13. Barley, rice or wheat-filled bags (used in winter as 'heat packs') can be put in the freezer and used as personal ice packs.
14. It's the best excuse you'll get to skip your lunchtime jog. Avoid excessive activity or switch to exercising very early in the day or very late in the evening, when it is cooler.
15. If you've got children, submerge some plastic toys in an ice-cream container filled with water. Freeze it. Then tell the kids they're on an ice fortress rescue mission!


16. Make sure pets have adequate shade, ventilation and water. You might have to bring them indoors for the day.
17. Find a shady spot in the garden and use a kids' clamshell as a paddling pool for your dog. Keep it topped up with clean water.
18. Leave out bowls of water in shady areas for wildlife. 

Out and about

19. If you have to venture outdoors, protect yourself from the sun's harmful UV rays by covering up with light, loose clothing, a hat and sunscreen. 
20. Use reflective sunshades in the car. Open windows to purge the hot air when you first get in, before turning on cooling.
21. Escape the heat at air-conditioned cinemas, art galleries, libraries and other public buildings.

Serious stuff

22. As we mentioned earlier, some members of society are more vulnerable to heat stress. Follow these tips for keeping babies and children safe in hot weather.  Also keep tabs on elderly family members and neighbours during heatwaves.
23. Don't leave anything that has a heartbeat (animals, children) in a locked car, even with the windows down. Temperatures inside cars can be as much as 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.

Long-term ideas

24. Put up exterior shade sails or grow deciduous vines over a pergola, particularly on the western side of your house.
25. Insulate your home.
26. The most energy efficient way to stay cool is to live in a well-designed home. If you're building or renovating, aim for a house that keeps cool without air-conditioning. Remember that there are often power outages on days of extreme heat, when the electricity grid struggles to cope. 

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