All over the nation, temperatures have skyrocketed, in many places hitting the triple digits early and hard. While summer is always pretty hot, this year things are looking a bit more toasty than usual, leaving many apartment dwellers in older, air conditionless buildings looking for new and better ways to cool down. If window units aren't an option, whether because of power issues or financial concerns, read on to learn about other cooling methods that can help you to avoid having a super sweaty summer and other more serious heat-related issues.
Use cross-ventilation. Many older buildings, constructed before the widespread use of air conditioning, use other methods to keep things cool. One of those is aligning windows to facilitate cross-ventilation. A few fans placed by these windows will keep a steady breeze of cooler air moving through your place, making it much more comfortable.
Take a shower. Much like sweat on your skin helps to cool it, getting wet in the shower can have a great cooling effect on your body, especially if you forego the hot shower for a warm or cool one.
Avoid turning on the stove. A stove can heat up a small space pretty quickly, so during the summer avoid turning it on as much as possible. That doesn't mean you have to eat out, just increase the amount of raw, grilled, or easily prepared foods you eat instead.
Get outside. Often, it cools off much more outside than inside during summer evenings. That's the time to take to the streets, enjoying patios, walks, parks, and events around the city. You'll not only stay cooler, but you'll also get to connect with the community and local businesses.
Draw the shades. Keeping your house darker in the summer might not be the best thing for your houseplants, but it can help keep things considerably cooler by blocking out the warming rays of the sun.
Close and open windows at strategic times. Ideally, you want to open your windows when the day is the coolest, usually at night, and shut them before it reaches peak temps, usually mid-morning.
Keep fans close. While fans to circulate air are great, when its really hot, there's nothing like having one blow directly on you. Even better, put a bowl of ice in front of a fan for a makeshift air conditioner.
Stay hydrated. There is no better thing that you can do for yourself in the dead of summer than to drink lots of water. You don't want your body to sweat faster than you're replenishing water, so drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid caffeine and alcohol which can further dehydrate you.
Make sure ceiling fans are running counter clockwise. Why does this matter? Because it pushes hot air up and cool air down. The reverse should be done in winter. Most fans have a switch that allows you to simply change this.