Tips to stay Cool without Air Conditioning

A woman tries to stay cool in her home with no air conditioning

Key takeaways

  • We're experiencing a heat wave like we've never seen before.

  • It's possible to be comfortable (and safe) with a few practical tips.

Science has proven that global warming/climate change is upon us, and the ongoing heat waves have become one of our most grueling reminders. Various regions of the United States (and the world) are experiencing consecutive days of record-breaking temperatures, with the National Weather Service estimating that the country will break 40 high temperature records in July 2022 alone.

Residents of Buffalo, N.Y, Denver, Oakland, Calif., Hartford, Conn., San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Providence, R.I., are particularly vulnerable, based on the large number of homes in those cities lacking air conditioning, according to USA Today. Even for those fortunate enough to have homes with central air, the high cost of running such units isn’t always an option.

10 ways to beat the heat

Heat-related illnesses can be life-threatening. So, regardless of your situation, here are 10 tips on how to stay cool, safe and healthy during this period:

  1. Stay hydrated! It’s an incredibly important safety measure for everyone to take, especially for the elderly.

  2. Keep a steady supply of cold compresses nearby and use frequently.

  3. Take cool baths or showers to bring your body’s core temperature down.

  4. Keep fans circulating air within your home. Pro tip: freeze a few empty milk containers and rotate them on a towel directly in front of a nearby fan for a cost-effective cool breeze.

  5. Eat cool foods, such as salads and watermelon. Channel your inner child and indulge in some popsicles. Pro tip: Avoid drinking alcohol as it can cause dehydration. Opt for low-sugar frozen treats since sugar can be dehydrating as well.

  6. Sleep in your home’s basement, if possible. Pro tip: If you have kids, pitch a tent in the basement and make it a fun, indoor camping experience.

  7. Wear comfortable, loose clothing, especially at bedtime. Pro tip: Ditch the comforter and opt for cotton sheets at night.

  8. If you’re in a larger home, close off rooms and dedicate a smaller area of your home as temporary living quarters. It’s much easier to keep a small area cool.

  9. Keep blinds, shades and curtains closed during the day to block added heat from sunlight.

  10. Visit public areas that have air conditioning, such as your local library or community recreation center. Pro tip: Now would be a great time to visit the movie theater to catch a show and stay cool.

A photo of a lake with a pier.

Here’s one more tip: If you’re close to one, go jump in a lake!

With extreme temperatures intensifying year over year, it might be easy to hyper-focus on your own personal comfort. Don’t forget family, friends and neighbors who may be at higher risk for heat-related illnesses. Check in on those around you and share these tips with them. Stay cool!

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