While many Aussies live for summer Down Under, others dread the prospect of the associated heat and its impact on productivity, motivation and comfort in general.
Regardless of how you feel about our long, hot summer, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Summer in Australia can get blistering hot, and staying cool, comfortable and healthy is of paramount importance.
Keeping your home chilled from December through February (and beyond) can cost a fortune with the rising cost of power forcing many of us lucky enough to have air conditioning to limit its use. In addition, sleeping, relaxing or functioning normally can be tough as the temperature peaks outside.
EFM is on the case, and this week we’re providing you with seven budget-friendly tips for keeping cool this summer.
As we said, running an air conditioner throughout a summer heatwave can lead to a power bill that shocks the system. If you don’t have air con, or just want to cut back on using yours, create your own air conditioning effect with a few everyday household items.
Simply fill a big bowl or bucket with ice (or ice and cold water) and position beneath a strong fan so that the air flow blows over the ice. Ta da! A do-it-yourself air conditioner. When the temperature drops at night, open doors and windows and position fans to create a cross-flow throughout your home or space, with some facing out windows. This effectively pushes the hot air in your home outside.
The majority of the summer heat in your home comes from windows, and blockout curtains are a godsend that you can find them in a range of colours, styles and prices. Good quality blockout curtains have one side lined with light-coloured, heat-deflecting fabric that faces out, and another side that is generally darker in colour that faces inside. The best thing about them that few realise is that in the cold winter months, you can reverse them to keep the heat in!
It’s not just an old wives tale your Grandma always swore by. Cooling your pulse points in order to cool your entire body does actually doesn’t have scientific backing! In short, experts believe that chilling these areas allows for blood to be cooled as it passes by them, which results in an overall feeling of refreshment and a lower body temperature.
Which areas should you be focusing on? Pay attention to cooling the neck, wrists, temples, insides of elbows, backs of knees, ankles and feet. Apply ice to these areas or run under cold water for at least one minute to feel the effects. Instant relief!
Punch in “cooling products” or similar on Google and you’ll be astounded by the sheer number of products on offer that are geared towards keeping you cool in hot weather. There doesn’t seem to be anything manufacturers haven’t thought of. Ice vests, cooling bandanas, neck coolers, personal fans, cooling baby pusher pads, device coolers, cooling mattress toppers… it’s all there at your fingertips.
People are also rapidly realising that the innovative cooling pet mats they have bought for their furry friends are great for us too! These gel-filled mats draw body heat away from the body as you (or your pet) lay on them. Finally - an answer for those sleepless summer nights!
Appliances, gadgets and technological devices in your home emit heat if they are plugged in - regardless of whether you’re using them or not.
With that being said, in summer be extra vigilant in unplugging these at the wall or turning them off completely if you aren’t using them. TV’s, microwaves and larger items are the biggest offenders.
It may seem small, but every little action helps!
Being proactive and acting early to keep the heat out is key to staying ahead of the hot weather during summer.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and take steps the night before (or early on the morning of) a hot day for maximum effect. Close doors and windows (paying close attention to any areas where heat can escape in), close those blockout curtains and freeze a stack of ice trays and icy drinks. Pre-preparing simple light meals can also take the pressure off when the only thing cooking is the asphalt outside. After all, using the oven, stove or cooker during summer only adds heat to your home.
There’s lots of ways to plan ahead and combat hot weather, and most state government websites have an area dedicated to helpful summer tips for all ages.
If all else fails and you find yourself drowning in a puddle of your own sweat after your third shower of the day, revert to the tried and tested trick of heading to places that are bound to be cool. The movies, art galleries, museums, shopping centres, the freezer aisle of the nearest supermarket - this is where the crowds flock for respite from the Aussie sun.
Lastly, keep an extra-vigilant eye on those around you who are more susceptible to heat, including the elderly, young children and pets. Check in regularly, and ensure they remain hydrated and comfortable by following some of the above tips.