How to Keep Cool When It’s Hot Outside

Temperatures here in Southern Oregon are on their way UP! We hit 90 degrees yesterday, and we’re supposed to hit 90 again today. Yep, it’s gone from mild to hot in a hurry! So how do you stay cool without breaking the bank?

  1. Use Your Windows – In the morning while the air outside is cool, open your windows and let the breeze in. As the day gets warmer, close your windows and your blinds or curtains to trap the cool air in the house.
  2. Know Your Directions – Watch out for the west side of your house. If you have windows facing west, it’s going to get HOT in the afternoon. If at all possible, plant a tree to shade the west side. If not, buy a shade to block the sun from your westward facing windows in the afternoon.
  3. Use Fans – Air circulation is key to keeping your house cool. Use ceiling fans, if you have them. If not, strategically set up fans throughout the house to keep air moving. I’ve heard setting an ice block in front of a fan will cool things down, too, but I haven’t tried it myself.
  4. Keep Cool Drinks on Hand – A glass of ice water will cool you off quickly. It’s also important to stay hydrated to avoid heat related illnesses. There’s nothing worse than feeling sick when it’s 100 degrees out.
  5. Don’t Use the Oven – The oven will heat up your house in a hurry, so don’t use it when the weather is hot. Your best bet is to grill outside, but if that’s not possible, use your stovetop or the crockpot. Or even better, prepare a yummy, yet frugal, pasta salad for dinner. Cook the pasta in the morning, while the house is cool and refrigerate it all day. There’s nothing better than a cool dinner on a hot day!
  6. Frozen Fruit Makes a Good Snack – Have you ever eaten frozen grapes or blueberries? They’re delicious! Eating frozen fruit is also a healthy way to keep cool! And if your kids love popsicles, freeze some juice. It’s healthier and more frugal than the store bought popsicles!
  7. Send the Kids Out to Play Early – The worst time for sunburns is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so send the kids out to play early in the morning or later in the evening. During the hottest period of the day, do something quiet that will keep you all from overheating. How about reading a book together?
  8. Use Your Air Conditioner – I know. This isn’t the frugal option, but sometimes it’s worth it to spend the money to keep comfortable. Set your thermostat to a comfortable (not a freezing) level, and enjoy the cool of the indoors. Just remember to turn off the a/c and open the windows to save money when the air outside cools down.

What do you do to cool down, when the weather outside is hot?

Photo by Zanastardust.



Author

By , on May 18, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{20 Comments}

  1. Lisa:

    We have a finished basement, so we spend more time down there during the summer (especially during the hottest part of the day).

  2. My house has no AC, and I haven’t had AC ever. (It sure would be nice sometimes!!) We make due with fans and windows and knowing when to open and close them. (I don’t understand why my kids can’t seem to learn this, as I knew from very young!)

    Hopping into a cool shower to rinse off and just relieve some heat from the body works really well too.

    Play in the sprinklers with the kids. Go to the fountains in the park. Go on a hike in the woods. They are usually 10+ cooler than general neighborhoods.

  3. TStrump:

    I definitely have no problem using an air conditioner but it only stays in my room.
    I figure it’s cheaper than keeping the whole house cool and if it’s too hot in the rest of the house, I can easily watch TV in my room and hang out there.

  4. Melissa:

    Something we do to keep cool is to wear a damp t-shirt. It’s amazing how much cooler this keeps us. Obviously we don’t wear wet clothes when we’re out and about. But when I’m at home or working in the yard, I’ll often be seen with a damp shirt!

  5. I don’t have a dryer, so I have to hang the laundry to dry. I kill two birds with one stone by hanging the laundry in front of the open doors and windows- it makes the air really cool, dries the laundry quickly though the draft and makes the house darker by blocking the light, which also helps to keep it cool.

  6. Marci:

    Rarely an issue here on the N OR coast…had the woodstove going last night to get the chill out.

    100% cotton clothing… only thing I can stand when it’s hot out.
    A sprayer bottle or mister helps – and a fan on you.
    Hop in and out of the shower and stay in front of the fan.

    Meals are light, cold fruits, veggies, and cheese from the frig.
    No cooking. Unless it’s the BBQ or the crockpot outside or the electric skillet outside.

    I have one window A/C in the bedroom only. The rest of the house has to be satisfied with ceiling and box fans :)

    Go to the library – it’s always cool there!

  7. Oh dear, when reading the comments I’m suddenly really glad about our mild Southern Germany summers – here we get 95 only 2 weeks every summer, if ever. I have a very old and cool farmhouse, so my concern is rather how to get the warm air in :-). It’s very interesting to get a glimpse how other people live…

  8. Beau:

    This will sound crazy to some, but on clear nights with no possibility of rain, I sleep outside on a camping cot. If the mosquitoes are bad, I set a mosquito net around the cot.

    luckily I live on a hill where the wind seems to be blowing all the time. In dead of summer here in Oklahoma, I’ll sit outside under a nice shade tree with a cold one!

    one last thing: fans, fans, fans… you’ll survive!

  9. missy@ missysthrifty:

    We spend a lot of time in our pool! We love the summer time here and spend a lot of time outside!

  10. Lisa:

    I put the crock pot (and the heat it generates) out on the back porch. As long as it doesn’t get rained on, it is fine out there.

  11. Marie:

    Buy some raw food cookbooks – try to find ones without all the philosophy though. Cold salad, soups and meals are so much nicer in the summer than hot, cooked food. We use the summer to invent new smoothies and salads. I put chopped raw carrots, celery and tomatoes on the table with various dips. Then, of course, there’s popsicles for dessert. Make your popsicles from fruit juice or yogurt and blended fruits.

  12. maria:

    my husband installed (a previously used wall oven that we got for free) on the side of our garage where we have our patio area near our BBQ grill. It is such a lifesaver during the hot months plus it’s smaller than our regular standup oven and used less electricity.

    Also perfect during the holidays when your cooking a lot of oven dishes.

  13. Angelsong:

    I live in the Sunbelt, so 90 degrees is relatively normal. The humidity can make it feel even hotter. We try not to use our AC more than absolutely essential. I am far more comfortable physically in the heat than in winter cold and wet. Still, we have a couple of strategies for keeping cool.

    Drink LOTS of water. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, or add ice to your glass. Cold water is absorbed better than water from the tap.

    Dress lightly, in light-color, loose fitting clothing, preferably cotton. Also, eat lightly.

    Run the dishwasher without the heated dry cycle, in the early morning or late at night. Or wash dishes by hand.

    We use oscillating fans in the office and in our bedroom, instead of the AC.

    Use natural lighting whenever possible, instead of incandescent lighting.

    Use curtains plus window blinds.

    I once lived in a house without central air conditioning, and one sticky night, I actually dampened the sheets on my bed (it had a plastic covered mattresss). The sheets were just damp enough to cool, not soaked with water. It worked.

    I cook on the weekend for the entire week, then use the crockpot, electric skillet, and/or microwave for reheating meals.

  14. sharyn:

    In the evening, I will take a very quick, cool, “rinse-off” shower. I usually shower in the morning, so this doesn’t replace that. But the cool/cold water rinses off any perspiration and the effect of any fans that are blowing feels extra great!

  15. We have central air and it is my most unfrugal thing (although th ebills are not that bad.) When it is hot I get cranky! So I sleep with my air on. I like to be cool when I sleep. A fan just does not cut it. The nice thing is that the thermastat is adjustable, so I set it to go off when it gets over 75 in the house. Usually it runs about 2 hours at night and then shuts off. But I use it with my ceiling fans and it usually keeps house cool again until about 1:00pm. Not too bad.

    My friend has no air at all and she does fine (she lives across the street.) I think I would die-lol. I alwasy tell her to come sleep over.

  16. The Weakonomist:

    I’ve had extensive experience with fans. The house I grew up in had no AC for the first ten years we lived in it! We used fans in every room, usually putting them in windows. Now that if does have AC, I’m not sure how we ever survived without it.

    Do use the AC responsibly and consider getting a programmable thermostat, they are great for saving money and energy.

  17. Your post warms me up! The high where I live is supposed to be 55 degrees today. I’m DYING for a 90 degree day! :)

  18. Back in the day, my grandparents and all their Polish family and neighbors all had a second stove in the basement, for summer cooking.

  19. Angie:

    We know all about the heat down here in the south. Go swimming. Wear cool clothes and hair up (for ladies). Yes, use ceiling fans and I like to use a small toaster oven instead of the big oven. When hot turns to scorching, be tough!

  20. Great advice!

    We can literally adjust the house temperature by almost 10 degrees by opening and closing blinds at the right times.

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