No Central Air? Here Are 4 Ways to Stay Cool During a Dangerous Heat Wave

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fan sitting on a wooden desk
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If you happen to live in a home with one tiny window AC or a portable unit — or no AC at all — battling against 90+ degree heat can make spending time at home during the summer miserable. And as dangerous summer heat waves become more common, it’s critical to know how to stay cool even without the luxurious arctic blast of central AC. Luckily, there are creative ways to get cool and keep safe.

For many of us, solace from oppressive heat may not be as as easy as flipping a switch, but luckily these easy tips for staying cool can bring you relief.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

1. Make a DIY ice water fan.

This DIY ice fan hack works surprisingly well and takes less than 10 minutes to make. Simply stick a bowl of ice water in front of your fan to help circulate the cooler air. If you don’t have ice cubes on hand, you can add other frozen items, like frozen bags of vegetables, to your bowl in a pinch.

Credit: Jessica Rapp

2. Cool off with a frozen washcloth.

Although it sounds a little odd, this tip works (courtesy of the writer’s dad who works outdoors in Florida) and will provide some relief especially when it’s too hot to sleep at night.

  • Take a washcloth and soak it in water.
  • Wring and shape into a “U” and stick in the freezer.
  • Once the washcloth is frozen, take it out and wrap it around your neck.
  • The cooling will distribute to the rest of the body quickly and the cool lasts long enough for one to fall asleep.
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3. Hang a damp towel for a cooler breeze.

Hang a damp beach or bath towel over an open window (as long as you are getting a breeze) to provide a cooler breeze. This will give a little relief but we have not found it as effective as the frozen washcloth trick.

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4. Close and cover your windows.

Unless there is a cool breeze coming in those windows, it is best for them to be closed and covered. Block sunny heat rays by keeping blinds or shades shut, or by using heavier-than-usual curtains.