Heatwave! Frugal ways to stay cool in the summer heat.

There are dozens of places to go for lists of ways to stay cool in the summer heat. Here is my list, as extensive as I can come up with, as much for my own peace of mind as anything. I start to get scared of the heat when the humidity starts to set in here in Ottawa, but I’m determined to get through one heatwave at a time this year, and maybe we won’t have to pull out the air conditioner!

At Home

– obviously, put your fans to use. Even your bathroom or kitchen vents can be used in the daytime to churn out some of your hot air and suck some cooler air up from the basement if you have one.

– instead of keeping the whole house cool, try to make one or two rooms “cool zones”. Get black-out curtains for mid-day, and good window fans to grab the cooler evening air.

– put some cold water in a bucket or the bathtub, and periodically soak your feet. This can cool down your whole body.

– wash laundry on cold. If you have to wash on hot, i.e. for diapers, do it at night when you won’t be adding to the heat of the day.

Out and About

– choose destinations with a/c: the library, city hall, museums, etc. Bring your snacks and go wild in air conditioned comfort. The only down side is that the heat always feels worse when you go back outside! Caveat: just stay out of the mall or your temptation to buy could outweigh all your smart frugal avoidance of the air conditioner at home!

– head to outdoor splash pads, or the beach, depending on where you live.

– stay home and put on the sprinkler, or fill up a kiddie pool. Wading in cold water can cool down your whole body.

– weird but it works: when I was younger I used to wear damp clothes in the summer to keep cool. Just make sure it’s not a white t-shirt!

– use a parasol to bring the shade with you.

Cool ways with food

– as counterintuitive as it seems, drinking hot tea can cool you down. Look at all the hot places in the world and you will notice that they are tea-drinking cultures. I think it works by making you sweat and thus cooling your body.

– if that’s not working for you, drinking lots of cool water will help you sweat and keep cool.

– cook outside. Use a barbecue, or build a solar oven. I’ve even heard of plugging in small appliances outside, though that is not recommended by the manufacturers.

– eat raw. Gaspatcho, hummus or steak tartare: none will add heat to your house through cooking.

– eat “cooling foods”. Do a search to find lists of these “yin” foods, including cucumber, pineapple and turmeric, which may lower your body temperature.

– build a solar oven and take advantage of the sun’s energy and high outdoor temperatures.

I’m actually planning on building a solar oven. My hope is to be able to bake bread on “the hottest day of the year” without scorn from my partner–or my brother!! I’ll update you with our progress.

Any other frugal cooling ways you can think of? Please comment, and I’ll add them to my list, with your name credited, of course!


7 thoughts on “Heatwave! Frugal ways to stay cool in the summer heat.

  1. – put some cold water in a bucket or the bathtub, and periodically soak your feet. This can cool down your whole body.

    That’s my favorite one. When it’s too hot to sleep at night I do this plus my hands and the back of my neck, then I can usually fall right asleep. 🙂

  2. Thought you might like to know that there is a solar oven in the display window at the arbour environmental shoppe on bank. Definitely more elaborate than my pizza box idea but same basic principle.

  3. To cook without heating up the house, a crockpot is your best friend! My oven heats up my kitchen like crazy, so I’ve been learning to cook more foods in the crockpot that I would normally use the oven for. My current favorite is crockpot meatloaf – delicious and NO extra heat in the house!

    1. I didn’t know a crock pot would be so good for summer cooking. I’m going to have to try that out!

  4. Depression cooking on youtube does a great video on lemon ice. It is a quick to assemble and a cheap way to make your own slurpees, let you kids do the stiring and tracking of the time. It will make the heat go buy faster and give you a sweet treat to help you cool off.

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