Photo by Ainsley Myles from Unsplash

No AC? Here are 8 ways to beat the heat even without an air conditioner

In this crazy heat where we’re hitting 40+C degrees, the quickest way to cool down is switching on the air conditioner.

However, not everyone can afford to buy a unit or have their AC on all day as soaring temperatures can lead to soaring electricity bills after all.

Some, on the other hand, haven’t exactly warmed up (pun intended) to the idea of using their AC, as it’s not exactly very sustainable.  

So if you want to keep yourself cool amid this maddening heatwave without an air conditioner, be it for practical or sustainability reasons—or both—here are eight easy and practical ways to help you steer clear of potentially dangerous heat-related conditions.

1. Open your doors, windows

In an article on The Straits Times, it was mentioned how throwing open the front door can help with ventilation if you choose not to use your AC at home. Just make sure it’s safe enough to do this, you don’t want an intruder to come barging in after all. 

Flinging open the windows helps, too. Having your doors and windows open at home allows “cross-ventilation” to take place, a natural phenomenon in which wind enters an opening flowing directly through the space and exiting through an opening on the opposite side.

Having your doors and windows open at home allows “cross-ventilation” to take place. Photo by Katerina Pavlyuchkova. All photos from Unsplash

In the same article, Prof. Chew Lup Wai, from the department of the built environment at the College of Design and Engineering at National University of Singapore, says opening more windows and doors generally has a cooling effect in tropical weather.

The heat released by indoor heat sources – such as lighting, computers, refrigerators, and other electrical appliances—will accumulate and increase the indoor temperature if the windows and doors are closed, added Prof. Chew. 

However, you may have to close your curtains or blinds if you have windows that face the sun’s direction in the morning through afternoon. 

2. Install blackout curtains

If you’re not one to fling your doors and windows open, you can opt for blackout curtains to insulate your room and reduce temperature increases during the day.

Blackout curtains insulate rooms and reduce temperature increases during the day. Photo by Jules A

These curtains mimic the effects of darkness by blocking sunlight, according to Prof. Jeremy Kong, program chair at the School of Applied Science at Republic Polytechnic. The dense, tightly woven fabric typically used for blackout curtains prevents solar radiation from entering rooms and heating up interior spaces, especially during sunny days, keeping rooms cooler and reduces the need for air-conditioning.

The article also mentioned the importance of furniture placement. Don’t place tall furniture near windows or the main entrance as this can prevent proper air ventilation.

3. Water, water, water

Hydrate and cool yourself with water through drinking lots of it and showering more often during the day.

In an article on, Prof. Wendell Porter, a senior lecturer emeritus in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida, said the temperature of the water doesn’t matter since your body will heat it.

If your body is suffering from the heat and needs to cool itself, it can’t do that without enough moisture, since the body cools itself by sweating.

Drink lots of water! Photo by Engin Akyurt

Taking a cold shower or bath, meanwhile, helps cool your body by lowering your core temperature. For an extra blast of icy cool, try soaps with menthol as this component activates brain receptors that tell your body something you’re eating or feeling is cold.

You can also place cold washcloths or ice bags/packs on your wrists or drape it around your neck to cool your body. These pulse points are areas where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you’ll cool down more quickly.

4. Try to use your electric fans creatively

For most Pinoys, their trusty electric fan or bentilador is their best tool against the blistering heat. Fans, however, can’t lower the temperature of an entire room. But with proper usage, fans can create a “wind-chill effect” to make you feel cooler by helping sweat evaporate from your skin, which cools you down. 

Fans can create a “wind-chill effect” to make you feel cooler by helping sweat evaporate from your skin. Photo by Delaney Van

Ceiling fans are considered the most effective because they circulate the air throughout the entire room, so you may want to have this installed at home if possible. 

A little bit of creativity can do wonders. Try placing frozen water bottles or a bowl of ice in front of the blowing air; it can provide a cool breeze when you need it most.

5. Dress lightly

When dressing up in this stultifying heat, wear as few layers as possible and be more mindful of which materials you choose—some fabrics are better than others.

Sure, light-colored clothes may reflect a bit more heat from the sun, but what’s more important is making sure your clothing offers airflow like loose T-shirts and shorts or flowy dresses. 

Make sure your clothing offers airflow like loose T-shirts and shorts or flowy dresses. Photo by Claudia Lam

Opt for clothes made from natural materials like cotton and linen, which better absorb sweat and promote airflow to the skin. Researchers from the University of Oregon found that wearing a fabric made of 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex is the best choice in infernal weather. These materials will feel cooler to your skin in the heat, because they transfer less heat than other materials.

You can also wear something with ventilation holes, such as mesh, which allows for more airflow.

6. Sleep on breathable sheets

Cotton is one of the most breathable materials out there, so cotton sheets or blankets could help keep you cool through the night.

Cotton sheets or blankets could help keep you cool through the night. Photo by Deconovo

‘Tis the season to not be too picky about your sheet’s thread count. The lower the thread count of the cotton, the more breathable it is, while the higher thread counts have more weaving per square inch. 

If you live in a two- or multi-story home, we have some bad news: hot air rises. That means the higher stories of your house is going to be warmer than its ground floor. You can beat the heat a little by sleeping on the bottom level of your home.

7. Cook in the morning or outside your house

Since the heatwave went on full blast in March, I’ve been doing most of my cooking (especially for lunch) in the morning and will just reheat the dishes at lunch or dinner time. Oven and stove heat can spread throughout the house much faster if you’re cooking when outside temperatures are also already running high. 

You can cook outdoors on a grill to keep the heat outside. Photo by Vincent Keiman

You can also opt for a slow cooker to keep the heat centralized in one area. You can also cook outdoors on a grill to keep the heat outside.

Don’t forget to flip the switch for the exhaust fan in your kitchen to pull hot air that rises after you cook. You can also do the same in your bathroom to draw out steam after you shower.

8. Treat yourself to cool or frozen goodies

Eating a scoop of ice cream to cool down may also provide some relief from the heat. You can also buy halo-halo from your neighbor or the corner store. Doing so will not only help you cool down, but also help a small business!

But be mindful of your sugar intake. Sugar would run your metabolism up and you’d start feeling hot inside, so the cool treat might be good, but the extra sugar not so much. 

For a healthier option, you can have a few slices of watermelon which is 90 percent water and contains vitamins C and A and the antioxidant lycopene, which helps in protecting you from the sun, too.

Most leafy veggies contain lots of water, which can help hydrate you and keep you cool. Photo by Dim Hou

Vegetable salads are also an excellent choice. Most leafy veggies contain lots of water, which can help hydrate you and keep you cool. Lettuce, for instance, is 95 percent water and cucumber is 96 percent water, according to Tanya Zuckerbrot, a registered dietitian, in an article on Business Insider. 

Moreover, salads require no cooking, and anything you can prepare on sweltering days without the need to switch on your stove or oven is best since it’ll help keep your house and your body cooler. 

Interestingly, spicy foods are a great way to beat the heat. “Eating something that will cause sweating, nature’s way of cooling us down, will allow you to withstand the sun,” Zuckerbrot said. Sweating can lead to dehydration, though, so make sure to consume substantial water throughout the day.

You may also want to veer away from alcoholic drinks until the mercury drops, as too much alcohol can cause your body to lose water.

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.