5 unusual ways to stay cool and beat the heatwave

It’s been another steamy week so far, with Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide reaching temperatures in the high 30s, and Western Sydney suburbs like Penrith and Parramatta rising above 40 degrees.

Yes, summer has definitely arrived, and Aussies everywhere will be plugging in fans and cranking the air con - but before you get carried away trying to cool down, spare a thought for your electricity bill.

Mozo has found that Australians could be footing a collective bill of $2.5 billion thanks to bad aircon habits - yikes! But with a little ingenuity, beating the heat doesn't have to send your electricity bill through the roof.

We might not advocate sleeping with a fan, but here are 5 out-of-the-box ways to stay cool in the summer heatwave.

1. Cool your sheets

Nearly 3 in 10 Aussies admitted they’d rather keep the aircon on all night just so they could sleep under a doona. But this is an expensive habit, potentially adding $270 to your summer energy bill.

So instead, swap the doona for a cotton sheet. And then make it extra chilly by sticking your sheets in the freezer for a couple of hours before bed - just remember to put them in a plastic bag first to avoid icicles!

2. Spice up your lunch

It seems kind of counterintuitive to eat hot foods when trying to escape the heat, doesn’t it? But there’s a reason why some of the hottest parts of the world also boast some of the spiciest dishes.

A spicy meal will make you sweat without actually raising your body temperature - and the more you sweat, the cooler you’ll be. Just remember to load up on deodorant before chowing down.

3. Use an ice water spritzer

Head to the $2 store and pick up a cheap spray bottle for every member of the family. Fill it with ice water and use it to spritz yourself (or each other) throughout the day. Not only will it keep you feeling cool and fresh, but the kids will have hours of fun spraying each other.

4. Chill your head, knees and toes

Did you know, the most efficient way to regulate temperature, whether it’s hot or cold, is to focus on your head and feet? Those are the places you lose heat most quickly, so give your body a helping hand with a cool foot bath at the end of the day, or a wet towel wrapped around your head.

Cooling off the backs of your knees with an ice pack can also work wonders, especially on hot and sticky nights.

5. Go troppo

Picture a beautiful tropical island filled with smiling, cool people - they’re probably not wearing black wool clothes are they? Take your fashion cues from people who live in hot weather, and stick to natural, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen in loose, flowing cuts.

Stay away from dark colours, as they attract heat, and go for sandals whenever you can. If you have to wear closed toe shoes, opt for canvas rather than leather, so the heat can escape.

So there you have it - get a little creative this summer and there’s no reason you should see a huge spike in your electricity bill.

Of course, having said that, remember that in a heatwave you might have to turn the air con on for a little while at least. If so, don’t sweat it - just make sure you’re signed up to the cheapest electricity deal on the market to keep the costs under control.


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