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Heat hacks: How to stay cool without air conditioning

OP surf competition

Photo by Paul Chinn via LA Public Library

Sept. 3, 1983: Spectators crowd Huntington Beach for surfing championships, which continue today, and one onlooker, ..." and "Surfing fans found little room to spread out their towels as thousands flocked to the shores of Huntington Beach to watch the OP surfing contest Saturday". The U.S. Open of Surfing is a week-long surfing competition held annually during the summer in Huntington Beach, California. Photograph dated:

Hot hot help. Get low to the ground and then get reading — KPCC asked our readers and listeners about their techniques for cooling down without air conditioning.

Below are some practical tips and questionable suggestions from formerly hot people. Plus, we've added our own list of ideas below the tweets.

Have a dependable method for hacking your body temperature? Tell us via Twitter or leave a comment below. 


  • Kiddie pool.
  • Lotions in the fridge.
  • Eat spicy foods in the basement (or on the floor) while wearing a damp shirt and listening to the rain setting on your white noise machine.
  • Make sure ceiling fans are running counterclockwise.
  • Wet paper towels. Fold into ankle and wrist cuffs. Freeze. Wear. Repeat.
  • Build a DIY AC.
  • Build a mini cold air fan.
  • Build an "evaporative cooler for immediate heat relief."
  • Make a barricade of fans and icecubes.
  • Go to an air conditioned  public place (movie theater, for example).
  • Close all the curtains, preferably the heat absorbing kind.
  • Or open all the windows, depending on the breeze situation.
  • Wash your sheets before bed but don't dry them — put them on the bed damp.
  • Portable unit.


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