Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Fan cooling

How to use tech to stay cool during a heat wave

Hot days are ahead and that means a scorching temperature making life that much more difficult. How can you use technology to keep cool?

An Australian summer is practically upon us, as the temperature is forecast to hit some searing temperatures normally reserved for cooking food. Okay, it’s not quite that hot, but if you wanted to test out the concept of frying an egg on the pavement, the upcoming 40-odd degree temperatures may well be the perfect time.

Yes, the hot weather is coming, as the world records its hottest year on record and reminds people that climate change is an important thing they need to think about.

While you’ve got that in the back of your mind, it might be time to consider how you can use technology to stay cool and sane through a heat wave.

You already probably have a fan or some air conditioning (and if you don’t, you may want to consider AC options for installation), and you might have an amazeballs fridge that can help freeze awesome ice cubes that help cool those drinks so much faster. But what else can technology do to keep you cool?

Make use of oscillation

An air conditioner may well be the best way to feel cool during a hot day, but you can make a fan feel like a cool breeze as well, and it’s something pretty much every fan can achieve.

On every fan, you should see a button to trigger oscillation, which in the case of fans just basically means moving the fan head around left and right, horizontally pushing air out in more than one direction.

Oscillation is an obvious way to get cooler air moving across a room in more than one place, but it comes with another aspect that’s super handy at making us feel cool: it creates the effect of having a breeze.

On a super hot day where there is no breeze, an oscillating fan can help trick our brains into believing that cool air is on the way, and is a great way to stay cool when the temperature is just too hot to believe.

Depending on the fan you have, you may find an oscillation feature lets you go even further than the short distance oscillating fans normally cover. For instance, select models of Dyson’s Air Multiplier fans can cover as much as 350 degrees, making the oscillation effect work throughout the entirety of the room.

Dyson Pure Cool Link reviewed

Use the power of evaporation

While we’re tricking our brains into feeling like there’s a breeze, why not trick them into feeling cooler using the power of evaporation.

Simply put, trickle water on your face and arms, and then sit in front of the fan or near an air conditioner, and let the water evaporate on you.

Evaporation is a quick way to make you feel cooler than you were, and anyone can do it. You just need water and some sort of cooling device.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Turn the lights and TV off, stick to sound

It might seem counterintuitive to have a technology publication recommend not using technology when it’s hot outside, but if you’re looking for a quick way to keep cool during a heatwave, not using a lot of technology is one way that can work.

TVs produce heat. Your phone will produce heat. In fact, just about anything with a reasonable amount of technology inside will product heat, and that might make a hot day feel even worse.

Consider turning the telly off and just switching on some speakers instead. Stay clear from earphones and headphones on a hot day if you can; while speakers produce heat as well, earphones and headphones will lock heat in on your body, while speakers typically see you far enough away to not feel the effects.

Prepare a few heat-beating un-techy accessories

Finally, if you know it’s going to be hot ahead of time — and a weather forecast will definitely be able to tell you that — consider prepping a few things that can help you survive the hot days and warm nights.

For instance, you can:

  • Wet some hand towels and store them in the freezer: when you take them out, they’ll cool your skin nicely.
  • Make lots and lots of ice: there’s nothing like ice and water on a hot day.
  • Grab some mint shower gel: it’s not great for the eyes, but if you want to cool down on a hot day, a mint-based soap or shower gel is one way to do just that.
  • Have a warm shower: it may seem counterintuitive, but cold showers cause blood vessels to constrict, preserving a warm body temperature. Instead, having a warm shower may actually help you cool down better. Consider using the mint shower gel with the warm shower.
  • Keep the house closed and darker: curtains can stay closed, as can blinds, and keep the windows shut, too. It might seem like you’re doing what you can to stop the cool from coming in, but if it’s hotter outside than in, you’re not doing yourself any favours. Wait until it’s cooler outside and then open those windows to let some air in.

And make sure to stay hydrated on a hot day. Drink plenty of water to help your body deal with the risk of dehydration and stay on top of it all.

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