Surviving hot weather in a crappy rental property.
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Yes, the summer heat is here. It means delicious seasonal fruit, going without a jumper and wearing sandals. But for a lot of us renters, it also means a lot of sleepless nights and discomfort in our poorly insulated rental properties which seem to attract the heat then take a long time to cool down. I can't miraculously make your home 10 degrees cooler by waving a magic wand but I can suggest some tips which might help.
Install thick insulated curtains on all windows to keep the sun and hot weather at bay during the hottest part of the day. If you have spare blankets, even rigging them up outside the windows to create a bit of an awning can also help. Curtains can often be found cheaply at op shops and ask your family, they usually have old curtains festering in a linen cupboard. Or you could of course consider making your own.
In the cooler mornings and evenings, open all your doors and windows and let the cool air circulate through your home. But once the heat comes, close all curtains and blinds. If there’s a hot wind, double door snakes are a good way to keep it out from under the door, and they don’t need to be replaced everytime you open and close the door.
The jury’s out on whether it is best to eat hot, spicy food (to make you sweat and regulate your body temperature) in hot weather or cool food. Perhaps a combination of both? If you need to cook, a bbq on the balcony or in the backyard is preferable to slow cooking in the oven. (This is assuming it is safe to do so, barbecues are often issued with fire bans in extrene heat). You could even put your toaster oven or rice cooker outside to cook. Even better, arm yourself with bowls of chilled fruit salad using seasonal fruits such as strawberries, watermelon and peaches and enjoy salad.
Food goes off easily in hot weather so keep all perishables in the fridge (especially the butter dish)!
Do you have pets? Feed them early morning before the heat kicks in for the day. If you have very furry pets like cats or rabbits, consider freezing bottles of water for them to lie against or even terracotta tiles for them to lie on. Keep a careful eye on your pets and ensure they are as cool as possible with plenty of shade and water.
Sitting still? Try dunking your feet in a bucket of cold water at periodic intervals. Wet a tea towel, sponge or facewasher and place in the freezer. Once it’s cool, apply to your wrists and/or back of your neck. The conventional hot water bottle can also be filled with cold water and frozen.
Wear loose cotton clothing. Think about outfits in desert countries, they’re wearing light coloured, loose layers, not tight skinny jeans and a fitted t shirt. Failng that, there’s a lways a sarong. If you choose to go naked, at least sit on a towel and remember to wrap yourself in it if the door rings.
Think about how much money and energy you’re saving by not having an airconditioner. If you have spare cash, keep an eye on the weather and book into a hotel room during heat waves.
If your bedroom is the hottest room of the house and the living room the coolest, consider moving your bed (or sleeping on the couch) during the multiple days of hot weather.
Where possible utilise cooler spaces. Visiting a cinema, shopping centre, local library or cafe can give you some respite for a few hours.
Yes, summer is difficult for us renters. Do you have any tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments section!