The weather's getting warmer across much of Australia, and there's no immediate change in sight. Ensure you stay cool with our comprehensive roundup of heat-beating tips, covering everything from how to use air conditioning more effectively to what to cook that won't overheat you and how to make the most of your beach time.
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Dear Lifehacker, Since it is scorching hot here in Melbourne, I need some tips on how we can keep ourselves cool — particularly if you are currently renting and you are not allowed to install any air conditioning! Thanks, IHate40Degrees
When the temperature rises, we turn the air conditioner on straight away — and drive our electricity bills up in the process. Four Australian academics explain why our addiction to home cooling is causing a major problem.
Don't have an air conditioner and can't take the heat? Don't want the huge electricity bill that might result from using AC all-day long? Whatever your motivation, here are five DIY ideas to stay cool this summer.
Dear Lifehacker, The hot summer weather is really dragging me down at work. I'm finding it harder to get things done and stay motivated, when all I really feel like doing is leaving work early and relaxing at the pool. Is there any cure for the summertime slump?
Old laptops running hot become a particular problem in summer. If you need a quick fix for an overheating machine, you can increase the airflow by propping the laptop up on four plastic bottle caps from larger soft drink bottles.
This neat little cube not only cools you on a hot summer day, it will stream you warm breezes when the weather turns cold. The desk fan also looks really nice and is built with ambient LED lights.
In The Kitchen
It's hard to muster up the willpower to walk into the kitchen on a hot summer day. Just preheating an oven can feel like torture. Few of us can afford to eat at an air-conditioned restaurant seven nights a week, but there are plenty of cooking options that will keep the heat down and still let you fill yourself with tasty grub.
We usually think of 7-Eleven when we think of slurpees, but there is an easy way to make one out of any cold drink. Teaching blog Charlie Brown's Teacher has a recipe that only requires a freezer bag, salt and water.
In hot summer weather, the last thing you want to do is bake. For a no-heat sweet treat, a fridge cake is a great solution.
Biscuit cravings can strike at any time, even if the temperatures outside are topping 40 degrees. If you have the urge for something freshly-baked and sweet but don't like the idea of firing up the oven, reach for your non-stick pan. Biscuits (or cookies as our US cousins have it) are surprisingly easy to make on the stove, and they take a fraction of the time.
Beach & Backyard
You've received a shiny selection of gadget gifts, and with summer upon us chances are you'll be hitting the beach soon. If you've started doing all your reading on a tablet or ereader, there's a few adjustments you need to make before you take them on your surfin' safari. Here's what you need to know, and what to do when sand and sea threaten your shiny toys.
Working out in the summer heat is tough. Not only is it already roasting hot outside, but your body is heating up because of the workout you're doing. To counter overheating, The New York Times shares a few ways to cool yourself down, including precooling. Guess what? There's evidence that the irresistible urge to dump water on your head really works.
The old saying that you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you swim is based on the idea that after a big meal, blood will be diverted away from your arms and legs, towards your stomach's digestive tract. And if your limbs don't get enough blood flow to function, you're at risk of drowning. But is it sound advice, or is it just parents wanting a 30-minute break to relax after a big lunch?
When you're at the beach and you leave your thongs (or sandals) while swimming, the sun can quickly heat them up and burn your feet when you put them back on. Redditor shawbin suggests turn them upside down so they don't absorb the sun's excessive warmth and are comfortable to wear later on.
Fancy playing cards in the pool, or just need somewhere to rest your drink? You can make a cheap floating tabletop from a styrofoam pool noodle and a cutting board.
Shade sails are partial canopies designed to keep your favourite outdoor chair shaded on hot sunny days. Here's a simple DIY plan to make your own shade sail using fabric, a sewing machine, and attachment hooks.
Keep your canine friends cool this summer by making an ice lick that will pique your dog's interest: freeze chew toys inside a bucket filled with a mix of water and chicken broth.
You're not going to like this, but your air-conditioner is actually making it harder for your body to handle the heat outside. If you want to feel more comfortable outdoors during the hot summer months, you need to cut back on your AC use.
This article has been updated since it's original publication.