With the official start of summer just weeks away, Toronto's sweltering heatwaves will soon be here. But even before the new season arrives, Torontonians can expect to feel the humidity as early as this weekend, as temps are poised to feel as high as 35°C.

While many residents are fortunate to have air conditioning in their condos and homes, not everyone has this luxury. In fact, only 60% of all households in Canada have air conditioning, according to 2017 data from Statistics Canada. 

Sure, there are several ways to cool off in the city, like cooling centres, wading pools, and public beaches and pools, but the pandemic has rendered many of those remedies inaccessible. Many are closed for safety precautions, so when the heat becomes unbearable, it could feel like there's nowhere to go but home.

Whether you live in an older house or happen to live in a place without air conditioning, it’s still possible to stay cool during the hot months. Read on for 13 great ways to keep you and your home cool without air conditioning this summer. 

READ: Long-term Toronto Forecast Expects ‘Abundance of Sunshine’ This Summer

Stay hydrated

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When you're feeling hot, the first and foremost step to cooling down is to drink water. Drinking water helps regulate your body temperature and keeps you hydrated.

Place Cold Cloths on Your Neck or Wrists

Another great way to cool your body temperature is to place a cold cloth on your wrists or drape it around your neck. These pulse points are areas where blood vessels are close to the skin, so you'll cool down more quickly.

Create A Cross Breeze

Fans don’t necessarily make your home cooler since they essentially push around hot air. But if you set up a cross breeze in your home using two fans, this could make you feel more comfortable in warmer temps. To create a cross breeze, set up two flows of air -- one to blow cool air and one to pull away the hot air.

Take a Cold Shower or Bath

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When the heat becomes unbearable, try taking a cold shower or a bath as it they can help cool your body by lowering your core temperature.

Create a DIY ‘Air Conditioner’

Put your trays of ice cubes to good use! Fill a shallow pan or bowl with ice and place it in front of a fan. As the ice melts, the fan will pick up the cold water particles and blow them around the room, creating a cool mist.

Close the Doors of Unused Rooms

If no one is using a room, be sure to close it off to keep the cool air in only occupied areas of the house.

Close your Curtains or Blinds

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It’s natural to hide from the sun when there’s a heatwave, which is why it’s always a good idea to close your curtains. Blackout curtains work best because they will completely prevent the sun from getting in. However, Consumer Reports notes that neutral-toned curtains with white plastic backings are best for reflecting away sunlight, and they can reduce heat gain by up to 33%

Forget About the Stove and Oven

This might be a no-brainer, but using your stove or oven in the summer will only make your home hotter. Avoid these appliances and opt for a BBQ meal. If you have to cook, keep the heat centralized in one area, such as in a slow cooker. Or try to cook in the morning outdoors before it gets too hot so you can keep the heat outside of your home.

Sleep in Breathable Linens

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During the summer months, be sure to swap out your current bed sheets for cotton ones. Cotton sheets have natural fibres that are breathable and lightweight, which will help you stay cool as you sleep. Moisture-wicking sheets also exist for those who tend to sweat a lot at night.

Open Your Windows in the Evenings 

Let out the heat in your home by opening your windows in the evenings. Leaving them open overnight will allow the cooler outside air to flow in and prevent your home from getting stuffy. Just don’t forget to close the windows before the heat starts to rise again in the morning.

Turn On Your Kitchen Exhaust Fan

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Your kitchen exhaust fan sucks out hot, humid air from the room, so this is an easy way to get rid of some heat from your home and save on energy bills. Your bathroom fan works in the same way, as it draws out steam after your shower, so be sure to throw that one on too.

Sleep in the Basement

If you find you can't sleep through the night because your bedroom is too hot, you should sleep in the basement. Heat rises, so if you have a lower or basement level in your home, set up a temporary sleeping area there to enjoy cooler temperatures at night.

Rotate Your Ceiling Fan Counter-Clockwise

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Ceiling fans have two settings: clockwise and counter-clockwise. It should spin counter-clockwise at high speed in the summer to provide a breeze in the home. Conversely, the clockwise setting is for the winter and should be used with a slower speed to help move around heat. 

Urban Living