Experts share unusual but effective ways to keep you and your home cool in extreme heat

The things you would not think to try and how they might be the perfect way to keep you cool

houseplants in window
(Image credit: Getty images / Евгения Матвеец)

If you have tried everything, and are still feeling far too warm in the heat, why not think outside of the box and try our unusual ways to keep yourself cool this summer? 

With rising temperatures it can be challenging to carry out the simplest of tasks –when it gets too hot, we tend to feel fatigued, irritated, and uncomfortable and just want to turn to anything that will provide some sort of relief. 

Whether you are finding it hard to sleep in the heat or impossible to cool down the rooms in your house there is always something during extreme heat periods that stops us going about our lives normally. 

Experts share 5 unusual methods for staying cool at home

Below, experts have outlined the most unusual but effective methods they have come across that will be sure to help you manage the soaring temperatures.

1. Cool your body from the inside out

When we think about cooling ourselves down during the hot weather we normally think of how to cool ourselves down externally not internally. However, registered dietitian Lisa Roberts suggests that we have been doing this the wrong way around. 

Instead of focussing on what temperature our AC is set to, we should be thinking about what we put into our bodies. ‘Eating light, cold meals and staying hydrated can help regulate your body temperature during a heatwave,’ Lisa says. ‘Opt for refreshing foods like salads, chilled soups, and fruits with high water contents.’ 

Additionally, drinking plenty of water is also essential as hydration is key in hot weather because we dispel a lot of fluid through sweating. Other cold beverages cool you from the inside out too and adding citrus to your drink like lemon will help refresh you as well. 

Lisa Roberts
Lisa Roberts

Lisa has more than 15 years of experience as a registered dietitian. She has counseled patients in dialysis centers, medical clinics, and WIC offices. She has also received a Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management and has provided consultation for private schools and public school districts.

2. Harness the power of plants

areca palm houseplant in white pot

(Image credit: Alamy)

Most people are unaware of the many functions of plants, especially when it comes to cooling a room down, it may sound unusual but having plants inside your house can lower the overall temperature. 

The process of transpiration in plants releases moisture into the air, thus cooling it naturally, says George Brown, an indoor garden specialist.

The areca palm, available at Fast Growing Trees, is known for its high transpiration rate and can be a great addition to your indoor garden. Additionally, plants like the snake plant and the peace lily can purify the air, making it feel fresher and cooler. 

Another good idea is to position your plants near windows as this can not only provide shade but it can reduce the amount of heat entering your home. 

George Brown
George Brown

George Brown is the CEO of Urban Leafy. He combines a deep love for indoor gardening with a talent for transforming any area into a thriving sanctuary. 

3. Install window films

Large window curtain ideas with dary grey curtains in a bay window with a French door at the center

(Image credit: Mark Bolton Photography)

Window films are often an overlooked tool when it comes to heat management. People are under the impression that they do not work or that they look unsightly. 

But according to Josh Mitchell, an HVAC specialist, this is far from the truth. Window films work by reflecting solar energy and blocking UV rays and they most definitely keep your home cooler says Josh. They also come in different colors so you can choose the one that fits right for your home. These window films, at Amazon, come highly rated.

Josh Mitchell ACLAB
Josh Mitchell

Josh is an HVAC expert and the owner of Air Conditioner Lab and has years of experience tackling the challenge of home cooling. Josh has explored various innovative methods to cool down living spaces during hot weather.

4. Create a DIY cooling bed

Double bed in pale grey bedroom with wooden floor, cream and white bedding and white curtains dressing floor to ceiling windows. A renovated four storey London townhouse, home of Louise Bradley, interior designer.

(Image credit: Future)

Often when it is overly hot outside it is too hot to sleep as well, and we all know the importance of a good night's sleep, as it is what most of us rely on to get us through the day. 

A good tip for keeping your bedroom cool during the extreme heat is to place your bed sheets and pillowcases in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator or freezer for a couple of hours before you plan on going to bed. 

Once chilled, place the sheet and pillowcase over your bed sheet to enjoy a cool and comfortable night's sleep. The cooling sensation will last for a few hours and will help in the primary stages of falling asleep, which are normally the most important.

If you do not like the thought of sleeping on a very cold surface, why not try a cooling mattress topper? A gel-infused memory foam mattress topper, at Wayfair, can be a real lifesaver, especially during a heatwave. The gel works to dissipate heat and regulate body temperature, helping to provide a cooler sleeping surface. 

5. Keep your AC consistent

someone adjusting a wall mounted thermostat

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A great way to ensure that your home is cool throughout the day is to pre-cool the house in the mornings when temperatures are lower. 

Randy Huckstadt, a licensed HVAC contractor and expert at Just Answer, suggests that it is not a good idea to keep changing the AC thermostat when there are extreme temperatures. 

‘Do not turn the AC off and on constantly, for example when you leave the house,’ Randy says. ‘When you turn the AC off or down when you leave the house you are letting everything warm back up – furniture, floors, and walls, and the amount of time it takes to cool everything back down again outweighs it ever being off in the first place.’ 

He also explains that people often think that they are saving money by doing this, however, the energy required to get back to a cool temperature inside your home actually ends up costing more than it would if it was at a consistently low temperature. 

A good approach is to ‘set it and forget it’, decide a daytime temperature and a nighttime temperature, and alternate between the two, otherwise leave the thermostat alone.

Randy Huckstadt

Randy is a licensed HVAC contractor and Just Answer expert. He performs service and warranty services for prestige pool heat pump manufacturers and is an authorized mechanic for Haward Service and Warranty Center.

Which foods reduce body heat?

The best foods for reducing body heat are often the ones with a high water content, such as coconut water, watermelon, or cucumber. When these are consumed they hydrate you and help you feel cool for longer. During the hot weather, it is important that you always include as much nutrient-dense food as you can as fatigue is more likely. 

When we become overheated, we will do anything to get us back on track. Try these tested methods for yourself to ensure that the heat does not get the better of you this summer.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.