No AC? You're Not Alone. Here's How Frugal Redditors Beat the Heat

low angle view Thermometer on blue sky with sun shining


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
French Bulldog sleeping next to a mini electric fan

No AC? No Problem

With summer around the corner, we can finally look forward to relaxing beach days, sipping piña coladas by the pool, and cooling down by the air conditioner. But what if your trusty AC unit decides to stop working just before summer starts, leaving you stranded in the sweltering heat? How do you stay cool without AC?

From using a rice sock as a cooling pack to soaking your feet in cold water, here are 10 clever hacks Redditors suggest trying in order to beat the heat while saving money on your energy bill.

Related: Recipes That Won't Heat Up The Kitchen


1. Stick a Rice Sock in the Freezer

Stuffing a sock with rice and then sticking it in the freezer for a few hours can be a useful way to keep your body from overheating, Redditors say. "I used them as heating pads for years, but just discovered if you stick it in the freezer and drape it over your neck, it really really helps cool you down," writes one user, adding, "You can get the sock damp before freezing and it's even colder. It stays cold for a surprisingly long time."

Related: 10 Cheap but Tasty Summer Cocktails

One sided open window. A hand opens a vinyl plastic window on a blue sky background.
Marina Gordejeva/istockphoto

2. Close All Windows and Block Out as Much Light as Possible

"As soon as the outside temperature is as hot as inside temperature, close every door and window, and block out as much natural light as possible," writes one user, explaining how doing this can help "trap cooler morning air inside" to avoid turning your house into a sauna. "You shouldn't wait for the inside temp to match the outside, you should close up the house while it's nice and cool," writes the user, adding, "Then avoid opening and closing doors."

For more great money-saving tips and lifestyle advice, please sign up for our free newsletters.

English Cocker Spaniel enjoying air flow from fan on floor indoors. Summer heat
Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

3. Don't Forget Your Pooches

Just as humans can overheat and experience symptoms of heat stroke, our furry pals can, too. However, while we have the ability of sweating to cool ourselves down, our four-legged friends don't have that luxury and must resort to panting to try and release heat from their bodies. "Freeze water bottles and let your pets lie on them for cooling," writes one Redditor, adding, "Dogs can [also] be shown how much cooler it is to lie in the bathtub, if they haven't already figured it out." 

You should also be sure your pets always have lots of fresh, cool water available for them to drink throughout the day to prevent dehydration. 

Sydney, Australia - 2022-01-25 At the community public local library. Chairs waiting for readers and bookshelfs full of books. Cronulla Library, NSW
Daria Nipot/istockphoto

4. Seek Refuge at the Library or Movie Theater

Seeking refuge in a public library can help you stay cool without having to spend a dime. "Libraries are a great place to hang out with air conditioning during the day," writes one user, while another adds, "Where I live, [libraries] are officially designated as 'cool zones' for people to go on very hot days." 

Other Redditors suggest heading to the movies if you're willing to spend a bit of money. "Culturally (in the US, at least), movie theaters became the go-to place to hang out on a hot summer day before residential AC was widely available," adds one Redditor. 

Two bare feet Soaking in a stream of pure water that occurs in nature.
Aree Thaisagul/istockphoto

5. Soak Your Feet In Cold Water

"PUT FEET IN COLD WATER and soak them TO COOL DOWN FAST!!!" suggests one Redditor, adding, "Direct a fan at your bare feet when you're at a desk or in a chair! Go to bed with a small fan pointed at your feet." Indeed, since our feet work as conduits for the rest of our bodies by allowing heat to escape through them, we can effectively lower our core temperatures as well. 

Relieved man enjoying the electric fan

6. Arm Yourself With Fans

One Redditor says they were able to beat the heat by building their own "mini AC unit." "I survived by using a system of styrofoam coolers and cheap desk fans to create my own mini AC unit," writes the user, adding, "For the 'coolant' I would buy cheap gallon jugs of water and freeze them. I had about 8 of them, so after one unfroze I swapped it out with another frozen one and would put the thawed out one back in the freezer." 

According to another user, you can leverage basic principles of physics to lower the temperature by using two fans. "When it cools down at night, place a fan in the window blowing out. In a room opposite that, place a fan in the window blowing in. This will help to draw out the hot air from the house while pulling in the cool night air." Genius! 

Opened fridge from the inside.

7. Eat Cold Foods

This one might seem obvious, but consuming cold foods during the summer can help you stay cooler by avoiding the use of hot appliances, Redditors say. "Now is not the time to roast a turkey. You want to avoid turning on as few heating appliances as possible, namely the oven," writes one user, adding, "Eat cold sandwiches, chilled drinks, and desserts, salads, etc. If you must heat something, use the microwave to heat only the food, not your whole house."

Fresh shower behind wet glass window with water drops splashing.
Tero Vesalainen/istockphoto

8. Take Cold Showers and Avoid Lotion

One of the quickest ways to lower your body's temperature is by taking a cold shower before going to bed, Redditors say.

"Cold showers are your friend: take a couple, and stay in there until the water running off your body is no longer hot. If you normally moisturize after showering, don’t, your skin wants to breathe," writes one user. Another adds, "If it is too hot to sleep, the best thing I have found is to hop in a cool shower and slowly turn the temp down until you can't get used to the cold anymore (focus on cooling down your head)." 

Shot of a young woman taking a break from working out to drink water

9. Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate Some More

This one might seem obvious, but staying well hydrated during hot months is vital. Since our bodies lose significant amounts of water through sweat in their effort to keep us cool, it's important to replenish hydration and electrolytes to ensure they can keep running at their best. 

"I always have some [Gatorade] for hot days and anytime I'm sick. My family always had pickles around as a snack, which are a tastier way to get salt electrolytes if you like them," writes one user. "Pickles and pickle brine is definitely a go to hangover remedy as well," adds another.

Colourful hammoc with hands visible

10. Sleep in a Hammock or on the Floor

Sleeping in a hammock can be a refreshing way to stay cool and promote restful sleep, as the suspended position promotes airflow around your body and prevents heat from getting trapped. "Hammocks are amazing. Anything that can allow air to pass beneath you is better than something solid or insulated. Flat surfaces are better than cushioned surfaces," writes one user. 

On the flip side, since hot air travels up, sleeping on lower ground can be another way to stay cool, Redditors say. "The floor is probably the coolest place in the house," writes one user, while another adds, "Can confirm this. My house has what’s basically a short bottom floor but it’s always a bunch cooler down there. Perfect on hot days."