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Staying cool without breaking the bank

Jul 10, 2024, 5:43 PM | Updated: Jul 11, 2024, 6:29 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Nobody wants to go without air conditioning during Utah’s July heat wave.

But if that’s where you find yourself this week, how do you stay cool without it costing you an arm and a leg?

With the help of the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, KSL TV shares a list of 10 things you can do to keep cool on the cheap when an air conditioner is not available.

The first two things to do

The first thing to do is stay out of the sun, according to the UDHSS, by either going indoors or finding some shade.

The second item on the list is staying hydrated.

“Staying out of direct heat from the sun will help you the most, second to that is keeping yourself hydrated because that will help the body regulate itself,” said Joe Dougherty, a spokesperson with the UDHSS.

Items 3, 4 and 5

  • Take a cold shower.
  • Use cold washcloths to put on your head or wrists.
  • Use a fan in the house to circulate the air around.

“What I do with my kids sometimes is when they’re too hot at night, they get a cold damp cloth that they keep with them, but they also have a fan in their room, they’ll put the cloth on their forehead, it lets the fan help evaporate that helps cool them down as well,” Dougherty said.

What to do next

The next three items on the list are all about how you sleep.

For a nap, try snoozing during the hottest part of the day. Then at night, Dougherty recommends sleeping in loose, breathable clothes, and in the basement if you can, which typically is the coolest part of the house.

“The lower you can go in your home, if you have a basement, sometimes it can be five to 10 degrees cooler than other parts of your house,” Dougherty said.

Last items on the list

The final two will depend on your circumstances.

  • Cook in the morning or with a slow cooker, or outside if possible.
  • See if you qualify for state assistance to pay your energy bills.

“For people who have a lower income, there may be assistance through some federal programs to help you with power costs during extreme heat or extreme cold, called Home Energy Assistance programs,” Dougherty said.

To see if you qualify for help from the state, click here.

You probably can’t do them all, but state health leaders recommend you try a few. The more you do, the cooler you could be.

If you’re doing all of that, and you just need a break. You can always stop at any library or senior center in Salt Lake County. They’re all listed as cooling centers during the summer where you can pop in to cool down with both water and air conditioning.

On Wednesday, Salt Lake City hit 100 degrees as the heat began to settle into Utah. Salt Lake County also announced cool zones were open and available as another option to beat the heat.

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Staying cool without breaking the bank