Written by Susan Lucock, Link Wentworth’s Resilience Committee
When temperatures climb into the 30s and 40s, it can be hard to make your home cooler and more comfortable. Here are some cheap ways to keep cool this summer, based on advice from community housing residents involved in the Heat and Social Housing Project.
The project was coordinated by Link Wentworth, with partner organisations including Hume Housing, Evolve Housing, Hawkesbury City Council, Penrith City Council and Western Sydney University.
Don’t forget – Contact your Housing Manger/CSO if you would like to make a change to your property.
Tips from tenants
1. Keep yourself cool
• Cool your body using a damp towel. You can also use a cool pack, or a cool neck tube from a camping shop.
• Place a large towel in the freezer and place it over your bedsheet when you sleep.
• Take a cool shower to help lower your body temperature.
• Wear loose and cool clothing.
• Place a bowl of ice in front of a floor fan, so the fan pushes the cold air onto you.
• Eat cool foods like salad that don’t create heat in your kitchen and drink plenty of water and cool drinks.
• On really hot days, spend time at an air-conditioned shopping centre, library, gallery or even the cinema, if you can afford it.
• Take turns visiting friends and having them visit your home to share air conditioner time and socialise.
2. Keep your home cool
• Close blinds and curtains to help keep the heat out and try to do it before it warms up.
• Close off any rooms that aren’t used often, like the bathroom.
• Cover the outside of your windows to keep the heat out. A simple and temporary option is to put shadecloth over windows, particularly ones that get the most sun.
• Seal front and back doors with a ‘door sausage’ to stop the heat coming in.
• Turn off any unused electrical appliances. Things like TVs and lights can create heat when the power is on.
• Clean out your air conditioner filter so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Set the temperature to around 24 degrees. Fans can also be used to help spread the cool air.
Some medications can increase the risk of heat-related illness or be affected by high heat. Most medications need to be stored below 25 degrees or in the fridge if indicated. Talk to your doctor about the correct use and storage of your medications during hot weather.
Visit Health NSW’s website to read more about the health impacts of heat or Google ‘Beat the heat’.
4. Look out for others
Some groups of people, including older people, socially disconnected people and others have fewer choices when emergencies unfold. People with disability are particularly affected as well. Emergency planning for people with disabilities matters.
5. Get ready and plan for yourself
During periods of really high heat, consider planning your day around the hottest times. This may include things like exercising or doing the weekly shopping early in the morning or in the evening.
Plan now for any needs you might require. There are many organisations like Meals on wheels, Red Cross Telefriend, and even our local councils. They have much information and resources to assist you.
Visit our Heat and Social Housing Project campaign page for more information about the project and more free resources.
This article originally appeared in the December edition of the Link Wentworth newsletter.