Each summer, the heat seems to get worse and worse. It affects our family’s happiness, health and general wellbeing. When temperatures climb into the 30s and 40s, it’s often really hard to make your home cooler and more comfortable.
As part of the Western Sydney Heat and Social Housing project, community housing organisations Hume, Evolve and Link Wentworth, along with Penrith and Hawkesbury councils, have produced a range of educational resources in collaboration with social housing tenants.
To try and support vulnerable members of our community in the heat, these resources educate people on cost-effective ways to keep cool, based on lived experiences.
- Video with tips and tricks on how to stay cool in summer.
- Video of leading scientists and community members discussing the issue of rising heat in Western Sydney.
- Fact sheet for the Western Sydney community on how to stay cool, based on tips from our tenants.
- Fact sheet for frontline staff who work with vulnerable community members in Western Sydney.
Keeping your home cool
- Draw blinds and curtains to help keep the heat out. On days where you know it is going to be really hot, close your blinds early before it warms up.
- Close off any rooms that aren’t used often, like spare bedrooms or 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’. This helps to stop the heat coming in underneath the cracks.
- 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 from your air conditioner around your home.
- Use fans when you can, as they are a lot cheaper than running an air conditioner. If you don’t have ceiling fans, use a standing or floor fan. You can even place a bowl of ice in front of a floor fan, so the fanpushes the cold air on to you.
Keeping yourself cool
- Cool your body by using a damp cloth or washer. You can also use a cool neck tube from a camping shop. Using a fan will help your moist skin cool down even more.
- Eat cool foods like salad that don’t create heat in your kitchen when you make them.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and cool drinks.
- Take a cool shower to help lower your body temperature.
- Place a large towel in the freezer and when you go to bed, place it on top of your sheet, on top of yourself.
- Use a cool pack from the freezer. It’s a good idea to keep a couple frozen so you can rotate them.
- Wear loose and cool clothing. This allows air flow around your body and helps keep it cool.
- Go to a cool public space. When it’s not too hot, this might include a nice park with plenty of shade or somewhere with water like a lake or pool. On really hot days, there are free options like spending time at the library or a gallery. Other options include visiting shopping centres and cafes or even visiting the cinema, if you can afford it.
- Take turns visiting friends and having them visit your home. This way only one of you has to run the air conditioner. The bonus is you can still connect with friends instead of being isolated inside your own home on really hot days.
- 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 trip early in the morning or in the evening.
- Contact your housing provider if you would like to make a change to your property.
Thank you to our tenants for providing these excellent tips!