While living in a place that rarely has a cloudy day is alluring, many Los Angelenos can agree that getting through July to the end of September without going crazy from the heat can seem impossible. Unbearable August, the city’s hottest month, averages a high of 84 and a low of 66. For those who have moved here from cooler climates, August can make us feel sweatier than Napoleon Dynamite after he practices his dance moves. While the temptation to run constant AC may feel impossible to overcome, here are a few ways to beat the heat that will reduce the strain on the environment and your wallet.
1. Use a Timer
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the heat wins out and you have to run your air conditioner. If you are someone who needs a cool room to fall asleep at night, it can feel like a battle between a good night’s sleep and leaving your AC on for hours. There is a solution; use a timer! Just as you would for holiday lights or decor, you can set an easy schedule on this mechanism that plugs into the outlet. This way you can have it turn on periodically throughout the night to keep you cool or have it turn off after you would be asleep. You can buy one for less than $10 and leave the sweaty and sleepless nights in the past.
2. Block it Out
Shade, shade, shade - whether natural or manufactured. With longer days and increased heat, Los Angeles apartments can start to feel like a terrarium in summer. Blackout curtains are a necessary investment that will make a great impact for minimal effort in your home. According to howstuffworks.com, blackout curtains can cut the thermal energy passed between windows by 25%. You can usually find deals and take them with you when you move somewhere new. Another option is the natural shade of a tree canopy. Griffith Park has plenty of good spots to hang a hammock, or you can use the heat as an excuse to get out of town and into the cooler air of Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear.
3. Get Chilly
There is nothing that hits quite like the classic wet washcloth on your forehead or around your neck on a hot summer day. Frogg Togg’s has taken this to the next level with their Chilly Pad® Cooling Towel. Whilst it feels dry, these towels are made of hyper-evaporative material that hold 8 times their weight and slowly evaporate, keeping you cool for hours. They are machine washable, can be reused for years, and only cost $15. Use at home or easily pack for on the go adventures.
4. Escape to the Beach
Let’s face it, most of us don't get to the beach nearly enough for how close we live to it. While you may be hard pressed to find a local that doesn’t love the combo of ocean and sand, busy schedules can often rule a beach day out, but high temperatures are the perfect excuse to finally make time and cool off by the coast. Temperatures in Santa Monica or Malibu can often be more than ten degrees cooler than the valley or downtown LA. While we are bordered by a desert on one side, we have to use the natural resources to our west to combat the unrelenting sun. Hey, there is worse life advice than “go to the beach.” If you live far from the coast, emissions to get there may be more than those produced by running your AC, so this shouldn’t be your “go-to” way of beating the heat. Make sure to leave the beach cleaner than when you first arrived (pick up litter) and always carpool with a friend when possible.
5. Post Up Poolside
Not a stan of sand? If your apartment complex or home doesn’t have a pool, there are plenty of public pools to cool off at throughout the city. Bonus, if you are going to one in your local neighborhood you may even be able to walk and save even more emissions. Plus, by the time you get to the pool you will be thoroughly ready to jump in. Los Angeles public pools are only $1 for kids up to the age of 17, $4 for adults 18-49, and $1 for adults aged 50 and older. Use the map on laparks.org to find the facilities closest to you!
6. Support a Local Coffee Shop
Most businesses are equipped with AC that they will be running around the clock to keep their employees and patrons cool and comfortable. As they will be doing this regardless, you might as well give yourself the excuse to grab a book, your laptop, or a friend, and take advantage of the cool air. This is essentially the “carpooling” of AC as customers share the air instead of each individually running their AC at home. It’s an added bonus that you get to treat yourself and support a local business. If the coffee shop does not offer “for here” cups (as many sadly stopped this at the onset of Covid), remember to bring your own reusable.