Four high-tech ways to beat the heat this summer

Tori Floyd

With half of Canada being caught in the grips of a heat wave this past week, many of us are on the hunt for ways to keep cool. And even when the heat breaks for a couple of days, I have some bad news for you: it’s only July. We’re not out of the woods yet.

If you’re one of those people who thrives in this heat and are enjoying baking in feels-like-40-degrees temperatures, this article isn’t for you. But if you’re like me, and are desperate for some relief, here are some ways technology can rescue you from the miserable, sweaty torture:

1. Regulate your home cooling system

During this time of year, the power grids in major metropolitan areas have to deal with the heavy load of running thousands of air conditioning units. This can result in overworking the system, forcing rolling blackouts, and then even though you have that great AC, you’re forced to swelter. You can do your part to minimize your impact on the power system by digitally managing the temperature in your home, helping it run as efficiently as possible. The Nest thermostat lets you program your home’s heating and cooling systems through your phone, allowing you to only use the amount of energy you require. You can set your Nest to a warmer temperature when you’re out of the house, and on your way home, use your smart phone to drop the temperature and have it be perfectly comfortable when you walk in the door. As an added bonus, you’ll save some money on your energy bill, too.

2. Keep your bed extra-cool

Nothing is worse than trying to sleep in the midst of a heat wave. If your bed isn’t a source of rest and relaxation in summer months, you can try cooling pillows and cooling bed sheets. Check out this cooling pillow from Hammacher Schlemmer, which uses a fabric the company says was developed by NASA in order to provide a cool surface for astronauts to sleep on. The pillow’s shell absorbs excess heat and moves it away from your head and neck. You can pair it with a temperature-regulating sheet set, which includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet and two pillow cases, that use the same material as the pillow shell to draw heat away from the surface and away from your body.

3. Use a fan that doesn’t buffet the air

Most fans are great, at first, but come with a few problems: the blades tend to work pretty inefficiently at best, and when they do work, it isn’t a nice steady stream of air. Vacuum maker Dyson solved those problems in 2009 with its ‘bladeless’ fan. The name is actually a misnomer, as there are blades, they’re just hidden away in the base. The air vents through a slot in a plastic circle, with edges tailored to allow the air to pass over it efficiently, like with a plane wing. The result is a fan that gives a stronger blast of wind, is easy to clean, and won’t put kids with tiny fingers at risk of having them caught in the blades.

4. Keep your cold beverages close at hand

Working at your desk, whether at home or the office, you’ll likely hit that point when you’re craving a cold beverage, and just can’t bring yourself to walk all the way to the fridge. You can keep a drink beside you and close by with this thermoelectric USB fridge from Think Geek. The mini-fridge fits one standard 355mL can, and plugs into your computer via USB. Bonus: when this hot weather passes and we’re back to the depths of winter, you can use it to keep hot beverages hot, too.

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