We gotta be honest here at #TexasCool. There’s nothing cool about doing yardwork during a blazing hot Lone Star State summer. Not when temperatures routinely push 100 degrees; in fact, there were 23 days in Dallas–Fort Worth last summer when the thermometer topped the century mark.
But the grass, the shrubs, the trees, and, hopefully, the garden continue to grow. And unless you’ve got the friendliest homeowners association ever, you’ll have to tackle the work of keeping everything mowed, trimmed, weeded, etc., even when it’s steamy hot outdoors.
That’s why, as part of #TexasCool, Choose Energy® has curated some of the best ways – including the best way – to keep cool while the yardwork gets done.
Make your own shade
While you probably purchased a shade canopy for other reasons – to relax outside or put up for a party, etc. – it can come in handy for some types of yardwork. If you’re weeding the garden, trimming the shrubs or otherwise working in one area for any length of time, put it up. You can move it as you move to a new spot.
Part 2 of the shade quest is to know which parts of your yard (if any) get shade when and to work in those parts then.
That doesn’t mean take a bottle of water out with you and drink it while you work. It also doesn’t mean drinking a bottle of water just before you go out to work (along with the bottle you take out to drink while you work).
It means drinking plenty of water days before you go out to work, and it means doing that other stuff the day of as well.
Speaking of water, setting up a mist cooling station in the yard is a great idea. Turning a hose on yourself works, too. Or even using a spray bottle.
Everything’s not black or white
Wearing the right clothing is essential, and it’s also controversial. Conventional wisdom says white reflects heat and is the best color to wear when working outside. That’s true to a point.
Some point to physics and argue that it proves that white clothing, while reflecting sunlight, also reflects the heat produced by the body back on the body. Similarly, black clothing absorbs heat from sunlight, but it also absorbs heat from the body. If there’s a breeze, the wind grabs that heat and, through convection, cools you.
One other factor: White clothing offers the least protection for the sun’s dangerous UV rays.
What do we think? We’d go with a light blue and get the best of both worlds.
What everyone agrees on is that loose clothing made of breathable materials is best. Hats can help, too, blocking the direct sun.
Speaking of sunlight and UV rays, sunscreen might not be such a great option. Some types of sunscreen can block the production of sweat – the body’s natural cooling system.
But that’s not to say you shouldn’t apply a different substance: essential oils. We recommend peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, or lavender to keep a cool (and sweeter-smelling) demeanor while you work.
Take the cool with you
Cooling towels are pretty cheap and pretty cool (in the hip sense). Just soak them in water and they’ll keep their cool up to four hours. Some say they’ll drop the heat by up to 30 degrees. Your mileage may vary.
The same concept applies to bandanas and headbands.
Don’t want to open that wallet? You can make your own – without all the fancy science – with an ice bucket.
Give yourself a break
Doing the yardwork isn’t a race. Take breaks to cool off and rest. Nobody’s holding your nose to the lawnmower.
In all seriousness, know the warning signs of heat stroke (which are definitely triggers that you need to cool down):
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Red, hot and dry skin – lack of sweating despite the heat
- Throbbing headache
- Cramps or muscle weakness
- Rapid but shallow breathing
But here’s the best way to stay cool while the yard work gets done
Make someone else do it. Like your kids. Or someone you hire. But don’t be totally heartless: Urge that person to stay hydrated, take breaks, etc. The reality is that you can only stay so cool when you’re working in the yard. But you can stay really #TexasCool watching someone else do it.
Do you like money? Check out our #TexasCool contest to win $300 to help pay your electricity bills this summer.