If you forgo air conditioning to save money or protect the environment, it’s likely that you will be looking for ways to stay cool when the weather heats up. Air conditioning is a luxury not a necessity, and it is possible to get through the summer without it. A word of caution: use your common sense to protect your loved ones from heat stroke. The elderly, young and sickly may not tolerate heat as well as a healthy adult. Here are four tips for staying cool without air conditioning:
Use heavy drapes or blinds to block out sunlight. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, keep windows and doors shut during the day. Open the windows to let cooler air in at night, but make sure you remember to close them again before the sun hits your house. You want to keep the cool air in and the warm air out. Be aware of the sun���s positioning so you know when and where the rays will reach your house. Large potted plants and trees can be situated in front of particularly sunny windows to take some of the brunt of the sunshine. You can also add an awning outside for shade. Install proper insulation in your attic to prevent the heat caused by the sunlight on the roof to invade the house.
Figure out which windows work well to circulate cool air. Have your ceiling fan rotate counter-clockwise and turn it off when you leave the room. Use outward-blowing box or window fans on the upper stories of your house to suck out warm air. Invest in standalone fans of all shapes and sizes. Set up oscillating fans in rooms in which you spend a lot of time. Carry around a squirt or spritz bottle, or maybe even one that comes with a person fan like you used to have at summer camp. Run a fan or vent while showering to minimize humidity.
Drink ample fluids during bouts of hot weather. Stay hydrated, but stick to guzzling cold water. Minimize caffeine and alcohol intake. Find a friend or neighbor with a pool and ask permission to use it. Also, never underestimate the power of a cool or cold shower. Another way to cool down your body is to rinse your head in the sink (sounds ridiculous, but can be effective), or run cold water or ice cubes along your wrists. Sleeping in extreme heat can be horrible, so it can help to place a cool washcloth on the back of your neck — on your forehead or on your lower back. Take a cold shower right before bed.
Heat rises, so hang out in the basement or on the ground floor. Avoid using your oven. Run your exhaust fan while you cook and opt for food that you can cook on the stove or in the microwave. Use the grill outside. An even better option would be to eat cold food that does not require any cooking.
Your washer and dryer are other house heating culprits. If you must do laundry on a scorching day, use cold water when possible and hang your clothes to dry, or wait until after dark. The same goes for dishwashers. Minimize your use of electricity. Your favorite electronics give off heat, so minimize computer and television use. Make the switch from incandescent to fluorescent light bulbs, which do not give off as much heat. Turn the lights off when you leave the room.
When all else fails, spend your days in places that have air conditioning. Try visiting a library, museum or theater.