Not everyone has — or even wants — air conditioning.
I didn’t have air conditioning when I grew up. Sure, it was available, but my parents decided it was too expensive. When I grew up and got a place of my own, I maintained down the no air conditioning path for the same reason.
Besides – my parents taught me how to keep a house cool on hot summer days without air conditioning. Sure, I occasionally cheat and go to the movies, spend time visiting friends, and spend more time than I should getting groceries, but I’ve been able to cool my house off and keep my summer energy consumption low.
Your reasons for going without air conditioning may be different than mine. But if you don’t have air conditioning in your apartment or house, there are five great ways you may not have thought of to beat the heat without air conditioning.
Ice is nice. If you’re going to be in one place for a little while (sleeping, sitting, in the kitchen, etc.), you can make an impromptu air conditioning unit. Place an enclosed block of ice in front of a fan. The breeze from the fan will pass over the ice, bringing its coolness to you. If your ice isn’t enclosed, however, the breeze may also bring moisture to you. Putting your ice in plastic containers or bags will solve that problem as long as the lids are on the containers and the bags are closed. While the coolness lasts for a finite period and only cools the air for the first couple yards, ice is renewable and cheap.
Lighten up. Dark colors attract and absorb heat, while light colors repel it. As such, it’s only logical to switch your window dressings and bed linens to lighter colors in the summer. Ditto with slip covers for your couches and chairs, if you use them. Passive solar heat is great in the winter. In the summer? Not so much. Light colors are a great way to keep cool without air conditioning.
Drink warm fluids. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? After all, doesn’t a frosty mug of ice cold cola or adult beverage go down really well on a scorching hot day? Sure – but it also creates a contrast between the fluid going in and the heat baking the outside. Warm fluids don’t. Warm fluids actually act as better air conditioning substitutes.
Assist osmosis. Osmosis is the migration of stuff from a high concentration to a low concentration. You can use this scientific principle – and speed it up – to beat the heat without air conditioning. There are probably hot spots in your home (like in rooms with south-facing windows). There are probably also cooler spots (like in the basement). Using fans, you can effectively expel the hot air from your home and pump the cooler air in. Since heat rises, it’s most effective to blow the hot air out your window. And, since cool air tends to sink, fans are needed to move it upward and through your abode. It’s not air conditioning – it’s air manipulation.
You’re all wet. You can quickly and cheaply beat the heat this summer by occasionally dampening your ears, hands and feet with cool water or an ice cube. There are tons of capillaries, arteries and veins in those three body parts, all carrying blood through out your body. When you cool your hands, feet and ears, it cools the blood. This cooler blood travels through your body, cooling you down. And, since evaporation is a cooling process, you get an additional cooling effect.
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