>We installed central air conditioning when we bought our home many years ago. Health was one reason: Amigo had asthma when he was young, and humid heat would make him miserable. We’d cooled the tiny duplex we called home with a window unit and a series of fans. Finally having central air was a huge relief.
Air conditioning, centralized or a window unit, isn’t always necessary. Frankly, when the weather is less extreme, I’m happy to open up the house and let the breezes keep us comfortable. Our den is usually the coolest room in the house. It’s small, it has two windows across from each other, and it has a ceiling fan, too. The windows and fan keep the air moving just right, making the den couch the perfect place for a summer nap.
But I wasn’t talking about napping. I was thinking about cooling, keeping comfortable in summer’s heat.
Mother Nature Network featured 8 Ways to Stay Cool without A/C. Without going over all eight (you can follow the link yourself), I’ll choose my favorites.
–Stay hydrated. Absolutely. Water, water, everywhere. Drink up, folks. I just put a pitcher of fruit punch in the refrigerator in case we need an alternative. Lemonade, iced tea, all are good.
–Avoid using the oven. Right on! I’ve cooked on the grill, used the microwave, and the few times I used the oven, I did not preheat and made a point of turning it off immediately. I’m lucky to have a small kitchen, and the heat from the oven does not spread to the rest of the house. And those cookies I’ve been craving will just have to wait until tonight; it’s not worth it to heat up the oven midday.
–Add to the above: avoid heat-creating appliances during the hottest part of the day. Laundry can wait until evening or get done early in the morning. Seriously. There’s not rush.
–Close the curtains. Blinds, curtains, window coverings of any kind can block the sun’s heat and prevent the room from overheating in the first place. If you’re using the A/C, this simple step helps keep the cool air from reheating, overworking the air conditioning.
If you’re sweating like crazy and really, really need to air condition your living space, which is the most frugal choice: window units or central air? Leah Ingram discusses this very issue on her Suddenly Frugal blog. The simple answer: there is no simple answer. It depends on many variables. Leah explains it well; check her out.
So readers, stay cool, drink lots of liquids, and blog from the shade or an air-conditioned coffee shop. That coffee is good over ice, too. Works for me, and keeps me cool!