We have survived without a central A/C unit in our home for the last 9 years.
Of course, in the beginning, we tried to keep cool by adding in a couple window units, but they got to be rather expensive to run. And, didn’t really help all that much, to be fully honest. To be fair, they were the smaller units and we had them in the biggest rooms in the house. Of course it wasn’t going to keep us super cool. So, we learned to live without the A/C at all. Here are some of the ways we keep cool without air conditioning.
Become a morning person, if at all possible
We are normally night owls. But, in the heat of summer, it’s far easier to get morning chores and stuff done around the yard and house when it’s still cool in the morning. So, we strive for a 5 AM wakeup and get as much done as possible before the heat of the day sets in. Alternately, you COULD do things at night, after the sun goes down.
Eat cool meals
We just got a solar oven this year to bake things outside, keeping the heat out of the kitchen, but we have learned to eat cool meals. Cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, salads, cheese and crackers with fruit and raw veggies, quesidillas, and even tacos are simple and quick to cook. Grilling burgers, pizza, and even fish also helps round out the summer menu with the heat outside.
Don’t use the A/C in the car
Especially with quick trips. We tried using that to help cool off before, but found that once we were cooled by the A/C in the van, then it seemed even hotter in the house afterwards. So, using the old “2/80” air conditioning (2 windows down, 80 miles an hour) helped us stay adjusted to the heat.
Keep a cool, moist cloth around your neck
This helps, especially at night. I would grab a couple of washcloths and soak them in cool water and wring most of it out. I would make sure they were still kinda wet, though. The cooling cloth around our necks helped everyone to relax and sleep better. You could also add a bit of lavender oil to the cloth to help cool and relax, too. Sometimes, we would also add a cool cloth to our stomachs. That was when it was really hot and humid out. But, it helped.
Turn fans IN during the morning, OUT during the afternoon
This will blow the cool air in during the morning, and suck the hotter air out of the house during the afternoon. At night, we will turn them to blow back in on us. The best fans are the ones that you can adjust to “lift” the cooler air from the floor and blow it back up, like a “garage” fan.
Use blinds and heavy curtains to keep the light out
During the heat of the summer, we go into “vampire” mode, where we try and keep as much light out as possible. We have also taped aluminum foil onto the windows to help reflect the light too. Keeping the blinds closed on the west/south facing windows will keep the sun light (and heat) to a minimum.