We have survived without a central air conditioning unit in our home for the last 9 years.
In the beginning, during the summer heat, we tried to keep cool by adding in a couple window units. They got to be rather expensive to run, and didn’t help that much. They were the smaller units installed in the biggest rooms in the house. Of course we weren’t going to keep cool.
In our old home, installing central air conditioning wasn’t going to happen. Not on our budget. We had to live without the air conditioning period. Honestly, it wasn’t easy. We had to learn to enjoy the summer heat. We had to learn how to keep cool without air conditioning. Here are some things we learned.
To keep cool, become a morning person, if at all possible.
We are normally night owls. But, in the summer heat, 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. After the sun goes down, it’s far easier to keep cool.
When living without air conditioning, eat cool meals.
We purchased a solar oven to bake things outside. This helps us keep cool by keeping the heat out of the kitchen. We love 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 air conditioning in the car to keep cool.
Especially with quick trips. We tried using that to help keep cool before, but found that once we were cooled by the air conditioning 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.
To keep cool, wrap 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. It did help us keep cool enough to fall asleep.
To keep cool, turn fans IN during the morning, OUT during the afternoon.
You will also want to close the opposite windows. 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.
Learning how to keep cool in the heat of summer without air conditioning isn’t always easy. For the elderly, or those who have experienced heat stroke, it may not work permanently. These tips to keep cool can help you in the event of a power outtage, or during another emergency.
What do YOU do to keep cool when the summer heat is on? Do you use air conditioning or not?
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.