Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Staying Cool in The Summer Without Air Conditioning

     Because I work for a heating and cooling company, you would think that my first inclination would be sell you a air conditioner to keep you cool and comfortable in the summer. The fact is, there may be many reasons why you may not be entertaining the idea of investing in a new air conditioner right now. That being said, what can you do to try to stay cool if you don't have an A/C or just would prefer not to turn it on?
  When I was growing up and living in northern California, we were doing good to have a 'swamp cooler' in our house and then we would only turn it on when it got to 110 degrees outside. Our house was old, poorly insulated, and had single pane windows. There are still a lot of houses like that in existence.
     Before you crank up the A/C or evaporating cooler, you may want to revisit some techniques that our grandparents used to keep cool. Here are some ideas to consider.
#1: Use windows to your advantage
     If you have windows that can be opened, do so whenever the outside air is cooler then the inside air. Don't just throw them all open. Remember, hot air rises, so create a natural draft by opening a downstairs window, like on the shady side of the house. Then, go upstairs and open a window on the sunny or hot side of the house. You can do the same thing even if you have a single story home. Here in the Boise, Idaho area, when it's cool in the morning I often open a living room window at the front of the house and then open a bathroom window near the back of the house, and that just creates a nice flow of fresh air.
     Once the outside air becomes hotter then the indoor air, then it is time to close and cover the windows before the hot air begins to move into the house. There are also a variety of fans you can use to draw the air to the upstairs, or install attic fans to remove the trapped hot air in your attic. It's nothing for the attic temperature to reach in excess of 200 degrees in the summer. Ceiling fans are also good to use to keep the air circulating. Fans run on electricity, but it is only a  fraction of what air conditioners use.
     Lastly, embrace summer. Enjoy it - don't fight it so hard. You could move any daytime activities to the coolest part of the house for the summer. You could move your sleeping quarters to a screened in porch on hot nights. When you get sticky hot, then soak in cool bath or shower. You could play with the kids in the kiddie pool or just soak your feet in a tub of cold water while you sip a cold refreshing beverage. The heat of summer is sometimes called natures way of telling us to 'slow down' our busy lives and enjoy those 'dog days of summer'. More ideas will blogged later. For more good reading go to my other blogs at For Air Conditioner information see our website at