Keeping your home cool and comfortable during the summer without blasting the air conditioner may seem impossible. Air conditioners certainly are effective, but rarely are they cheap. The cost varies by locale, but in southern California, for example, AC is responsible for more than half of the typical summertime electric bill, according to a local heating and cooling specialist. Instead, follow these simple tricks for staying cool without the AC and save yourself a few bucks.
10 Ways to Keep Cool Without AC
Put away dense comforters and those made with heavier fabrics, such as satin and silk; ditto for sheets with higher thread counts, which trap heat and moisture and leave you feeling hot and muggy. Choose thin, lightweight sheets and comforters to help you stay cool at night without resorting to the air conditioner. Blankets with minimal or no filling absorb less heat and enable air to pass through, as do sheets made of cotton or a cotton blend, preferably in a light color.
Stoves and dryers in operation can quickly increase the surrounding temperature. You can minimize demand for air conditioning by restricting use of these heat-emitting appliances during the heat of the day. Save cooking and clothes drying until the sun goes down and the outside air is cooler.
Even in the thick of summer, don't be afraid to open the windows. Opening doors and windows might seem counterintuitive when the goal is to keep hot air from entering the house. And while you should keep things closed down during the hotter hours of the day, busting open the windows at night lets cool breezes waft through your home.
Staying cool without using the air conditioner also depends on how well you deflect heat away from your body. The best way to achieve that goal is to wear clothing that repels heat and permits airflow. Avoid tight-fitting clothes and fabrics that attract and trap heat and moisture. Choose loose, light-colored clothing, preferably made of linen or cotton, for indoors and out.
During the hottest portion of the day head out to a bookstore, library, coffee house, or some other air-conditioned facility that welcomes patrons. Hanging out at the pool and joining in the water fun at a park are more good reasons to leave a hot house. Before reaching for the air conditioner, lounge around in a cool place for a few hours every day.