It started a few weeks ago, when temperatures were still in the low 80’s.
My bedroom window overlooks not just one air conditioner – not just mine – but four of my neighbors. And one of them, one blessed sensitive soul, found the need to turn on the air conditioner – at night. It was, like, 50 degrees outside. That’s 15 degrees plus a bucket of hamburgers for those of you who use Celsius.
I don’t know how to convert to Celsius, but I’m sure it involves buckets of hamburgers.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to 100-degree temperatures, and I can no longer be indignant and judgy-judgy. I have been guilty of turning on the A/C for brief amounts of time in the last few days.
But it hurts, right? Every time I click that convenient climate lever, all I hear is money draining from my bank account and energy being sucked from the power grid. (As a little back story, this is the first time I’ve had air conditioning in 6 years, so it’s almost new to me.)
Here are some clever ways I’ve found to keep my hand far away from the thermostat, keeping the air conditioning OFF and still maintaining my sanity. (Mostly. Booga booga booga.)
Before we start, I know some of you live in ridiculously hot climates. Or you have health issues that not running the A/C might exacerbate. To you (and to all of you), I say: Do what you NEED to do. Don’t try to sweat it out just because of something you read here. Know what YOU need.
Accept It. It’s Summer.
Can you imagine if we could control every single aspect of our life so that it always remains constant? So that we always remain comfortable? Seriously, imagine that. Imagine the memories a constant environment creates.
Not a single one, right?
Well, here you go. It’s summer. Your house will swelter in the sun. Your face will glisten. You’ll feel a little sluggish and perfectly lazy.
Not once, in all of your life, will you look back with your kids or significant other or friends and say, “Remember that time we spent the summer inside with the air conditioning on?” But you know what you will say?
“Remember that summer when we vowed not to turn on the air conditioning, so we spent it lazing around in our underwear and spraying each other with spray bottles? Remember how good the watermelon tasted, when we were panting from heat? Remember how gross it was when Dad, in his underwear, bent over and we could all see his crack? HAHA!”
If the mere thought of enjoying the heat of summer merely for the sake of its summerness isn’t enough for you, how about this?
A few years ago, researchers postulated that air conditioning (and climate control) could be one contributing factor to weight gain. When we don’t let our bodies regulate our temperature for us (especially in the summer), we’re more likely to overeat.
Think about it. When you’re hot, sweaty, and slightly lethargic, how much do you want to eat that big bowl of spaghetti? Not much.
Let summer be summer. Let summer do to you what it will. Love it. It only happens once a year.
A Bottle of Ice + a Fan = Instant Coolness
This. THIS is what’s helped me keep my sanity the last few days. This is my favorite tip of all.
Freeze a big plastic (sigh) bottle or two of water. Set it in front of your fan. Direct the fan so it’s blowing towards you. You WILL feel a difference.
First, if you doubt that this works, check out this very mathy blog post wherein the tester computed a lot of equations regarding putting a 2-liter bottle of ice in front of his window unit. Like converting to Celsius, I am bad at equations, but I did understand his outcome: Just by doing this one thing, he cooled the temperature in his room by 20 extra degrees.
Now, there’s a difference in power between a wall unit and a regular fan, but don’t think for a second that setting a bottle or two of ice in front of your fan isn’t going to work a good deal. ESPECIALLY, if you direct that flow of icy cold air toward you. In fact, he postulates that you could cool a room by at least 5 degrees by just using a fan and a 2-liter bottle of ice. Not bad.
Also, I thought you guys might be interested in this tidbit:
- The average air conditioning unit uses 3500 watts of power per hour.
- The average fan uses about or less than 100 watts per hour.
Keep Your Peppermint Sun Tea Handy
Every three days, my deck holds a gallon jar that’s full of water, black tea, dried peppermint and spearmint, as well as gorgeous rays of sun.
Icy cold peppermint iced tea. It does wonders for your internal biological psyche.
I brew mine loosely, and then filter it through a really fine sieve. But you can use tea bags if you prefer. It’s definitely easier that way.
(I just love to buy bulk, loose herbs and tea.)
Haven’t ever made sun tea? Here’s how to do it the peppermint way:
- Fill a large, clear glass jar with filtered water.
- Pop in 5-6 bags of tea of your choice (more, if you like stronger tea) and 3-4 bags of peppermint tea.
- Shake it up.
- Put it in the sun.
- Do a little dance.
- Shake it every hour or so.
- Leave it out in the sun for 5-7 hours.
- Bring it back inside, strain, and keep it in the fridge.
- Drink as necessary.
Other sun tea drinkers out there? Is it just me, or do you feel like, with every sip, you’re swallowing the sun a little bit? Talk about ultimate power. YOU ARE A SUN SWALLOWER.
But, more than that even, the peppermint helps you feel cool and keep your cool. Speaking of which.
Spray That Tea On Your Body
Lest I forget to remind you, make yourself some Keep Your Cool Spray. The more I use this stuff, the more I am in love with the way it makes my body, face, and spirit feel.
BUT, you can also use the peppermint sun tea you brewed right up there, as a quick and dirty “cool spray.”
After you’ve made your sun tea, find a sprayer bottle that puts out a mist of sorts, and fill it half with water and half with your tea.
Spray it on at will, whenever you need a little cooling down (and anywhere on your body), especially when the breeze starts blowing a bit. SERIOUS nirvana right there.
Just be careful not to get it on white clothing. It might stain. Tea has a tendency to do that.
But check out the best part: Black tea will not only help soothe a sunburn, but it’ll help repair sun damage. So as you’re spraying, especially if you’re out in the sun, you’re helping mitigate the effects that the sun is having on your skin.
Cool and beautiful. Twofer!
When All Else Fails, Use the Power of Visualization
Your brain is an amazing thing, and just by visualizing icy, cold weather, you can drastically change the perception of how hot you really are.
Really quickly, I want you to imagine this: You look outside, and the snow is falling in a single, wild sheet, building up on the icy ground until it’s the height of your ankles. Your shoes are off, your feet are bare and raw to the temperatures.
You step outside, and feel the first zing of ice shoot through the naked sole of your foot. You place the other foot down and soak in the delicious freeze. It travels up your body, as the snow hits your face in a magnificent blast of cold. Every inch of your body is reacting to the cold. You shiver. You’re freezing now, too.
You feel it, right? You know what it feels like to step on icy cold, to feel the snow creep up your ankles.
If that’s not enough for you, here are a couple of pictures my mother took in the winter that I use to physically get myself into that space. Use them as you will, or find your own “freezing” pictures that’ll get you to a space of comfortable coolness in your brain, which will translate to your body.
Do YOU Have Any Tricky Ways To Keep Cool In the Summer Without the A/C?
How do you keep your cool without losing your sanity in the sweltering heat of the summer?
Wow! I find this article entertaining and catchy to read. I mean, there are tons of blogs with the same subject, but this one is different. Drinking cold drinks are the best and effective remedy for me, there’s no easy other way than this. Those tips are totally incredible alternative when your AC is broken or you just simply want to save money.
I love this post! 😀 We actually put pillows in the freezer and lay on them throughout the day and squirt ourselves with cold water.
I grew up without A/C and try to use it a little as possible (in CA) now. We wet dish towels, lay them on our body, and sit or lay in front of a fan. It’s like a personal swamp cooler!
HAHAHAHAHAHA! BE THE DEER LOL SO FUNNY I LAUGHED MY HEAD OFF!!!
My husband and I live in an older home in South Louisiana. The electricity bills get out of control trying to cool this place. And my husband is 6’1″ 230 lbs of heat producing personal trainer. We shut off the vents in the two bedrooms that we do not use and keep the doors closed so we are not cooling those rooms nor are they affecting the temp on the thermostat. I keep the thermostat around 75 because anything higher is unbearable if you have to walk around. The dogs have ceramic bowls so their water stays cold all day long. I keep a box fan and an oscillating fan on opposite sides of the living room running full blast and facing each other. I bought a small window unit for our bedroom. Keeping the house like I mentioned during the day means we can shut off the ac at night and the house won’t get above 77. At night we shut our bedroom door and sleep with the window unit. Also we have pillows that have a gel coating that stays cool and I have bamboo sheets (yes bamboo) they are fantastic! The sheets are a lower thread count which means the fibers are not as densely packed and breathe better than a comparable cotton count. The sheets also feel heavier so you don’t feel like you are sleeping with nothing. Its great. doing these things saves me $100 a month from March til October (let’s face it there are only two seasons in the south). And in the winter to stay warm without drying us out we use a closed system oil filled radiator to heat the living room and a heated mattress pad to keep warm at night.
Thanks SO much for this post. I live in NY, and even though i’m in the country it still gets 80+ degrees in our house, which has no AC. I’ll definitely be trying all of these tips for beating the hot humid weather!
I live in England, where we are lucky enough not to get summer. Having said that, the second the temperature rises to above 20*C it’s like a national holiday! On the rare occasions it is too hot, I’ve had excellent results with the visualisations. Because I’m not too familiar with lots of snow (England, remember?), I imagine myself standing under a waterfall. This works particularly well on sticky, smelly, overpriced public transport (England). Bliss!
Jordans for Cheap Online
“I expect that the design of the OS will be much more minimal and cleaner with most, if not all, of the skeuomorphism gone from the OS. There will be additional functionality as new APIs are incorporated into the release, but the focus will be on the look and feel of the user experience,” Baker said.
I wish! This would so doable if Oklahoma weather wasn’t 110-120 degrees. Bleh.
Lynn Lee Novak
I love in hot and humid Richmond, Virginia. I think I could handle the heat if it didn’t get to dang wet at the same time. You’d spend the whole summer sticking to your furniture if you didn’t have AC. When we were young, my husband and I lived in a third floor apartment on the corner of a busy city street. No trees overhead, tond of car exhaust and heat from the black asphalt rising-up. It was awful. We’d put two fans blowing straight on us and still couldn’t sleep. After an injured muscle one night, we discovered this trick- rub Bengay all over your naked body (careful of yr sensitive parts) and then lie very still with a fan blowing on you. It cools you off magnificently. Enough to get some sleep. In fact, so well we actually got a little chilly sometimes! Of course- you smell terrible and you can’t have sex with menthol all over your body, but you can at least sleep and as an added bonus it clears your sinuses.
Darlene Webb Castro
I love sleeping with my windows open. There is something special about cool breezes at night, but, I live in the city and there is no way on this earth that I can feel even remotely safe leaving any window even partially open at night.
It’s called a few inches of cold (or iced!) water in a tub, a book and a glass of iced tea. This was my office for the past week when Grand Rapids, MI hit 99 or above somewhere around 5 days straight.
I do my peppermint tea the same, only I cold brew it in the fridge. So then it’s already cold when I need it. 🙂
We have a dark brown house. No a/c. No swamp coolers. We learned to close up the house on 95+ days, including the shades. Hot outside, 10 degrees cooler on the inside. And wet rags in the freezer for 10 minutes before bed is a nice treat for the short people.
And when all else fails, surprise attacks with a squirt bottle while the short ones are trying to sleep but are sweating too hard to get anywhere. 🙂
Perfect post! My favorites to get me through those hot nights during the monsoon here in the remote north west of Australia: a spray bottle next to our bed to be sprayed over head so the water sprinkles down like soft rain .. mm, lovely! And having a dip in a waterhole or taking a shower just before bed and using a big light scarf as a towel and then as a sheet.
Most people in town just jump from their air conditioned homes to their air conditioned cars to their airconditioned offices … thankfully not an option when you live in a tent, ride a bicycle and work in a mobile outdoor playgroup!
I love this post. We have central air now, but I used to hate our window unit. It was so noisy and made the bedroom feel like an ice box, then you’d have to emerge to the sweltering bathroom & kitchen…
I try to use our ac sparingly…I agree, summer isn’t summer without the sweet relief of sun tea and a little sweat 🙂
I wish i could! I live in a small town called Needles in South Eastern California. We can cook on the sidewalk. It gets to be 120+ during the summer months all the way until October..last summer the highest temperature was 136 degrees F. Its a/c or die… The horrid thing is that city wide electricity shuts off constantly. And it’s indescribably impossible for me to sleep because I like it to be cold..
This is actually really useful. I live in the Philippines, SO IT’S ALWAYS SUMMER.
We live without a/c on purpose. It stays around 95 degrees or higher inside our house. With four fans blowing full blast. One thing we do that keeps us cool is to wet a handkerchief and drape it around our neck. We drink lots of water. And take lots of cold showers. We’ve been doing this for years and haven’t gotten heat stroke yet.
I live in the Gobi desert in China. Very few people have air conditioning or proper heating the way we are used to it in North America.
In the summer, everyone has these very light blankets to sleep with that in some way pull he heat from our bodies. Then, there is the straw mat. Quite similar to the grass mats that people buy and use at the beach. Ours are made from a fragrant grass similar scented to Timothy grass. We toss those things on the bed, and using that summer blanket… in temps that are about 40degrees Celsius… keeps you mighty cool.
Not to mention pillows. We found that regular pillows make us so much hotter than anything else out there. So we invested in some straw pillows filled with thes little pellets of something or other and more often than not, I am reaching for long pants and a light sweater while sleeping.
Chinese people also don’t drink or eat foods that are cooler than room temperature in the summer, so only the youth drink cold water or cold beverages. They say that it is a shock tot he body and makes your body temperature go all wacky. I tested that out a few years ago eating like a Canadian would for June and half of July, then as a Chinese person for the rest of July and August. I felt so much more energetic eating like the Chinese, drinking room temperature water and staying away from cold foods and cold beverages.
It was surprising!!!
THe only time I ever use an air conditioner is if a taxi driver has it on, or I am in a store. I find it a waste of money and hurts my skin too much!!!
If you fill a hot water bottle with cold water, it’s wonderful to put on your pillow when you’re going to sleep. (Option: place a bandana or other thin piece of fabric between you and the hot water bottle — that way, your ear doesn’t suction to the it.)
I love these ideas. We hang out in the basement alot on the really hot days and we live close to the beach and a small water park. Keeps us cool as cucumbers and saves tons of money!
Definitely trying the ice in a water bottle/fan combo next time the boyfriend isn;t home, he loves the AC but it gives me a headache
This is a great post! This is my first summer in New York, about 30 miles west of NYC. I never realized how hot it actually gets here and my little apartment does not have AC. I have 2 fans per room – 1 window fan to pull the cool air in, and a oscillating floor fan to push that cool air farther into the room (or point it in our direction). During one hot night, exhausted but too miserable to sleep I soaked my hair and t-shirt with ice cold water. I also had a spray bottle of cold water to spray my neck and feet. The fan hitting the wet hair and shirt certainly helped! And thanks to CB I now know to spray cold water on my feet. 🙂 I’m definitely going to use the ice bottles as well.
Lori D. (Coupons)
Living in South Florida, the a/c is very necessary. Sorry, but when the air is so humid you can practically wring the water out with your hands, and the heat index is 95 degrees or higher, I’m using the a/c. I am not going to sit and sweat and feel physically ill, nor will I subject my kids to heat stroke.
Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic
I was hoping there would be at least an icy cocktail in there … or two …
I totally understand where you’re coming from, but as I read this, all I could do was shake my head and roll my eyes. LOL!! We open our windows twice a year for about 2 weeks each. With humidity coming in around 85%, more or less, and the temps in the mid 90s in the shade, my AC runs 24/7. I love sleeping with my windows open, breathing the fresh air, but summer time and hot flashes demand cooler air. (I actually sleep with a ceiling fan on and a fan beside my bed, plus AC.) I am not a cold natured person, I just hate sticking to myself and wiping sweat. No glistening here!
I live in Phoenix,AZ. A place where it is not possible to live without the air conditioning 6 months of the year. About 20 years ago we reached 126f, that is a LOT of buckets of hamburgers.
Our A/C went out. :O
We survived by placing blocks of ice in roaster pans in front of large fans, took dips in the pool and made sure we swam in the deep end (when it is that hot the shallow part of a pool is like bathwater and the only cool portion is deeper than 5 feet.) We carried,pushed, pulled, and led our dogs into the pool. We opened the fridge and stood there. We wrapped ourselves in wet sheets and stood in front of the fans. I remember sleeping outside on a wet beach towel. It was an adventure that I am glad I was young enough to find it to be an adventure. Even now, when the a/c does go out, as it did last July; I made the best of it. My husband and I shut all the blinds, set up all the fans, turned the ceiling fans on high and had a sleepover on our pull out sofa bed while we awaited the repair man to show up.
I wish this article was relevant to me…unfortunately, the news that it’s summer does not seem to have reached the UK and it has been raining for about a month. 🙁
Sun tea is great but you have to be aware of bacteria growth in the tepid water your tea is soaking in and observe some precautions to avoid becoming ill. Read this before you make any more Sun Tea:
http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/suntea.asp Thanks for the great blog!
cool baths are our life saver 🙂
I feel the need to point out that CSI episode where the guy put frozen water bottles in front of his fan in lue of the air conditioner. The condensation dripped down onto the wiring for the fan, and he was electrocuted to death when he stepped in the water pooled on the floor.
Just saying. Make sure there’s something to soak of the condensation.
Like Helen in Scotland and Kylie in “its winter here” Australia, I’ve got some fodder for your visualisation! Come join me in Vancouver, Canada, where its been raining buckets and anytime the temp cracks 15 deg Celcius, everyone tries to jump on the summer bandwagon by donning their short shorts and bitty tops (and shivering, poor saps). I’m wearing a fleece sweater and wool socks this very moment. Are you feeling cooler yet?
My poor veggie garden…its so stunted because the soil hasn’t heated up properly yet, and there’s not been enough light. And too much rain.
One thing I do like to do when its way too hot though, is find interesting places to hang out where there is air conditioning….its like carpooling, except with AC. Hang out for an evening at the library. Take your laptop and do some email in the lobby at the bank. Go see a movie in a nice chilly theatre. Then go for mojitos in a nice chilly bar. You get the idea 😉
Cheryl Wilson Rushing
I used to live in this basement apartment in Queens. There was air conditioning from the house upstairs but these people NEVER turned the AC on, even in the hottest, most humid weather. I spent many sleepless nights until I learned a little trick: take a bowl of ice water and a washcloth, dip the cloth in the water and place it on your pulse points. Works like a charm.
I avoided reading this from work this week because I’m a mechanical engineer working in sustainable building design, and I spend my entire day trying to convince people not to use air conditioning!! 😛
One thing I will comment on is that the ice bottle trick is unfortunately only really effective in dry climates. It works by using the heat that would otherwise have been heating you, to evaporate some of the water. If you’re in a humid climate, the water doesn’t want to evaporate because the air is already holding enough water (I’m simplifying but you get the gist). In many dry parts of Australia people have ‘evaporative coolers’ which are cooling units based on this exact theory. They are far more energy efficient than air conditioners based on the refrigeration cycle so if you live in a hot, dry climate, they are the way to go. They may go by a different name in your country but I’m sure you’d have the same thing there, so if you’re really dying in the heat but don’t want to shell out for AC, or don’t want to consume that much energy, they would be worth looking into. Or, water/ice and fans is the exact same thing 😀
I will tell you this much, the visualisation thing is true. It is 2degC here in Canberra right now but reading about you guys overheating is warming me right up!
I turn my AC on around the first of May but keep the thermostat set on 80 to 82. My electric co. has a special program that offers a lower rate during peak hours of 2 to 7 if you keep your electricity usage lower during that time. I have taken advantage of this program which allows me to monitor my electricity usage on the company’s website 24 hours a day. I have almost become obcessive about watching what I use. I am very cognizant about keeping lights off, keeping TV’s and other appliances unplugged when not in use and I use fans. If I see my usage is increasing, I turn the thermostat up. I don’t do laundry, cook vacuum or do anything that uses unnecessary electricty during those hours. This has made me much more aware of my electricty usage and has helped me keep my electric bill lower this summer. I have never lived without AC and I don’t want to start. I want to conserve but also be comfortable. Keeping the AC on at a higher setting,, using my fans and watching all my electricity usage is helping me achieve this.
I haven’t made sun tea but I drink regular old unsweet iced tea all day long which also helps keep me cool.
Here in Tampa, the heat is no joke. I have health problems that get worse if the temp goes above 76F. That being said, we also hate the skyrocketing electric bills in the summer. So, after due consideration, we’ve bought a dehumidifier and two more fans. We now have them in every room in the house. Between the dehumidifier and the fans, the temp in the house is 80, and I’m fine. The humidity makes a huge difference; you don’t realize it until you get it out of the house. I will try that ice bottle idea, though. Maybe we can turn off the AC altogether. Although come August, all bets are off.
air circulation alone can actually make a room feel 5 degrees cooler than the sensible dry bulb temperature, aka the temperature you would read on a normal thermometer. i’m pretty sure that’s deg F, it’s a rule of thumb i learned in school.
if you have a ceiling fan make sure it’s going in the right direction to draw the hot air up (reverse direction in the winter to push the hot air back down!) but if not, directing a fan over blocks of ice is genius! 🙂 this is actually a strategy used in some innovative HVAC systems (one example i know is the new bank of america building in NYC): they freeze huge blocks of ice at night when energy is cheap, and in the morning they cool the air in the ventilation system by blowing it over the ice for as long as possible before switching to a more traditional ac system.
My mom grew up in Florida without air conditioning. She says they used to keep buckets of ice water around and put their feet in them when they got too hot. I also learned the cooling power of wet hair when I spent a summer in Israel. My friends there would laugh whenever I walked too fast and didn’t know to stay in the shade. “Slow down!”
Ramy Moudy Jisha
I learned to keep an ice chest with ice and water with me when working outside. I have two bandanas, one in the ice chest, one on the back of my neck, and swap them out regularly. It makes a huge difference. The cold gel wraps would help, too, but I don’t think they can compare to ice water.
I wish I could do something like this! I live in Central Florida, and let me tell you- life without A/C is just something that can’t happen. We’re in the interior of the state (zero sea breeze) sitting in an elevational depression. People die of heatstroke here.That being said, I recently went to France, and no one has A/C in their home there. They have big, shuttered windows and tile floors. They open them in the morning to let the cool air in, and before noon close them. The house insulates, and you don’t notice the lack of A/C. I just wish that would work where I live…
This post couldn’t have come at a better time! We normally keep our thermostat set to 78 in the summer. Yesterday, it creeped up to 85 degrees and the outside part of our AC unit was freezing over. We are reducing our AC use by even more this week! I’m rocking the box fans like I’m living in the dorms all over again. I will freeze up some plastic bottles tonight and see what magic I make!
I’ve spent my whole life without an AC and never really missed it. But when I lived in Toronto a few years ago, I was suddenly made aware of a painful difference that extreme heat and high humidity combined in a large city that can’t cool off at night can make. Very few rental apartments in Toronto have AC. My tiny studio apartment was facing West, and the whole west wall was basically a large window. There was never a chance of a cross-wind, and no relief ever came from the outside at night.
I survived two summers there by filling my bathtub with ice-cold water and leaving the water in throughout the day. Whenever I needed an instant relief, I’d go for a quick dip. And when I wanted to just feel a little more comfortable, I’d bring my work into the bathroom and sit on the floor, using the lid on the toilet as my desk 🙂 The bathtub full of cold water kept the temperature in that tiny room considerably lower than the rest of the apartment.
And at night, I’d soak a beach towel in ice cold water, wring it, and use it as a blanket. I feel cooler just imagining how that heavy, cold fabric felt against my skin…. Sleeping under a wet towel is, by far, the best “discovery I’ve ever made.
I used to do the wet towel thing too, when I was a teenager in SW Louisiana!!! Or I would just wrap my feet in an cold wet towel and cover with a sheet because I still wanted to be covered (crazy I know. lol)
This isn’t so great on the saving water side of things, but — hose your house down in the evening. As the water evaporates it’ll draw the heat out of the walls, which will help lower the temperature inside the house.
I’m really vigilant about opening and closing windows and blinds. I leave my bedroom window open at night. In the summer I always feel backwards; open the blinds and window at night, close them during the day.
CelloMom On Cars
I work in a freezing cold air conditioned office all day, so I welcome the blast of hot air when I leave the building. Between that and cold winters, I embrace the summer heat! I’ve been thinking about making sun tea for days now. I’ve never made it before but it sounds like absolutely the most refreshing thing to drink in the summer!
Becky in AZ
It’s been around 112 degrees lately. I keep wondering if the deer is being grilled or baked. The power of positive thinking fails me when it hits triple digits. Sigh.
Erin Caldwell Robello
I love AC!! I’d set it at 74 and leave it all summer. My husband however doesn’t want to pay the high electric bill. So we don’t run it much. It gets cool enough here at night we can put a box fan in the living room window and one in the kitchen window and it cools off pretty well at night and stays pretty cool until around 5:00pm. We put an (ugly) curtain on out patio door and that helps alot. The sun would beat in all day and we have a canopy over our patio and that helps alot too from the sun shining in the patio door as well. Drink cold liquids. Keep my feet cool. If i cool my feet down i cool down quickly. Light weight, loose clothing. We have ceiling fans. When the kiddos are playing in their little pool i sit and soak my feet. If it’s too hot in the house, i sti on the patio swing under the canopy and that feels better when its hot out than sitting in a hot stuffy house. I’ll try the ice bottle though! If i can just have on cool spot to stick my face in I’ll be happy! Your glass jar of sun tea made me remember a time when i was a kid and we had a pygmy goat. Mom had the big glass jar of sun tea out on the side walk doing its sun tea thing being innocent when our goat runs over and head butts it. shattering it. No more happy sun tea. Now i want tea.
We add ice cubes to a pyrex pan or bowl and put them in front of box fans. Also we open up the house early in the morning to let all the cool air in and close it up when it starts to get hot, then open the house back up when it starts to cool back down in the evening. As you can tell we don’t have AC either but we don’t get alot of hot weather in SW Washington
I live in I guess what would me the middle part of western WA (Oly). I haven’t lived here long and have only lived in apartments. I’m from Louisiana, so imagine my surprise when I discovered there were no air-conditioners. But you’re right in that we don’t get a lot of hot weather up here. But when I worked at walmart, you wouldn’t believe how crazy people would get over the fans when it was hot. lol
You must have been sending out sun tea vibes because ALL I have been able to think about for the past 2 days is sun tea and how my mom used to make it all the time when we were kids and how I need to get on that, pronto.
Personally, I love summer. I’d rather be heating and sweating than freezing to death!
We have a wall unit in our 2 bedroom apartment…its like a hotel a/c but they have run ducts to the back bedroom and the living room. But it doesn’t really do a super job of cooling. We haven’t used it too much yet, but that’s mostly been at my request…I’m sure Hubs is going to rebel against it any day now. When it has been on, we make sure the vent in the middle bedroom is closed and covered (that’s our kayak/outdoor adventure storage room) and we put fans in front of the vents in the other rooms to help circulate what air does come out.
I’m am totally going to have to do the frozen water bottle trick! I always have frozen bottles in the freezer so I’m ready for any long car ride (no a/c in our car) or impromptu fishing trip. Now they have another use!
Can you say watermelon mojitos for those hot humid summer nights? YUM.
Kinda too simple to be a “trick”, but to cool down fast, run cold water over the inside of your wrists. Because your blood is passing by so close to the surface, it will be cooled and circulate that lower temperature around your body. More effective than splashing your face, say.
Yep, and the other one that is even more effective is the femoral artery at the inside top of your legs. Can be a bit awkward at work, but at home in the summer when it’s too hot to bear, I’ll often be lying about with a cold wet washcloth draped over my upper thigh. Give it a go, you’ll be amazed how quickly you feel better 🙂
edit – ok I kept reading and seems I’m not the only rocket scientist out there who knew this one 😉
Ok, I’ll just admit it. I’m a huge wimp and I LOVE my A/C! We live in southern TN and it’s mid-90s and super humid. I hate being hot and sweaty, and I’ll cut corners to save money/energy in other areas so I can run the A/C any time it gets above 80 degrees. Our electric bill only goes up about $25-30 a month running it full time, which I think is totally worth it! We do have a small house though.
My face doesn’t just glisten in summer. I sweat like a horse and can soak through a shirt in 15 minutes (no joke). But I’m going to try the cooling spray for when I go outside!
I’m trying to mentally embrace the hot weather, because like you said, it’s summer! But I really live for fall/winter. I love the cold:) I think about that all summer, and it does help me survive!
Try putting one of those gel ice packs between your pillow and pillowcase. I can’t fall asleep if it’s too hot, but having that cool feeling on my neck at night certainly helps. Having it inside the pillowcase means that you can toss and turn a bit without it falling out of place, too 🙂
Another option is to put a gel ice pack between your legs. I know that sounds kinda weird, and I’m not saying to put it right up against your hoo-ha, but if you’re a side sleeper, putting an ice pack between your thighs helps cool down the blood flowing through your femoral vein and artery, which makes your whole body cooler.
i like to retreat to the library when its absolutely unbearable in my apartment. free air conditioning, and i catch up on my reading!two-fer.
love this post, btw
Thanks Crunchy Betty – I loved this blog… I always seem to be the only one around suffering with the humidity and heat in our Auckland (NZ) summers – not to mention the mosquitoes! – and these hints will be well used at the end of this year. I finally got a heat pump (which doubles as an air conditioner) last summer and it was such a relief , but OMG the power bills ! Before the heat pump came along the boys and I would sit with our feet in a bucket of cold water while watching TV and this really helped. Snakes of fabric covered gel (like you get for eye pads etc) bought at the Brisbane markets cooled in the fridge and used as a scarf was an instant relief too.( I want to make them and sell them here but I haven’t got around to sourcing the gel) A couple of the hotter nights saw us spraying our feet in bed with a lavender spray that we normally use on linen. Going to try your ice and bottle trick next summer and also the iced cucumber drink – that’s new!
i discovered this by accident. when i had the money to juice i was doing a vegetable combo that included cucumbers. i would literally start chilling. thought i was getting sick. when i realized it happened every time i drank the juice with cucumber in it i started researching. cucumber has a natural cooling effect on your body. so mix up some cucumber juice and chill.
That’s why they* say “cool as a cucumber!”
*And by “they” I mean my parents because I don’t know anyone else who says that.
my parents say that too….. good to know i’m not the only one!
Worse, when my mom is checking to see if I have a fever or not my mom says, “Cool as a cukie!” Like cue-key. Yupp.
We just got AC when we replaced our furnace after 20+ years without. I managed without it, though those 95+° days with high humidity were a little rough. But my husband plans to retire next spring, and refused to consider going through a summer in this area without AC, so…
My pre-AC survival tips are:
1. Good fans. Window fans to suck the cooler air in at night, and circulator fans to keep air moving during the day. Currently the outside temp is 97°, I have the AC set to 85°, and I am comfortable with a Vornado moving the air around.
2. Cold foods. Don’t even think about a hot meal. Time for cool salads. And for those times when you must cook…
3. A grill that doubles as an oven. Several years ago we invested in a large Big Green Egg (ceramic smoker/grill/oven). I can do pretty much all of my summer cooking on it. Meals, of course, but also amazing breads (100% whole-grain sourdough made with freshly milled wheat and freshly flaked oats — yum!), baked goods, and even small batches of cookies.
4. Cooldownz — a gel-filled fabric tube that is soaked in water, draped around the neck, and provides evaporative cooling. These also work for hot flashes.
5. Showers. Lots of cool showers.
You guys are lucky you even have a summer to be worrying about, I live in Scotland and I think I’m gonna be in danger of being drowned by the torrential rain on the way home this evening! Perhaps I can direct some envy rays in your direction & they will have a cooling effect :p
We would love some of your rain! I’d take half of it. When they cut down the hay fields near our home, the dust just goes everywhere like a sandstorm and the bugs are overwhelming a bit right now.
Kori- you must live next door! Average temp here in the summer (that goes from May til October!) is about 115!!
One of my fondest memories growing up was my mom always making sun tea in the summer while she worked in the yard. Major green thumb attached to an innovative woman, I always thought. My brain just didn’t wrap around it as I grew up a daddy’s girl, always on the computer in the cool house. But now that I’m older, I’m more like my mother than I ever thought possible. I am going to make sun tea. Right now. Thank you for the reminder. I might even tend the garden with my coconut oil hair treatment going on 🙂
YES! I love doing the hot oil treatments while tending my plants. Or just sitting in the sun reading a book.
I’m freezing water right now! I’ve been trying to avoid using the AC because I know it’s going to cool off at some point tomorrow and I really do prefer the fresh air. Thanks for the great ideas!
Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents
🙂 The foreclosure home we just purchased does not have A/C. I grew up without it, so it’s not a big deal for me. It’s a big deal for my husband though – as he always had it and so he’s used to it.
He did buy us a window unit to use at night because I’m 7 months pregnant and sometimes need relief. I don’t like turning it on though.
So, to battle the heat we installed a Whole House Fan. Already we LOVE IT!!! I turn it on in the morning and it pulls the cool air outside into the house and pushes out the hot air. It’s a miracle…everyone should have one.
And it really cuts down on the energy bill. 🙂
I’m drinking my peppermint sun tea right now! It works wonders.
Love the blog. Thanks for sharing!
Elizabeth Dahl MacGregor
Would it work to use a mason jar full of ice instead of a plastic bottle? Obviously, you’d have to be careful not to overfill the mason jar and have it break in the freezer, but other than that, is there some reason it must be plastic?
I don’t see why that wouldn’t work…and I would think that glass would keep the ice colder for longer than plastic would.
Kristi aka FiberFool
I’m going to have to try the frozen bottle of water! We’ve not been able to open up the house to cool off most nights due to smoke from a wildfire so the temperature in the house has just been climbing with each day. We like to hide in the cooler basement in the dark and watch winter movies – Men with Brooms and Mystery, Alaska are two summer favorites to cool us off mentally.
We keep our unit on Dehumidify. Just having the humidity out of the air is enough to keep it comfortable. Im okay with it being warm.. but warm AND sticky… Ugh!
Ugh……our geo-thermal a/c unit is dead and we can’t afford to replace it! Thanks for the tip on the frozen water bottle in front of the fan. Definitely trying it. On another note, is that your own picture of the sun tea jar above? If so, can you tell me where you purchased that jar & lid (it looks like a gallon jar to me). Been looking all around for big gallon glass jars w/ plastic lids, to no avail. Thanks so much and keep up the awesome blog!!
I don’t agree with you 100% on AC, though people through the ages obviously survived without it. But as a pregnant lady in summer I can tell you that I LOVE air conditioning. Unfortunately…we don’t have it. Not central air anyway. Just a wall unit in the living room that only cools that area – and only when it is running. The bedrooms are hot and muggy no matter what. Leaving the window open at night with fans? Nope, hasn’t made a difference. It is hard enough to sleep when preggo without 80+ degree indoor temperatures.
With forecast temps topping out at 100 this week I am going to give that frozen water trick a try. We are also looking into installing an attic fan since part of the problem may be heat building up throughout the day up there (the temperature jumps right back up as soon as the wall unit is turned off, so it isn’t efficient to use it often). A couple hundred for an attic fan is better than thousands for a central AC unit. So hopefully the frozen water thing is helpful in the meantime. I’ve still got to make it till September before this baby arrives…
I agree with ‘learn your house.’ Open windows wide at night to cool the house down, then close blinds on windows where the sun tracks. Employ cross ventilation. Eat ice cream.
not really “tricky” but Here in phoenix (yeah, today it’s 110 degrees) We have those special curtains that block out light, noise, and sound. it keeps the house significantly cooler. A pool is mandatory. Also, a grill. using the oven heats up the house quick. I learned how to do all of my baking and such just using the grill. another thing that is helpful is line dryers. Running the dryer all day heats up the house quite a bit also. on the days when I bake and do laundry, my house is a sauna! These things will keep your house cooler and yuor power bill down! we spend a whopping 200 dollars a month during the summer months on electricity alone. The winter compensates, though. We don’t have to turn on any heaters!
John Robbins writes about using a wet t-shirt worn underneath your bigger, dryer shirt when indoors on a hot summer day in his book “The New Good Life: Living Better in an Age of Less.” It is a great book full of great tips and hints like that! I plan to try that tip when it heats up here later this summer. (We’ve been lucky in Lexington KY so far this summer!)
You crack me up! I was laughing out loud by the time I got to the deer pic! Thank you! I did learn something and we haven’t turned on ours since it was 105° last Summer! I stand with you and loved this post. 😀
I also hate running the A/C unless I have to. One way we keep cool at night is to sprinkle the bed lightly with powder…talcum powder, baby powder, gold bond…whatever. I sometimes dust it over my body too, and it, combined with a few fans aiming at the bed keep us nice and cool. =)
My biggest tip is to keep air flowing and to learn your house! We don’t have AC at all, and I refuse to buy a window unit. The south side of our house has a window that we put a big box fan in, and we close the blinds on the opposite side where the sun likes to beat down. This, plus a fan in the hallway keeps cool air circulating and we’ve had it below 80 when outside it’s above 100. Also, eat spicy food! It forces you to sweat without raising your body temperature.
No tricks, but yesterday was the first time we put on the air conditioning, and it only cools our room. The only reason we put it on was because of my 20 month old and had her sleep in our room. I don’t want her to fry. I lived in Kanas during the summer while pregnant and we never put theA/C on. I guess when you have a little one the game changes.