Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Hot, Hot, Hot ...

How is everyone surviving the heat of the summer? I know that in many areas, people are struggling with triple digit temperatures which have gone on for a record number of days. Keeping cool, for some, has become a matter of health ... and not just comfort.

Last summer I wrote a piece that I'd like to share with you again ... it's all about keeping ourselves comfortable in the summer without walking too heavily on the earth. I hope you enjoy it:

Ah summertime ... outdoor activities, sunshine ... and temperatures that sometimes become stifling. It's tempting, as the temperature rises, to make ourselves comfortable by turning on the air conditioner. But wait ... don't touch that dial. Well, at least until you've considered some alternatives.

Where we live, the mornings are usually cool. So we take advantage of the refreshing air by opening all the windows. Within just a few minutes, the temperature of our apartment goes down. We have ceiling fans and they help move the cool air throughout our home. If you don't have ceiling fans, inexpensive oscillating fans work just as well.

As the sun moves around the house, we close the windows and adjust the blinds to block out as much sunlight and heat as possible. Once the sun goes down (along with the temperature), we again open the windows and the cool, night air comes in.

This method has kept our home comfortable without using air conditioning. When the temperatures got close to 90 recently, our apartment stayed nice and cool ... around 77 degrees.

We are also conscious of those sneaky little heat producers ... have you ever touched the top of your computer monitor? And how about light bulbs ... they produce a lot of heat. So, turn off any heat producers when they aren't in use.

For those of you who leave the house early and don't return until late afternoon or evening, these methods still work. Opening the windows in the morning, even for a few minutes will lower the temperature in your house. Leaving the curtains or blinds closed all day will block out a lot of heat. And here's another tip: if you find that your house is still too warm when you get home, put a box fan, or an oscillating fan, next to the window, pointing out. That's right ... turn it so that it blows the hot air from your house, outside. This works amazingly well.

Air conditioning units, even the most efficient ones, use a lot of energy ... much more than ceiling fans or a few, well placed oscillating fans. And my personal belief is that breathing "conditioned" air isn't real healthy ... have you ever noticed how there's a tendency to get congested when the A/C is on?

If, after giving these methods a try, you're still too warm and want to use the A/C, set the thermostat as high as possible ... 78 degrees or warmer.

I hope you'll try these ideas ... and ... "Be Cool, Dude".

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. We use fans and open the windows. We hang the clothes outside and do not use the dryer. We have used the air conditioner for a total of a week this year.

  2. Great tips for staying cool. Putting a pan or dish of water or ice cubes in front of the fan also will lower the temp by a couple of degrees. Enjoy your blog.

  3. Thank you for your comment - made me smile today -- (hug!)

  4. We open the windows in the early morning and in the evenings if it is cool & shut off the a/c. Hope your having a good week.

  5. I keep a few (used) plastic bottles of water in the freezer. Held in lap, under arm or (if lying down) under the neck, they are delightful!

  6. In Singapore, I wore Sarongs in the house. Wrap it under your arms. If you are modest, have a small short sleeved top ready in case you have visitors.

  7. I am happy to report that my air conditioning had a wasp nest growing in it from lack of use. We have only turned it on six times this summer, and for only 4 hours each time. We were trying for zero use, but had a family member visiting, so didn't want to be cruel...

  8. Oh, I forgot...sometimes if it is really hot, we wet a flour sack dish towel with cold water and lay it over our legs or upper body while the fan is blowing our direction. It is amazing how cool (almost cold) you can get with this method.

  9. We live on a mature lot in a subdivision, and we don't have air conditioning. We do the daytime closed and nightime open method, and it works just fine. The only problem we have is if the high is above 85F and the cool is above 65F then at that point the only thing to do is take a cold shower and lay under the fan with as little clothing as you can get away with.

  10. This has got to be the most weirdest summer ever. I live in So. Cal and August it's usually in the 90's near the beach where I live - this August it's been in the 60's and 70's... I am thinking that September is going to be awfully hot....

  11. We are still happily A/C free... Aside from a few days where the afternoons were a bit unbareable (YAY for a dip in my parents pool), we have enjoyed a very cool apartment.

    We have a double way window fan in our bedroom that takes the cooler air in at night, but that we can adjust to sucking the hot air out during the day! It's a wonder. People come into our bedroom and can't believe we don't have air conditionning!

  12. SF, I have just linked this to my latest post on Tomus Arcanum