Eco-Living Magazine

Beating the Summer Heat: Simple Ways to Stay Cool Without the A/C

Posted on the 23 May 2011 by Livinggreenor

According to the EPA, heating and cooling make up over half of your home energy use.  By taking proper steps to cool your house without the use of your air conditioner, you’ll not only save money but help the planet, too.

Beating the Summer Heat: Simple Ways to Stay Cool Without the A/CUse a Ceiling Fan

Be sure to set ceiling fans to run counter clockwise, to circulate the air.  Some newer fans have a switch so you can toggle between the direction they rotate, you just need to balance on a ladder to make the switch.

Don’t Cook Hot Food Inside

Take advantage of a grill to barbecue or grill your vegetables and save on heating up your kitchen (and using electricity).

Plant a Tree

Trees are a great, natural, way to bring shade and keep your house cool.  Plant a deciduous tree near the south, east and west-facing windows to shade your home from the summer sun.  In winter, the leaves will fall to let valuable sunlight in and give you a little additional heat.

Close the Blinds

By keeping sunlight out of your house during the day you keep it nice and cool inside.  Look at your house like a greenhouse, when the sun’s heat gets trapped inside it heats things up.  The goal is to block that heat from getting inside in the first place.  If your blinds or curtains are thin or still allow sunlight to penetrate while closed, you may want to supplement with ones that are thicker.

Monitor Electricity Usage

Many electronic appliances such as televisions, computers, etc. still draw power and emit heat even when they are not in use.  Try unplugging them or use a power strip to switch them off when not in use.  Also be sure you’re using compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) as they use one-fifth the amount of energy and produce less heat than their incandescent counterparts.

Beating the Summer Heat: Simple Ways to Stay Cool Without the A/C
Line Dry Clothing

Hang your clothes to dry outside and eliminate the need to pump warm air into your dryer and house.  You’ll extend the life of your clothing, too.  If it’s raining yet muggy, you can still air dry your clothes inside, just hang them from doorways or use a drying rack.

Try a Table Fan

For a quick, DIY space cooler, place a table fan in front of a bowl of ice water or hang wet fabric in front of an open window to cool down the air.

Head to the Beach!

If all else fails, do what we do and head to the beach or park for the day.  In Portland, we worship every day of sun we get so any chance we can get out and appreciate the fresh air, we do.  Pack a picnic lunch and get out of the house during the hottest time of day – even if it’s just to your backyard!

What tips do you have for keeping cool without using the air conditioning?

{image credits: ceiling fan, clothes line}

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