I spent most of my formative years in an Amish community. it’s a long story, but basically, when I was 10, my dad decided that the Amish lifestyle was God’s preferred method of gaining citizenship in heaven.
The particular community we moved into was unique in that, not only did we not have electricity, it wasn’t even available back in our valley. The power lines stopped where the dirt road and buggy signs began.
Even if we’d wanted it, there was no way to have air conditioning during the hot, humid Tennessee summers. We lived though (for eight whole years, I might add).
I’ll be honest: I have no desire to ever go back to that lifestyle. I love coming in from the out-of-doors to be blasted by a wave of cold air. But life isn’t perfect, so I imagine there will be a time when our AC unit gives up the ghost and we have to live without it for a few days, or a storm comes and wipes out the electricity for a few days, or any number of things, so I think it’s useful to know how to survive without it. And yes, you can survive! 😉
Ten Things Living Without Air Conditioning Taught Me
1. You really do Adapt. You know how in the winter, when you suddenly have a warm spell and feel like your going to die of heat stroke and it’s only 50º? It’s that way in the summer too, but in reverse. You go outside and it’s 95º or more every day during July, so when you come back into the house where it’s only 80º, it actually feels quite cool.
2. you learn to accept sweat. It’s like when you go outside in the summer to get some exercise. you know you’re going to sweat, so you just deal with it. It’s not the funnest thing in life, but it’s not going to kill you either.
3. You take a cold shower right before bed each night. It may not be the most delightful experience, but it brings your body temperature down enough that you sleep like a baby.
4. You get up early, stay up late, and take a nap during the middle of the day because it’s too hot to do anything else.
5. You take swimming very seriously. Especially if you don’t have the luxury of a nap during the middle of the day. Taking a few minutes to soak in a cold creek gives you the ability to take on the heat relatively comfortably for a few more hours.
6. You learn to conserve your movements to keep your heart rate.body temperature down. When you know you’re going out to work up a sweat, that’s one thing, and you mentally prepare for it, but at all other times, keep that body temp. down!
7. You learn the value of air movement. It doesn’t matter how warm the breeze is, any breeze is better than no breeze, so get those windows open!
8. You learn to value a big front porch. And you prefer one that’s large enough to put furniture on, because it will be your second living room all summer long.
9. Watermelons are your BFF. They’re extra fluid, electrolytes, and a snack all rolled into one. Fortunately, we grew lots of watermelon during that time, or I’m afraid my parents would have gone broke buying them.
10. Water is the single most important thing in your life. The colder the better, but you’ll take it any way you can get it, and you’ll try not to sweat it all out at once.
All those things may not sound very pleasant, and you’re right, they’re not entirely, but you don’t necessarily have to go cold turkey to save money on air conditioning. For instance, we switched from central air, to a window unit in one room of the house (where we use to live) so that we could still cool off, but not waste money cooling parts of the house that weren’t in continuous use, and our bill went from over $200 per month, to just under $100. That’s a pretty awesome savings!
Have you ever lived without air conditioning?