Keeping Cool Without A/C


It’s amazing how running the A/C runs up the electric bill. With out electric heating or cooling, our monthly bill is just a few dollars over the minnimum – and our house is all electric – stove, water heater – everything. I honestly don’t remember how much it cost us last summer to cool our house, but the heating bill was so high throughout the Winter that it was scary (well, to me anyway). The thought of continuing to pay that much throughout the Summer was depressing, so we’ve been holding off on using the A/C  as long as we can. I had it in my head to wait until June 1st, but the first several days of June were so cool that we only turned it on once – and that was because we didn’t feel that we should make our company suffer the heat with us .

Since then, even though it’s been hot, I’m still holding out because I’ve been out of the house so much it seems like a waste of cool air to have it on.

Instead we try to make strategic use of window and fans to keep the house cool.

When I was a teenager, we lived in the middle of an amish community. Right smack-dab in the middle. That particular community was (still is actually) in a valley. The electric lines end at the mouth of that valley so those of us back in the middle of the valley didn’t have electricity which meant we didn’t have A/C in the summer either. Needless to say, we learned a few tricks to help us survive the heat and humidity of middle Tennesse summers.

Eventually, we put in a solar panel to charge a small battery bank so that we were able to run some fans as well as lights which made life a lot easier.

Here’s the top five things that have helped us deal with the heat so far this summer:

  • Watch your windows. In the morning, the air on the east side of our house heats up and if you stand by an open east-facing window, you can actually feel a hot breeze coming in. so in the morning, we open the west-facing windows and either shut the eastern windows, or wedge a fan on the window sill to blow the hot air away, and draw the still cool breeze through the house from the west-facing windows. We do this in reverse in the afternoon.
  • Keep the stove off. We try to do all our baking in the evening, so that the house has all night to cool down. If you do it in the morning, the whole house will be sweltering all day long. Actually, we try not to bake at all, but it doesn’t always work out.
  • Point a fan at yourself. If you have to remain stationary for very long, whether your sitting down, or say, standing in the kitchen chopping veggies, find a fan. When you’re stationary, and the air is stationary, the warm air can be hard to deal with.
  • Wear a skirt. seriously! I feel sorry for guys in the summer. You’ll be amazed with how much cooler you’ll be in a skirt.
  • Take a cool shower. Or better yet, go swimming before bedtime. This will bring your body temperature way down -and it will stay down for quite awhile so you’ll sleep much better.

Still and all, I did end up turnning the A/C on one evening at bed time. I just couldn’t get comfortable, and Garrett was tossing and turning in his bed as well. Add to that he had a heat rash, and I had a headache – everything’s so much worse when you have a headache, ya know?

Which brings up another point – don’t buy into the myth that once you turn it on, you have to keep it on because it will cost more to re-cool your house. That night it took half an our for the a/c to cycle back off. half an hour of a/c surely costs a lot less than running all day long in the heat of the day – which is what it does on hot days.

Above all, in my opinion, saving money isn’t really worth while if you’re miserable. Personally, I would flip the central air switch in a heart beat if I were truly miserable (that will probably happen well before August ).

What about you? have you ever tried going through the Summer without A/C?

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