Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Little Experiment

We picked the hottest June for our little experiment.  Really.  Our average high temps is 83.3 and our average low is 65.1.  This summer, It seemed like we hit at least 90 nearly every day and had many nights that didn’t dip below 75!  It had made our little no air conditioning experiment very difficult, to say the least.

No Air Conditioning!  Yeah.  For you northern folks, that may not mean much, but for us high humidity, hot summer southern folks not having a/c is nearly unheard of.  Some folks will even call you crazy to your face if you admit to living without a/c.  And you better watch out, or you’ll end up on a church benevolence committee report!  Just kidding, but we do have to make sure folks know we are doing this by choice and not by necessity. 

We decided not to replace our heat pump when it gave out on us last winter.  We use our woodstove to heat in the winter because it is a slightly cheaper and much more comfortable way to heat our home.  Thing is, our heat pump cools our house in the summer.  We decided to go without a/c for the summer to see if we can live without it before we sink thousands of dollars into replacing our system.

Our main reason for trying to do without air conditioning is related to our reluctance to spend money.  We’d like to build a barn and move our driveway, but that costs money.  Add on a new heat pump and something has to give.  We are no longer the go into debt for stuff kind of people.  Still, you’d think a/c would win out over a barn.  The thing is, I love being outside.  I love it when the kids spend time outside.  I like to work in the garden.  I love a good breeze blowing through the house.  I love, Love, LOVE having the windows open.  So, we thought we could do it.  Besides, it’s green and I love green.

And now, this.  It’s been so stinking hot, it feels more like August than June.  I was not prepared for this.  In fact, we were so unprepared that we caved in and borrowed a window a/c unit from my in-laws.  We’ve also learned a lot, very quickly.  So, I thought I’d share a few great ways to beat the heat for those of you who are doing without this “necessity” and for those of you who like to be outside.

Ways to beat the heat.

1.  Take advantage of cool night time temps. 

Open your windows and use fans to pull cool air in.  Close the windows when the outside temps equal the inside temperature.  Don’t open the windows until late in the day, when the outside temps begin to drop or when the inside air would be improved by a bit of a breeze.

Do your outside or any chores that involve heat during the coolest early morning hours.  The old-timers were right on that early bird stuff.  It’s much easier to get things done when you are not sweating.

2.  Put up some curtains.  Sounds crazy, especially to you city folks, but I have never bothered with curtains here in the country.  My neighbors can’t see into my house, so I let the cedar trees act as curtains.  Worked for me until this no a/c thing.  Now, I can’t seem to put up curtains quick enough.  That summer sun can raise the temps in my living room by 10 or 15 degrees if I don’t cover the windows.

3.  Be aware of the heat produced by your appliances.  Cook outside on the grill.  Unplug any unnecessary refrigerators.  Don’t leave the lights, TV, or computer on if you aren’t using them.  If you don’t believe me, sit in front of your computer on a 95 degree day.  Goodness.

4.  Dress for the heat.  You don’t have to go around naked to stay cool, you just need to choose the right fabrics.  Avoid heavy or synthetic materials.  Go for those light, breezy cottons.  Ladies, get that pretty sundress out of the closet and enjoy wearing it even if you are working in the garden!

5.  Siesta.  Plan to spend your hottest afternoon hours not doing much of anything.  Sit by the pool, eat ice cream, read a book on the porch swing.  Let the kids nap on the couch in the basement.  It’s actually quite nice to be too hot to work.  It’s a good excuse to take a long break.

6.  Sounds silly, but break out those old CD’s you loved when you were younger.  A little Dave Matthew’s Band, Aerosmith, or Tom Petty just makes the heat more bearable.  Turn on the oldies station and laugh and dance with the kiddos.  It’s a great way to beat the heat.

7.  Give the kids a cool, wet wash cloth to take to bed with them on steamy nights.  Enjoy a cool shower before heading to bed. 

8.  Drink plenty of water and eat good foods.

Keep your sense of humor and when all else fails, go to the movies, a library or shopping to cool off a bit on the hottest day.  It’s really not so bad.  But then, I have a window a/c unit in my kitchen for the worst days.  We’ll see how this little experiment goes.  If you have any great tips, please leave them in the comments.  Meanwhile, enjoy the summer!


  1. Kuddos to you guys!! I don't think I could do it and it's not really the heat it's the humidity! We keep our a/c off until early summer if we can but once that humidity starts creeping up and the breeze does nothing to help cool it down we turn it on :). Keep us posted on how it's going!!

  2. I love your way of thinking, but I could only handle it while I had to. There were a few nights we took off to Walmart to share their air condition! I love having my windows open and enjoying the breeze but when there isn't one I give up! I wish I had in me your ability but I just don't think we could have survived much longer than we did! I guess if I were home through the day to get things done early in the morning, maybe it would have been a litle more livable! I second with Erica Good Luck to ya! And if you need a place to come cool down come on over! :)

  3. I'm sure it's been a challenge. I keep our air conditioning at 78-79 degrees in the summer and I still am hot. We do like to open our windows when it is cooler outside. With it being so warm you may want to put your chocolate chips in the fridge mine start to get soft around 80 degrees. Don't forget to update us how it went at the end of the summer.


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