Chill Out: 3 DIY Ways to Keep Cool Without an AC Unit

It’s heat wave season. As the blistering heat scorches much of the country this summer, how do you plan to stay cool? For those without an air conditioning unit, or if your AC needs to be repaired, this question is not so simple to answer. You should call an HVAC professional like Cape Feat Air Conditioning if you live in a very hot locale; but in the meantime, here are three ways you can beat the heat even without a working air conditioner.

Swamp Thing

While most people in the US know it as a “swamp fan” or “Everglades AC unit” because of its traditional use in those regions, the concept of evaporative cooling actually goes back to the ancient Egyptians. When hot dryer air passes over or through water, the air is cooled due to natural evaporation processes. If you have a steady breeze you can use wet sheets or blankets hung over your open doorways and windows to take advantage of this principle. (Natural fibers work best for this.) Another option is to use an electric fan, a pan of water and some cheesecloth. Wet the cheesecloth and position it over the frame of the fan so that it does not touch the blades but is directly in front of the air currents. Leave the pan of water sitting in front of the fan, with the bottom edge of the cheesecloth still in the water. The cheesecloth will wick moisture up out of the pan, keeping it wet. Meanwhile, the fan will blow across the wet cheesecloth creating the evaporative cooling effect.

Ice, Ice, Baby

If you’re feeling the heat but the rest of your family is loving the warm temps you might be wondering how to endure. Here’s an easy personal solution: Ice. During the American Civil War, soldiers wearing wool uniforms used to keep themselves cooler by carrying chunks of ice in the tail pockets of their uniforms. It might not work so well with modern pockets, but how about putting a bucket of ice under your feet or under your chair? You can also munch on ice chips, or place an ice cube on the pulse points at your wrists and neck to cool your blood. Running cold water over your wrists and feet will also help.

Come to Your Window

Managing your windows can keep your house cooler. Open windows let in cool air in the morning and evening, but in the heat of the day an open window is letting in hot air. Pay attention to what outside temperatures are doing, and be sure to close windows and draw the curtains closed when the sun is shining on that window. Drawing the curtains will help stop the radiant heat of sunlight from being trapped inside. Keep open only the windows that create cooler cross-drafts. This may mean needing to open and close different windows several times a day, but it can also mean a difference of as much as 10 degrees between outside and inside temperatures. Keeping safety concerns in mind, leave as many windows as possible open overnight to catch all the cool breezes from the lower night time temperatures.

Some people swear by drinking hot tea in summer, saying it makes them feel like the air it not so warm. Other people freeze their sheets for a cool night’s sleep. Whatever you choose to stay cool this summer, remember to use your common sense. Stay hydrated. Don’t over exert yourself. And if it gets too hot to bear, “get out of the kitchen.” Try going to a public library or shopping mall with working AC, and stay cool.

Comments 1
  1. These are some great tips. I used to not have an AC and these would have been helpful to remember. We live south, and Im not sure we would make it without an AC, but these could help us keep the bill down.

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