Beat the heat: how to survive without air conditioning

Tennessee and many other areas are going through a massive heat wave right now. Some people have to deal with this heat without air conditioning. Here's a guide to getting through the heat wave without air conditioning.

  • Make a swamp cooler.  Blow a fan over a pan of ice. Seriously, it's just that easy, and it makes a major difference in the temp. Change the ice out when it melts.
  • Fans, fans everywhere. When my air conditioning decided to break during a Tennessee heat wave, I went out and bought a crapload of fans. I made swamp coolers out of many of them, then I used the others to blow the cooled air around the house. I turned all my ceiling fans on as well- make sure they are on the "summer" setting, blowing downward.
  • Windows closed during the day, open at night. Try to get them closed before the sun comes up and starts to heat up the air outside.
  • Close your curtains during the day. You want to try to block as much of the sun out as possible. It heats your house up to have the sun shining in.
  • Stay on the lowest level of your home. Heat rises, so it stands to reason that you should stay on the lowest level of your home. If you have a basement, it's the coolest place to be.
  • Sleep nekkid. Well, if you *can*, anyway. Spray the sheets so they are slightly damp before you lay down and get a wet washcloth for your forehead. Then turn on the fan and get some sleep.
  • Take a tepid bath. Not cold, not hot. Tepid.
  • Make sure you and your pets have plenty of water. You're gonna lose a lot of water, sweating so much, so make sure you are properly hydrated.
  • Stand and stare in your refrigerator. Okay, not the best idea for long-term, but if you just can't take it, have a few cool moments with your refrigerator or freezer.
  • Don't use "hot" appliances. Think about it- your stove, oven, dishwasher, and dryer all heat up your house. This is great in the fall when you're trying to put off turning the heat on for another couple of days, but it's not a good idea in the summer when it's miserably hot. Wait until darkness falls if you need to use one of those appliances. But washing your dishes by hand might actually cool you down a bit, so consider that.
  • Popsicles are your friends! Stock up on 'em.
  • If all else fails, go somewhere with air conditioning. Like your mom's house, or the mall, or the library. 

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jgodsey on Aug 06, 2007:

i actually HAVE a/c's I just can't afford to run them.  So i do all of the above, and run the a/cs only on days above 90º, and then only in the early a/m with the apt closed up tight. when the house gets down to a reasonable temp, I shut them off. (approx 2-3 hours)  then i don't have to run them until the next time it threatens to get overly warm.   but keeping the shades down and windows closed keeps the temperature from fluctuating wildly.

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