Mickey on Staying Cool

Posted on September 2, 2008 by Allie


Mickey here, filling in for our intrepid, vacationing proponent of everything green, Allie. Now that it’s getting on towards the end of summer, I’ve been thinking more and more about our air conditioner and how it’s been doing out there on the other side of our bedroom wall. I know it’s not getting lonely because it’s got our neighbors’ ACs lined up right next to it, grinding and wheezing away day and night. No, the reason I’m concerned is that it may be feeling a little bored and under appreciated. I’m sure it would like nothing more than to fire up and spin the cobwebs out a bit, but that’s not happening. I’m done with it.
I ‘d like to say we’ve gone the whole summer without the AC, but the truth is a really hot spell back in July caused us to break down and run it for about a week and a half. Even then the thermostat was set to 80 degrees. Before that we’d run it occasionally in the evenings to knock the heat down a bit, but since then we’ve managed to ignore the energy-sapping beast entirely. Here are some of the less-obvious ways we’ve managed it:

  1. Be a fan of the fan. Ceiling fans are great, but our apartment doesn’t have any. Instead I use a couple of small (8”) fans and point one wherever I happen to be sitting. I’ve even caught myself getting chilled in front of one when the temperature in the room is above eighty.
  2. Move over. When sitting on a couch or cushioned chair, the furniture is soaking up all your heat and radiating it back out at you. I find that shifting over a foot or two or moving to the other couch makes me feel better instantly. It’s just like using the cool side of the pillow.
  3. Dip your toes. This one is a little more extreme, but really easy. When I just can’t seem to stay cool any other way, I have been known to fill a bucket with a few inches of water and an ice pack and put a foot in it. You can do this any time you’re sitting still and it cools your whole body.
  4. Check the temperature. We have one of those little electronic weather stations that monitors the inside and outside temps and humidity. When it’s cooler outside than inside, such as at night, we open all the doors and windows. During the day we shut everything up again to keep the cooler air in. It’s revolutionary, I know.
  5. Suck it up. You don’t need to be perfectly comfortable all the time. If you don’t use the AC and you live someplace hot (like here in Tennessee), it will get warm. You may even perspire a touch now and then. Even if you do all of the above and any other tricks you may know to beat the heat without filling the room with cool, dry, ill-gotten air you may still feel a bit warm. Just get over it. Or at least turn the thermostat up closer to 80. You’ll get used to it, I promise.

No Comments +

  1. Here in New England the houses are made to keep the heat in due to the winters we, well, winter. This, of course, means it often gets hotter in the house than outside. There’s a few things we employ to keep the temp down.

    First, we pull down all the shades to keep the sun out, especially on the south and west sides of the house. Second, I put the fans so they pull the hot air out and close the windows in the room. At night when the temp goes down, I turn the fans around to pull the cool air in and open the windows in the room. I leave the fan on low the whole time and leave them running only when I’m in the room I want to cool down.

    Great post, Mickey!

    September 2nd, 2008 at 2:45 pm
    Comment by Howling Hill
  2. Good to know! I made it the whole summer without A/C as well, but I have to admit there were a few times that I cranked it in the car just to have a feeling of being dehumidified. I’ll have to try the ice bucket during the next heat wave!

    September 2nd, 2008 at 4:11 pm
    Comment by Noelle
  3. Well said, my dear. I’ve actually been quite comfortable all summer, except for a few days when it approached 100 degrees. I tend to complain more in the winter when I’m cold.

    September 2nd, 2008 at 4:01 pm
    Comment by courtney
  4. Wow, I never thought about moving my butt over a few inches on the couch. I’m impressed how little you’ve managed to use your AC. I can limit the AC during the day, but I can’t sleep without it.

    September 3rd, 2008 at 12:33 am
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  5. We’ve cut down our AC use this summer simply by not having central air. We moved to an old row house that has a couple window units a couple ceiling fans. The upstairs stay fairly cool at night with the fans going and as long as you stay out of the sunlight when it shines in the window the downstairs isn’t to bad either. I do wish we had a separate kitchen though since making bread can heat up the house quick. The best thing we have found is to sit on the front porch for a couple hours in the evening.

    September 3rd, 2008 at 1:48 am
    Comment by N.

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