Keep Cool Without an Air Conditioner
Here are a number of easy suggestions you can follow, to keep cool without an air conditioner. Several don't need electricity as well.
- Wet your wrists and other pulse points with cold water. Use a piece of ice wrapped in a face cloth, to continue after the coolness wears off. Constantly cooling off the wrists will also cool off the body. Never use just ice; make sure it is wrapped in a towel or something similar. Studies show that this will reduce your core body temperature by as much as 3 °F (1.5 ºC). The relief is almost immediate, and will last for up to one hour!
- Drink lots of cold drinks. Water is the best but cool liquids of any type will help to cool you down. The electrolytes help to make sure you don’t lose vital minerals through sweating. Adding ice will also help cool you off. Avoid lemonade, iced tea, and other sugary drinks (see the Tips below). Ice does not actually help you cool off if it is in water you will drink. Cool water does, but the colder the water the more energy your body spends making it body temperature so that it can use it.
- Keep still and quiet. This is not a good time for exercising, sports or running around. Keep these activities for the evening when the air becomes cooler and the sun goes down.
- Place wet towel on the back of your neck and also the top of one’s head. Athletic team doctors have used this for years!
- Use perspiration to cool the body down. If you don't follow number 3, then water vapor produced by sweating actually takes heat away from your body if it is exposed to air and allowed to evaporate. The best thing to do is to put your sweaty self in the path of a cool breeze or fan.
- Try a few minty products to cool your skin: slather on lotion with peppermint (avoid your face and eyes); shower with peppermint soap; use a minty foot soak. Mint refreshes the skin and leaves a nice cooling sensation.
- Stay in the shade. Read a good book, sit still or take a nap.
- Open the windows to let in a breeze. Use screens to keep out insects if they are a problem.
- Go swimming. If you can, select a shady body of water.
- Have a cold shower or bath. Even a small amount of water sprayed or splashed on you can help. Or try a face washer dipped in cold water and held against your face and forehead for instant cooling relief. Wet towels if you need to cool all of your body and wrap your legs, torso and arms with them.
- Wet your hair with cold water every half an hour.
- Wear a short sleeved shirt and put water on the sleeves. If there is a breeze or fan blowing on you, you can actually get cold. Use a squirt bottle, the sink or hose if outside to keep your sleeves wet. If you are outside and wearing long pants and you put water on your legs, the water will cool your legs.
- Ball up and soak a t-shirt in the sink, wring it out, put it on and sit in a lawn chair (or other chair that lets air through to you) in front of a fan. Re-wet as it dries. Works over 110F.
- Use fans. Fans keep the air circulating and produce a small cooling effect. Place a wet face cloth on the fan to produce a mini air-conditioning effect. Be careful to sit the wet face washer only on the outer cage part of the fan so that it cannot be caught by the fan blades and do not leave the room without taking it off.
- Take a glass and fill it almost to the brim with ice cubes. Then hold it up to your mouth and blow gently into the cup. The ice causes the air you are blowing into the cup to cool down drastically, and since the air only has one way out of the cup (the hole which should now be aiming right at your face) the cold air is forced out over your skin. This is a great alternative to air conditioning and is very simple.
- Go downstairs. Warm air is less dense than cooler air so it ends up layered on top of the downward moving cooler air. If you’re in a house, for example, get lower than the roof. Make your way to the basement or lower level. It will be cooler there. Position a fan in an upstairs window to draw off heat collected in upper rooms–set it up so that it sucks air from indoors and pushes it outdoors.
- Try and get used to the heat. Try to do this without relying on fans too much. That way, you can be more independent of relying on any electrical equipment, something that become very important should there be a summer blackout.
- Turn off the stove or other sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs also create heat. Turn off your lamps, as well as your computer. How are you reading this?
- Apply lots of sun protection lotion throughout the day. The protective function of such lotion only lasts for a few hours and less when you are in water. Reapply frequently for best coverage. Do not rely on it alone, however. Always combine with wearing a hat, long-sleeved clothing and keeping out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
- Wear a hat and don't expose too much skin. Long-sleeved shirts made of cotton, hemp and other natural fabrics will help deflect the sun's rays and protect your skin. A broad-brimmed hat is essential to protect your face and to create some shade over your head.
- Keep inside or in the shade when the sun is at its height. Don't go outside if you can help it between 11 o' clock and 3 o' clock, as these are the hours during which the sun is at its strongest.
- Prepare your home against the heat. In the evening, open windows and use fans to create a cross-breeze, circulating cooler evening/night air through the rooms. As soon as the sun hits the building the next morning, close all windows, blinds, and curtains, and keep doors and windows closed throughout the day until it is cooler outside than it is inside. Then you can open everything up again and cool off to be prepared for the next day. Leaving kitchen cabinets open all night helps too; if you leave them closed, they store the heat and your house won’t cool off as much.
- Eat less. Smaller meals with less protein will reduce metabolic heat. Whatever you do eat should be cool and not require heat to be prepared (e.g. salads, sandwiches, etc.)
- Get a 1 or more 3 liter bottles, fill them full of water, FREEZE them but in a manner to not damage them (H2O expands on freezing), then place them in a LARGE bowl(To catch condensate water). Position a fan to blow on these blow upon them. Make sure the fan is solar powered/battery powered, in case you lose power due to a heat wave. As the ice in the bottles melt, the air cools around them. The fan will blow that air at you. The bowl full of condensate water can be used, if clean, for non consumption use. The water in the bottles can be frozen overnight and used again, repeatedly.
Evaporative Coolers are a great device for cooling a room or a house, if you live in a dry region - low humidity. These units are cheaper to install and much cheaper to operate, than air conditioners.
If you are using a Room Air Conditioner, here are some Tips for their operation.
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