Come summer, and with the mercury slowly rising, we switch to air conditioning for comfort and to make us feel cooler. But what would you do if the air conditioning system fails, or you move into a house or a new office space and haven't installed the air conditioning yet? The thought is enough to make us break out in a sweat! But here are some very useful tips you can try out, which will keep your cool during summer without an air conditioner.
How to Cool Yourself Without Air Conditioning
- Dress appropriately. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothes. Light colors reflect heat, as opposed to dark colors which absorb heat.
- As soon as the first rays of the sun filter through your window, it's time to close all blinds and draw the curtains. Keep the doors closed. Do not open the doors and windows till the sun goes down. In the evening, open all windows to let fresh and cool breeze to enter. Allow for cross ventilation. If any windows/doors in your house face the south and west directions, consider installing overhead shelters for the windows, and awnings for the patio.
- If you are home, instead of sitting on sofas and chairs, sit on the floor. Bare floor works wonders, but if you have a carpet, use a soft sheet as a spread. Warm air is lighter than cold air, and hence it rises. If you happen to have a basement, spend your time there to escape the heat. Being underground, it's bound to be cooler.
- Install ceiling fans. They are an excellent way to cool you down when air conditioning is unavailable. Check the ceiling fan direction. Ensure the blades move in an anticlockwise direction, so that they draw in the air and circulate it around the room, cooling it. Remember to switch off the fans when you leave the room. Ceiling fans cool you, not the room. You can also try going in for a whole house fan installation (this may be an expensive option). These fans not only keep the home temperature lower, but also prevent heat to seep through the ceiling, as they cool the attic too. Another option is to use a swamp cooler. They use the technique of evaporative cooling and are a good option in very dry conditions, as they double up as humidifier as well. Outdoors, you can also use a mist fan to cool yourself down.
- Watch what you eat (and drink). Avoid munching on greasy, oily food. Eat small snacks. Stock up on seasonal fruits and have plenty of watermelons, cucumbers, pineapples, etc. Gorge on salads. Load the fridge with ice creams. If you like it, eat spicy food. There's a reason why people residing in hot places eat spicy food. They make you sweat more, which eventually cools you down. Sip on iced water, or have iced tea. It can be refreshing. Go easy on caffeine and alcohol though. They act as diuretics and can actually dehydrate your body.
- Wet and wring towels and then hang them in windows, or near a fan and point the flow of air directly towards you. Or spray some water on your T-shirt and sit in front of or below a fan. Don't drench the T-shirt if you are wearing it or you will be shivering in no time! Buy a big block of ice from the gas station and place it in a big dish or a shallow tub and position it between the fan and you. Take delight in the cold breeze around you! Or wrap a tightly wrung wet towel/handkerchief around your back and neck to prevent overheating. Splash water on your face, wrists and feet. This will lower your body temperature making you feel better. Soak your feet in a tub of water for a few minutes. Cut thin slices of potato or cucumber and place them over your forehead and eyes. It will instantly rejuvenate you. After a shower, apply baby powder which contains cornstarch, or menthol talc on your body for an instantly cool feel. Tie your hair up; keeping your neck free from loose, open hair will not make you feel so hot. Take a dip in the swimming pool. Nothing is more enjoyable than a cool, long swim. Sit in the shade to dry yourself off.
- Turn off all sources of heat, especially those not in use. Turn off the fans, lights if they are left on, shut down the laptop. To heat food, use the microwave instead of the gas stove. Finish off cooking in the morning before the heat gets to you, or put it off until late in the evening. Avoid standing for long hours in front of the gas stove during the afternoon.
- Read books and watch movies about cold things, like Ice Age, Happy Feet, March of the Penguins, etc. When you see or think of something cold, you may feel cooler, albeit not physically.
- If your car lacks air conditioning, hunt for routes lined with trees which provide good shade. Install reflective tints on the windows to prevent the car from heating up, which also protects it from the harmful UV rays. (Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles if window tinting is permitted in your state.) Roll down the windows and push back the sun roof to allow breeze to come in. Several low-priced 12 volt fans can be found at auto parts stores, which can be placed on the dashboard, attached to the rear view mirror, or plugged into the cigarette lighter receptacle. They circulate the air, cooling you down.
Remember, humans have lived for millions of years without air conditioning. If you give it some time, your body will acclimatize itself to a hotter environment. If the heat gets unbearable for you, visit the library, mall, or some public place which is air-conditioned. Most of the above mentioned methods are not only economical, but environment friendly too. So why not help the earth by turning to greener ways to combat heat, and avoid using air conditioning at all?