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Readers Respond: How do you stay cool without cranking up the AC?

Responses: 36

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I shared my list of ways to stay cool without cranking up the heat now I want to hear your best stay-cool tips. Share Your Tip

If you use Central Air

Besides the numerous good tips here, if you must use your central air, I found sealing all air leaks really helps reduce how much the central runs. The best thing I found was some replacement damper fans by the Larson Fan Company. I was surprised on how much it helps.
—Guest John

Fan, icy water and wall garden

Iced water. Other than that, I moisten and freeze old pillow casings and hang them in front of standalone fan, changing them after getting dry. I keep a bowl of ice-cold water nearby with washcloth and moisten my exposed skin when I feel the heat. In summer, I cook once a week and mostly eat cold salads. I keep myself well-hydrated. Most of my apartment faces West (getting full afternoon son), so I have a great vegetable/herb garden hanging from the exposed external wall. I picked the things I like to eat and the ones that love lots of direct sun. It really does make difference!
—Guest Lana

Cut off those pockets

This is going to sound ridiculous but I have a couple of pairs of tight jeans that I love but they were a bit uncomfortable on account of not being all cotton then I had a brainwave and cut the bottoms of the pockets! Now air circulates and I dont get those problems tight jeans can cause. Dont cut too high or it might show and dont forget and try to put your ipod or change in the pocket, it falls right through!
—Guest Rosie

SURVIVING HEATWAVES

I have security screens/doors that allow me to keep doors and windows open all night and let the house cool off. I wear loose summer dresses around the house. When we have a severe heat wave, I fill a bath with cold water. I shower first then soak in the cold bath. It's far more effective than cold showers, and getting into the bath clean means you can keep the water for a second or third use.
—Guest Andrea

Wet curtains

I have found sprinkling my curtains with water keeps the room temperature less and thus i am cooler too
—Guest Nimisha

Be inventive

I used to scoff at the heat--I'd be out cycling in it in the 80's-90's. Then I developed asthma and its now so severe That I MUST have AC. But we use various tricks: opening windows after the outside temp cools (usually around 3-5 AM, depending). If you put a fan in one window, esp. on an upper floor it will draw out the warm air and suck in the cool. Keep an eye on the outside temp, so you don't start drawing in WARM air. Lately, we close windows at around 8 AM. Pick one main room to air condition and close doors to it or put up curtains in doors. Keep shades down where sun shines and use insulated drapes. One of the best things is to shower and keep hair wet. If it's long, tie it up on your head with bobby pins--later you get curls! For short hair, put on a damp hat. Same for clothes: wet, wring out and put them on--you'll be chilly! DON'T wear bathing suits as they don't breathe (usually) and can contribute to yeast infections or adult diaper rash! Use baby powder on moist areas!
—LolitaHayes

Water

Drinking ice water is by far the best way I have found to keep cool without A/C. It's so effective because it cools you down from the inside, dropping your core body temperature, which is what is really important when you want to cool off.
—Guest Rose

Misting myself.

I have a small (4oz) spray bottle I fill with water and spray my face, neck and arms. It instantly cools you and the bottle is small enough to fit in my pocket.
—Guest Grama

Ann

A cool tie is a great way to stay cool. The tie is filled with absorbant beads. You wet the tie & tie it around your neck. Found at sporting goods & garden stores. (Some make their own.)
—Guest yucca

larry in iowa

I keep the a.c. set at 80 degrees to remove the humidity, I have ceiling fans in the living room & the bedroom, do most of my cooking with the microwave, compact fluorescents in the floor lamp next to recliner, mini-blinds for windows, room-darkening curtains (prevents glare on big screen tv), plus, light is heat! I'm blessed to have 3-4 foot overhangs on ranch style house. Often I sit around in undershorts, pretty comfortable most of the time, no fan needed.
—Guest larryshriver@yahoo.com

Mab

Wear a wet towel around your neck. Wet it in cold water as often as needed.
—Guest Mabel Murray

Windows and light bulbs

Keep all windows closed; cover East/West windows with aluminum foil; keep a/c on at 72 degrees all 24 hours (recommended by energy company); cook on the "barbie" whenever possible and use the microwave intead of the stove or oven. Seems to work well for us here in S.D.
—Guest Ken Stuart

Fans!

Here, in the SW US, with a huge scarcity of water, no showering 2X/day. We have ceiling fans in 3 rooms and my husband uses a small oscillating fan directed at his usual chair.
—Guest Yellowapple

Keeping cool

We live in a 3000 ft. home that is 105+ y.o. That means we're cold in the winter & hot in summer. We keep the air on 83 downstairs & completely turn it off upstairs. My husband opens the upstairs windows when he gets up for work (4 A.M.) & I shut them when I get up. It lowers the temp by 2-7 degrees. Also we sleep upstairs in the winter & downstairs in the summer.
—Guest BeckyBoo

Dehumidifier

I keep a small dehumidifer in my bedroom and run a fan...does the job and I'm comfortable all day and night.
—Guest Sandy

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How do you stay cool without cranking up the AC?

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