Living Without Air-Conditioning Can Save Big Bucks This Summer
Living in 90 degree weather with over 70 percent humidity the past few days has not been easy here in rural Nebraska. Hearing others complain about it only makes it worse -- especially knowing that they probably have air-conditioning. My family and I have gone without it the past two summers, and I have learned a thing or two about foregoing a very expensive luxury that most people really can live without.
Why would anyone want to go without the AC? Well, it is becoming more costly each year, and some people really can't afford it. Many just choose not to. Think of all that extra electric bill money put towards vacation, credit card debt, or even a nice vacation!
The key to surviving hot, sticky summers without cool air really has been about adjustment. When I am home all day, taking care of my children, working out in the yard, and not going into places with air-conditioning, I don't even notice much how hot it can get. Your body adjusts to a certain level of heat, and it does what it can to keep you cool. Drinking plenty of liquids, staying in the shade, and avoiding the outdoors during the hottest hours are key to staying safe. Do not go into places with air-conditioning if you can help it, and don't run it in your vehicle. You won't miss what you can't experience. Remember back in the 70's when almost no one had air-conditioning? We survived then, and we can now.
If you are diligent about taking steps every day to keep your house cool, it is possible to maintain a nightime low temperature during most of the daytime hours. First thing in the morning, shut up the house by closing all windows and doors. Cover every window with a shade or heavy drape (heavy quilts work nicely, too!) If you have control over your outside landscaping, look into planting trees or shrubs that will product shade onto the sunniest sides of your home.
Use heat and electricity sparingly in your home during the day. Cook outside if possible (food tastes better on the BBQ anyway.) Dry clothes outside on the line, and run a fan or vent while showering. Keep lights turned off in rooms you aren't using. Use ceiling fans in a counter-clockwise direction to cool rooms easily.
Once the sun goes down, open all windows to let in the cool air. Certain rooms will be cooler due to airflow and insulation, and these are the best rooms to sleep in. My family likes to sleep in the living room because it has the best night breeze. The children call it "camping" and it really has been a fun experience.
Because of our decision to go without air-conditioning, we can expect to save $65-150 a month on our electric bill. With a little dedication and cooperation from everyone in your household, you can too!