When the temperature creeps past 90 degrees on a hot summer day, it’s natural to regret the decision to rent a place without air conditioning. But don’t despair — with these tips for living without an air conditioner, you can stave off the sweltering heat, without the sky-high utility bill (or putting in a noisy, energy-sucking window unit).
1. Change the rotation on your ceiling fan to counterclockwise
It’s easier than you think to make this fix (usually your fan will have a little switch on the motor housing that alters its rotation), and doing so will allow the blades to circulate faster, creating a cooler breeze. If you have box fans, turn them around so that they blow hot air out the window.
2. Don’t let the light in
Keeping shades, curtains, or blinds closed can lower the temperature inside your house by up to 20 degrees.
3. Channel your inner MacGyver
Create a misting effect by placing a metal mixing bowl full of ice in front of a fan. Tilt the bowl so that the fan blows directly onto the ice. When the air hits the cubes, it will release a cool, misty breeze that chills the whole room.
4. Don’t close yourself off
By shutting doors, that is. Keep inside doors open throughout the day, which allows the cool air to circulate throughout your house.
5. Revamp your bedding
Pack away the flannel sheets (duh) and opt for percale instead, which is more breathable. Mist your sheets with cool water before bedding down for the night (or stick them in the freezer for a few minutes), and invest in a buckwheat pillow, which won’t trap heat the way traditional pillows do.
6. And then sleep solo
Your partner may balk, until he or she realizes how much body heat cuddling creates.
7. Hit up your hot water bottle
Only this time, stick it in the freezer first and then position it near your feet, which contain many pulse points. If you don’t have a hot water bottle, dunk your feet in ice water before turning in.
Appliances that are plugged in radiate heat — even when they’re not in use. So unplug what you can. Now is also the time to embrace your grill; turning on the oven on a 100-degree day is only going to make things hotter. But you knew that.
9. Turn off the lights
Even the most energy-efficient light bulbs give off some heat, so make do with natural light on superhot days. But still swap out incandescent bulbs for CFLs, which will also lower your energy bill.
10. Lie low
Literally. Hot air rises, so putting your mattress on the floor can help you stay cool while you slumber. Or if you’re feeling outdoorsy but like sleeping with a roof over your head, rig up an indoor hammock, which will increase airflow. Bonus: It may even lull you to sleep, which will make you forget how hot you are.