Air Conditioning Alternatives
Proven Ways to Keep Cool and Use Your Air Conditioner Less
When the mercury reaches 90 degrees and above, nothing beats air conditioning for keeping your home cool and comfortable. But in these economic and eco-minded times, we don’t want to become overly reliant on air conditioning for our cooling needs. Nor do we want to be running our air conditioning systems at full blast 24/7. There are times when you want to give your air conditioner a rest and cut down on your air conditioning usage.
Here are some tried and true alternative solutions that can help you keep cool without running your air conditioner or help you significantly reduce your air conditioning usage.
- Take Advantage of Mother Nature: Unlike air conditioning, a breeze generally doesn’t add cool air, but creates a perception of cooling. The movement of air over the skin helps dissipate heat produced by the body or hot air that accumulates around the body. Instead of turning on your air conditioning, try using the wind to its advantage. See which direction the breeze is blowing outside; then open a few windows strategically to try to get air flowing in through the house from end-to-end. This will also help vent out hot air that has been accumulating inside.
- Become a Fan of Fans: To really get the a breeze moving and the air circulating throughout your home, consider adding some fan power. A fan can create significant room cooling at a fraction of the cost of operating an air conditioner. Floor, stand-mounted and table-top fans can really move the air around your home; they can be purchased at most department and appliance stores for very reasonable price. Ceiling fans also do a great job at moving the air around, although they are more expensive to purchase and require installation. Fans are most effective at night when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
Fans can be used in place of air conditioning or they can be used to augment an air conditioner’s cooling power. Instead of running your air conditioner at full-blast or at an arctic-temperature, try running it at a lower power or a few degrees higher; then use a fan to circulate that air around. You’ll be surprised how much cooler the room will feel, even though you aren’t using very much air conditioning.
- Create a Wind Tunnel: Here’s a neat trick you can do with fans. Place one fan facing inward by the window where air is coming in; place a second fan at an opposite window facing outward. This creates a wind tunnel effect that constantly moves fresh air through the house and pumps stale hot air out.
- Get Wet: Moisture, like wind, creates a perception of cooling and helps dissipate body heat. A quick cool shower can provide substantial heat relief. Another strategy is to wet and wrists, arms, head, ankles and other body pulse points; this method will actually cool down the entire body. Place ice, a cool wet cloth cloth, wristband or headband on those spots. You can even wet sleeves and pant legs. Add ia fan, and you’ll be surprised just how cool you’ll feel.
- Keep Your Home Cool When You’re Away: During the day, it’s important to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out. Shut the windows when you leave for the day. Keep blinds shut and curtains drawn; sunlight only creates more heat. Turn off all lights and appliances; they are not only wasting electricity, they’re generating heat, as well.
- Watch Where You Place Appliances: Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat can sense heat from these appliances which can cause your air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Be Wise About Windows: Install white window shades, drapes and blinds; they will reflect heat away from your house. Close curtains and install awnings on the south and west facing windows where the most sunlight and heat bombard your house. Also, apply sun-control reflective films on south and west facing windows to repel much of this intense sunlight. When shopping for windows, look for windows with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC); these windows will conduct less heat than traditional windows.
- Close Off Rooms That Are Not In Use: Don’t try to cool rooms that you don’t use. Keeping doors closed to these rooms leaves less area to be cooled, so it will be easier to keep the areas where you’re sitting, working or sleeping cooler.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids. Keeping your body hydrated with cool water can lower your core body temperature. And while no one likes to be sweaty, perspiration is part of the body’s natural process for cooling itself. If you don’t supply the water to sweat with, the body can’t properly cool itself.