• Tips to Avoiding the Air Conditioner

  • by Lauren Russell

As summer approaches, I get more and more nervous about my electric bill. This year, I became a homeowner and learned very quickly that utilities in a home cost way more than those in an apartment. With the weather getting warmer, we have enjoyed lower heat bills. But as the days of spring inch closer to days of summer (and 90-degree heat), I already fear the results of running the air conditioner all day.

Our plan is to avoid turning the air on as long as possible this summer. Having lived in a top-floor apartment in Chicago with no air conditioning, I know there will be a day when I have to turn the air on. I will never live in a sauna again! Until I give in, I am going to use these tips to stay cool without draining my wallet.

Get a breeze. Open all of your windows and let the breeze in. This is especially helpful if you have windows across the room from one another to provide the best airflow. Make sure your ceiling fan blades are flipped to pull the heat up and away from your body. Use floor fans if you must as well. Though they may use some of the electricity you were trying to save on, it will only be a fraction.

Hang out downstairs. Heat rises, so steer clear of the upstairs rooms. Hang out in the basement if you have one that you can spend time in comfortably. Bonus if you have concrete or cinder block walls, which are not insulated. Meaning, they keep things a little cooler.

Block the sun. Use blackout curtains to block sunlight from getting in and warming up the room. These curtains keep the room dark and cooler.

Spritz yourself. Spritzing yourself with cold water can provide temporary relief. To enhance the cool, try a mix of witch hazel (an astringent) and peppermint oil (to cool the skin). Make sure you aren’t allergic to these things before spritzing your skin with them.

Cook smart. Avoid using the oven to make your meals. It can give off a ton of heat. Instead, use a crockpot or barbecue outside. Or, craft a meal that doesn’t require any heat. A nice, fresh dish, like our mango crab salsa, may help keep you cool. A hot bowl of soup in a warm home does not sound good anyway.

Avoid other heat sources. Just like the oven, other appliance can give off heat. Keep that lamp that always gets too hot turned off. And hang dry your clothes instead of running the dryer. This will also cut the electric bill if you have an electric dryer. Bonus!

Escape the house. Visit with friends and family who have air conditioning or spend the day at the mall or movie theater. Enjoy all of the free air conditioning you can.

It will be interesting to see how long my husband and I last without the air conditioning this summer. It will all depend on the weather, but I think making these small changes will help prolong flipping the switch. Here’s hoping for a mild season!

Do not put your health at risk to save money. Stay safe with temps. In extreme heat, always turn the air on if you have it or go to a cool place to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.