Beating the heat

Earth exploding from heatIt’s starting to feel a lot like summer. We had a couple days of hot weather about three weeks ago, but since then it’s been in the high 70s and low 80s. In the past several days, it’s been up to the high 80s and lower 90s and should stay that way for at least a week. Since it’s still June, I expect it’ll only get worse.

We’ve only turned the AC on once, briefly, when it was hot and stuffy before bed and I’d like to keep it that way as long as possible. Working from home makes it harder, since I can’t mooch off of business AC during the day when it’s hottest. Ceiling fans aren’t an option (yet), so here’s what I’ve been doing to beat the heat.

Keep the windows close and the blinds down during the day. This makes it darker, but also cooler, since our place retains some evening coolness for quite a while. Unfortunately, this also makes it kind of stuffy, which leads to…

Use a small fan. I have a little fan that I’ve used to good effect since college. It works best in the evening when I can prop it up against an open window, but it’s also useful for some targeted cooling. When I’m working on the computer, I set it up so that it’s blowing across my face which helps me avoid the sensation of stuffy air.

Stay up late, sleep late. This doesn’t work for Maggie because she has to be up on other people’s schedule, but since I work whenever I like, I tend to stay up later and only go to sleep once it cools down around 2am. I’ve thought about also taking a siesta in the hottest part of the afternoon, but I don’t want to get my sleep schedule too out of wack. I do sometimes have to be up relatively early.

Open the windows in the evening Around here, things start to get reasonably cool around 8pm. I open the front windows and the back door (it has a screen) and let the breeze come through. It’s probably not much of a temperature difference, but it sure feels good and it only gets better as it gets darker.

It’s all pretty low-tech and common sense, but it works pretty well. I do wonder if I’m missing anything, though. I haven’t really had to deal with extreme heat since my freshman year when my dorm didn’t have AC.

What do you do to keep cool and reduce your AC usage?

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7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ian said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

    Important tips which I try to remind everyone around here. Granted, it’s especially nice out here since at nights it regularly hits 50-60 degrees, and the sunlight here carries more thermal energy, what with the closer proximity. Of course, it’s a way of life for those like me with no AC.

  2. 2

    Andy said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

    We had a few days where it was 94 in the apartment, which was stuffy and a bit sweaty, and it was great. I spent more time outside, went for walks at night, and just got used to the heat. Then when it got a little cooler, it was ‘nothing’ compared to 94 and it felt great.

    The first day I was here it was 80 at night and I was thinking about using the AC. Now I actually feel a bi chili when it is below 78 or so inside.

    i really think it depends on what we are used to. If I lived in a desert where it is over 100 a lot, I would be thrilled with 90. So why should 90 here seem outrageous or enough to use AC? I think it’s funny really. No AC for me!

    -Andy

  3. 3

    Student Doctor Green said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

    It’s been getting in the high 90s here but it’s nice in the shade even in the middle of the day. I’m a big stickler on keeping the blinds down and the curtains drawn as well. I was opening my windows at night in spring but it’s in the high 80s even at night here so I keep them shut.

  4. 4

    Gini said,

    June 28, 2008 @ 8:22 am

    I know I’m a wimp, but I have a hard time dealing with the combination of high humidity and warm nights, especially when it lasts from mid-May to mid-October. When we lived in Georgia without air conditioning, I found it particular depressing to clean mold/mildew off the wooden furniture in the summer.

  5. 5

    emma said,

    June 30, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

    No, this is pretty much what we do too. Unfortunately, I have had to run my A/C at night a little bit because it was just too hot, even with a fan, for a couple days there. But mostly we do what you do. I just bought a Kill-A-Watt and can’t wait to see what it says about how much electricity our A/C uses!

  6. 6

    Maggie said,

    June 30, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

    Humidity makes the heat unbearable sometimes but around here it doesn’t usually get too sticky until mid-July. The most frustrating thing for me is when we leave our windows open on deliciously cool nights only to be awakened by the whir of our neighbors’ air conditioners. Grrrrr. I think there should be an automatic switch in air conditioners that causes them to pull in fresh air from outside when the outside temperature is cooler than the thermostat setting.

  7. 7

    Downtown | GreenCouple.com said,

    July 1, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

    […] the heat: get the temperature to drop. I’m not sure how to do that, but apparently posting about how to beat the heat works. Since I did, it’s been 60 degrees at night and in the low eighties during the […]

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