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Tips on Beating the Heat without AC

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It’s July, and that means a lot of heat in a lot of places. Air conditioning seems like the best and easiest way to fix the heat problem around the house, but when you factor in the cost of the energy to power it and environmental concerns, you might start looking for some alternatives.

Luckily, we humans have spent centuries wrestling with the heat and a few years more recently sharing some of our knowledge with others on the Web. Here are some tips and links to more info:

  • Supernaturale offers a couple of obvious tips — dress appropriately, get screens and fans — but mostly clever or downright strange ones — like freezing your pillowcases: “I don’t actually do this,” the tip-sharer writes, “but I have heard that nothing is sweeter than falling asleep on a cold pillowcase.”
  • shares the low-down on swamp coolers, a simpler and more energy-efficient alternative to air conditioners. But beware, as they don’t work well everywhere: “Since swamp coolers can only cool hot, dry air, they work best in arid climates. In regions where the air is naturally humid, swamp coolers won’t cool but instead will make a home feel moist and clammy.”
  • Real Simple magazine, which is always a great resource for effective tips and tricks, has its own 23 ways to beat the heat. One involves doing some maintenance on your AC, but it also talks about making your own dead-simple AC: “If it’s hot but not humid, place a shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan and enjoy the breeze. As the ice melts, then evaporates, it will cool you off.” Also, this bit of counter-intuitive advice: eat more spicy food.
  • WikiHow, a great general-purpose help site, has another great round-up article, including these tips: Wet your wrists and other pulse points with cold water, and applying rubbing alcohol to your skin before plopping in front of a fan.

Photo courtesy of xmacex on Flickr.