How do you beat the heat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 06-23-2013, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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We've had a handful of hot days recently, which makes me kind of dread the coming ones. We don't have A/C!


Granted, we get only maybe a dozen or so truly hot days/nights all summer. Usually it cools down at night and we can open the windows.  What are your fun and frugal ways you beat the summer heat?

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#2 of 17 Old 06-23-2013, 04:47 PM
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Our basement stays fairly cool, and we have forced air heat, so every now and then I go down to the basement and flick on the circulation fan on the furnace.  That way the cooler basement air gets circulated around the house.  It's not a drastic difference, but it's nice. 

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#3 of 17 Old 06-23-2013, 07:17 PM
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We don't have a/c either - and we're in South Texas! With all the windows open & a couple box fans it's tolerable during the day - still hot though. Lots of iced drinks & popscicles / ice cream in the afternoons works good. 


And on really hot days - we go somewhere free. The library, $1 movies, just walking around walmart, etc - anywhere that is cool & reasonably cheap / free is good :)

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#4 of 17 Old 06-23-2013, 07:20 PM
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I don't know how fun it is, but we leave the shades closed in rooms we're not in (only open enough for the breeze to come through) and that seems to keep the house cooler. But we do have excellent cross-ventilation, which really helps. For fun, we hit the water play parks or head to the community pool. And cool bath and showers work well in a pinch! 

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#5 of 17 Old 06-23-2013, 08:23 PM
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If you have cool nights, use a window fan.  We have one in each bedroom and they can bring the temp down by about 10 F, depends on the temperature difference.  Compared to A/C they are cheap, don't use much electricity and are much quieter.   Of course this only works after sunset.  But to me it's mostly important to go to sleep in a cool bedroom at night.  Daytime heat can be tolerated by various things (sipping cool drinks, dip in a pool, stay in the basement...etc.)


Ours are like this one but a different brand.

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#6 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 09:56 AM
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I also have no A/C I have a small trailer and we use 2 fans one at one end and one in the kitchen, in the kitchen I have a cooler I put some ice in the top and have the fan blow across it it helps cool off the other end of the house. I keep the windows open all day. I close the curtains during the heat of the day but open them as soon as it starts feeling cooler than inside. We keep water bottles in the frig and freezer and use them like you would a hot water bottle but to cool the bed before getting in rather than warm it up.

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#7 of 17 Old 06-24-2013, 03:09 PM
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We have a/c but use it sparingly, and we spend a week each summer at my mom's house with no a/c. One thing we do is get up early (like 5am) and open all the windows/doors in the house. The bedrooms windows are open all night, but early in the morning we open everything. Then we put fans by the front and back doors to pull the cool outside air inside. We'll go back to bed and snooze after doing this, and when we get up for the day a couple hours later the while house is nice and cool.

We leave everything open until the air coming in starts to feel the tiniest bit warmer than the air inside, then we close up the house, shades, everything. Usually this works for several hours, but by mid- to late-afternoon it's sweltering anyway. That's when I break down and click the air on if we're at home, or when we head out to play in the sprinklers and have Popsicles if we're at my mom's house.

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#8 of 17 Old 06-25-2013, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by frugalmama View Post

We don't have a/c either - and we're in South Texas! With all the windows open & a couple box fans it's tolerable during the day - still hot though. Lots of iced drinks & popscicles / ice cream in the afternoons works good. 


And on really hot days - we go somewhere free. The library, $1 movies, just walking around walmart, etc - anywhere that is cool & reasonably cheap / free is good :)

Yay frugalmama!  Glad to find a like-minded soul in my region!!  I don't use a/c except when there are guests.I'm in Texas.


I freeze cut fruits for snacking and making smoothies.  Take a cold shower/bath in hot afternoons.  Play water fight with hose

and sprinkler in the backyard (thus watering the lawn, too). 


Wrap an ice pack (blue ice or packed gel)  in a hand towel and put it around neck, armpit, groin (where big blood vessels are).  It

cools off your body efficiently.


Wear cotton shirt rather than naked (in the house) it will absorb sweat and actually feels cooler.


Good luck Momsteader.  It will be so much better, not having a/c, for environment, for your health.

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#9 of 17 Old 06-25-2013, 01:06 PM
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Well I am in Maine and while we do have AC we haven't always had it. We used to put a fan in the window to pull in the cool evening air and then shut the windows and shades before it started getting hot. We left fans going to circulate air because even if its hot, air moving makes it tolerable. If we found ourselves terribly hot my husband used to take a metal bowl full of ice and set it in front of the fan. The fan would then blow this coolness around. He has also been known to fill a spray bottle and mist it at the fan. The fan will blow this cool water back at you. Anyway those are my thoughts:)

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#10 of 17 Old 06-26-2013, 12:55 PM
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Check out your whole house for ventilation. I take a lighter with me and check the flame to see where the air flow is going.


My advice is to see your house from ground floor to attic as a whole ventilation system.


We have no AC either. We open during the night, close during the day. When the house is closed during the day, we vent a small draft from the basement to the attic by leaving the doors to those areas open. There is a fan in the attic that vents. On the hottest days, we close the attic door (too hot up there & hot air flows back in to the 2nd floor) and vent from a window on the second floor. We have been very close to getting a house fan in the attic for this purpose and may do it eventually.


We also adjust our lifestyles. We "siesta."

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#11 of 17 Old 06-26-2013, 03:54 PM
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I think I have posted this before but it is so inexpensive and works so incredibly well I will re-post.  To block out the sun from coming into the house, space (or emergency) blankets work extremely well.  You can get some of the spring tension curtain rods that will fit in the window trim.  Use the space blankets folded to fit (they don't cut very well so you need one for each window) and clip them at the top with a couple of binder clips from the stationary store.  Then the space blanket can be moved back and forth like a curtain.  This looks very odd from the outside, but it cuts out a huge amount of the heat from the sun.  My house stays about 10 degrees cooler on sunny days, maybe even more.  When I do use air conditioning I don't need to run it so long or so high.  The space blankets can be found at stores like kmart in the camping section and cost about $5 apiece.  The tension curtain rods aren't so much either, but you could skip that part and just thumbtack up the space blankets or sometime like that.  Even if you only did this for the windows where the most intense sun comes in, it could really help in addition to the other methods listed above (love the ice cube idea -- and I suggest if you do that you get some of the plastic ice cubes from a dollar store, then you can just use and refreeze them over and over and if you have a few sets you won't run out of ice.)

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#12 of 17 Old 06-28-2013, 07:19 PM
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When I lived in tropical climates, and had to go out to town or something, I would take a cool shower wearing underpants and a t-shirt (100% cotton). Then I would wear a loose gauze skirt, and loosely fitting blouse over the wet underclothes. Stayed damp and cool for a couple hours or so.



When I am staying home, I wet my hair in the kitchen sink several times a day. Also splash water over my arms and neck - any exposed skin.

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#13 of 17 Old 06-29-2013, 07:49 AM
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A splash of mild herbal tea, like chamomile, kept in the frig is good too!

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#14 of 17 Old 06-29-2013, 08:18 AM
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Fans and dark curtains to keep out the sun...other than that what we do is go to the beach...I fill our cooler with a big jug of ice water,sandwiches,fruit and chips...We spend several hours there staying cool in the water...Since I am off for the summer we go several times a week..Keeps us cool and it's free.... :)

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#15 of 17 Old 06-29-2013, 07:30 PM
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I live in AZ and the temps have been sweltering! I have fans in almost every room, as many windows as I can open, we spend a lot of time outside in the shade.  I have been taking a few showers in cool water each day and wearing cotton.  It has been hot and we are all getting bit by the sun from having to be outside but I am praying the rains come soon and cool us off! In my bedroom the window with the sun we cover.  I have two fans- a window fan and overhead.  Last summer we lived in a house with a basement....I am missing that one now!!!

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#16 of 17 Old 06-29-2013, 07:43 PM
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Pretty basic stuff...  we have two window A/C units.  One goes in the kitchen window which is on the main living level of the house. 
That gets turned on first thing in the morning when we button up the house.
At night, all the windows are flung open, fans in the windows, air moving as much as possible to cool off the house as much as possible. 
During the day, the kitchen window A/C's on, all the windows and curtains are closed, try not to use too many lights or have the tv on much.  It is kind of cave-like, but I prefer that to an 89* house.  One other random thing that ended up helping us a smidge was the new windows we put in a few years back.  Better quality, plus hubby put in spray foam insulation behind the trim that formerly held the windows in (no joke, half this house is shoddy worksmanship, I swear).  Helps keep the heat or cold out better, especially with insulation.  ;)  At some point, hubby wants to put in solar powered attic fans, but it's not a must-do this very minute kind of thing. 

Oh, and if it gets super hot upstairs, we put the other remaining window A/C in the kids' bunk bed room, but we haven't needed it for a year or two.  Helps with naptimes.  Gets turned off at night as well, just fling open doors and all the other windows to vent.  One year, we had the A/C in the kids' room, and to keep it cool upstairs during the day, hung a thick blanket on a springy shower curtain rod in the upstairs hallway to keep it cool there since heat rises.  There was a good 10-15* differential on each side of that blanket, my toddler at the time thought it was the coolest thing.

ETA: At one point I was looking into those bamboo shade/curtain thingies that you hang on the outside of your house.  Another barrier between the sun and the windows/house.  Our whole front living room wall (yes, 140 inches) is a bank of all windows, so I've been sorely debating it for a while.  Would just end up being expensive to cover that much of the house under the eave, plus then I wouldn't be able to see the kids outside as easily.  But for some folks it works like a charm.

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#17 of 17 Old 07-01-2013, 08:51 AM
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-Leave a wet rag in the freezer. Periodically wipe yourself down with it.

-Take a cold shower (hair and all).. Then stand in front of a fan. Bliss!

-Keep a cold rag on your neck.

-Keep your drinking glass in the freezer. Instant cool water whenever you fill it up.

-Cover the windows with blankets as a PP mentioned.

-Suck on ice cubes in between meals.

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