Ways to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

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I live in a house with 18-foot ceilings and six bedrooms, two of which are used for other purposes. There are currently eight people in our household. Our air conditioning system has been broken for several years. This has made me a sort of quasi-expert on ways to stay cool without air conditioning. I recommend that everyone take some time to live without air conditioning; it’s been a blessing in disguise.

It’s definitely a great character-building experience. You can learn a lot about yourself and your family by turning off the AC. This, of course, only applies to those in regions that get hot during summer months. If you’re a cold-weather northerner, perhaps you can still participate by finding ways to stay cool without air conditioning on vacation.

The changing of the times

As a society, we’ve basically become accustomed to luxury and convenience. We’re also big fans of instant gratification. When real-feel temps start to soar, we want no part of the consequences. If you’re a baby boomer like me (or older) you likely grew up without air conditioning. You might say things to your kids like, “When I was your age, the ground was so hot we could fry our breakfast eggs on it.”

It’s common that previous generations have been through experiences to which current generations can’t really relate. For instance, my mother recalls scavenging her neighborhood for copper wire during World War II. She had to cash in her ration coupons for staple household goods. I can’t fathom having to do that. Mum and I are both great at learning to find ways to stay cool without air conditioning, though.

It makes you strong and encourages creativity

What if your kids never have to know what discomfort feels like? They may not be as empathetic toward others as those who understand personal struggle. You can help your children gain compassion and self-sustaining skills by turning off your air conditioning for a while.

You have to use creative thinking to stay cool while the AC is off and the temperatures are high. Your family will also have ample opportunity to serve one another and to work as a team. For instance, someone might make an impromptu pitcher of lemonade or ice tea with mint and invite everyone to enjoy a glass by the nearest fan. It comes in handy in life to understand that personal comfort and satisfaction must take a back seat at times. Rising above personally challenging situations provides a lasting sense of accomplishment and confidence.

Practical ways to stay cool without air conditioning

As this is the third consecutive summer we have lived without AC in our house, we’ve compiled numerous tips for ways to stay cool without it. The following list includes some of our favorite ideas:

  • Keep coconut oil or lotion in the refrigerator. Make sure your skin is dry (as in, without running droplets of sweat) first, then apply some nice, cool oil or lotion to provide instant refreshment.
  • Avoid opening blinds or curtains during the day. It’s true that sunlight won’t get through as easily but neither will the heat!
  • Keep fans in your windows. During the day, face them outward to push hot air out and at night, turn them around to bring cool air inside.
  • Many dollar stores sell small bottles or fans that spray mist when in use. Adding a few drops of high quality peppermint essential oil smells nice, creates coolness and is good for your health!
  • When family members are getting cranky or pushed beyond their limits of endurance, head out to the mall or somewhere else where the AC will be cranking high. It’s okay to seek  respite when you need it.
  • While we’re being old-fashioned, you can have a water battle or run through sprinklers in the yard to stay cool! Splash in a creek, go swimming or let little ones draw on the concrete with ice cubes for fun.

Doing garden work in the evening, cool, damp washcloths and sipping ice water throughout the day are additional ways to stay cool without air conditioning. Somehow, using fans instead of AC evokes feelings of simpler times in life. I can hear screen doors shutting, porch swings creaking and smell homemade pie and fresh roses in my mind’s eye.

Other benefits

There are many ways to stay cool without air conditioning and many benefits to doing so. Perseverance and endurance of personal discomfort can help us grow in virtues of determination, will power and joy of service to others. Living without AC may also have tremendous health benefits, as allergies and other adverse effects tend to increase when toxins blow through cooling systems.

Using fans instead of air conditioning units may help keep your electric bill down this summer, as well. Your kids can learn more about what life was like in their ancestors’ day. You can remind yourself to be thankful for a cool breeze, clean drinking water, a cool shower and other things we tend to take for granted in life. What are you favorite ways to stay cool without air conditioning? Leave a comment!



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