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In the News: Keeping Cool Without AC

The magazine Scientific American recently answered a reader's question about how to turn down the heat without turning on your air conditioner, and I thought it was definitely information worth sharing. You can read the whole article here, but I've summarized most of the major points below.

  • The key to keeping cool is maintaining air flow over the skin's surface (also known as a breeze). Thus, "Instead of turning on that AC, see which direction the breeze is blowing outside (no matter how minimal it may be), and then open a few windows strategically to try to get it flowing through the house from end-to-end or side-to-side."
  • Use fans if the breeze isn't doing the job.
  • Even better, create a wind tunnel effect by positioning one fan near a window, to pull air in, and another by the other end of your house to suck hot air out.
  • If your house gets a lot of sunlight, keep the curtains and/or blinds closed to cut down on the heat gain that can happen with sunlight beating down on your interior space.
  • Turn off lights, too! While CFLs give off much less heat than incandescent bulbs, they still produce some heat.


Join The Conversation
witchbaby witchbaby 9 years
hey redsugar and casasugar the humidity is much higher in southern texas(the rgv) by the border!!! when our ac broke 3 summers ago it was like hell on earth, i preferred spending time outside with the heat and mosquitos than the trapped hot air in my house. Fans did nothing but move hot air to another part of the room :( The humidity gets up to 90% down here!
redsugar redsugar 9 years
Humidity in Austin is nothing compared to Houston. We can draft cool air through our house in March and October and that's about it.
Home Home 9 years
I definitely hear you all on the AC in humid, hot climates. When I lived in Austin I definitely had to use the AC in the summer — either that or spend all day at Barton Springs in the water!
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I wish I could follow those tips but there is no cross circulation in my house.
carrieann9016 carrieann9016 9 years
We have been lucky so far this year. It has been relatively comfortable so far. We have only had to run the AC a few days. Of course today is supposed to be pretty hot & humid. So we'll have to see how cool we can keep the house it may have to go on tonight so I can sleep. If it is too humid out and we do not have the AC on I have a helluva time sleeping!
darkangel2305 darkangel2305 9 years
I live in FL. It's damn hot here and its not even August! My house doesnt get much sun, which helps sooo much, but we still have to run the AC full time to be comfortable (eventhough we do watch the setting to make sure we are not over using it)
LesleyP825 LesleyP825 9 years
I've been closing my blinds on the side of my house everyday and it does cut down on the heat. But my bedroom is on the 3rd floor of my house and it still gets steamy up there.
SarahPW SarahPW 9 years
clearly the authors of this article don't live in has been so hot down south this summer- i need my air!
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