questionshow do you keep cool without using your air…

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Strip nekkid at all times.

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We have installed very large ceiling fans in the common areas of our home. They help tremendously. We also try not to use the oven when it's extremely hot. A few less clothes is always helpful as well. we set our thermostat to 78-80* and the living area stays about 75. It's still a little warm to me but ever since I saw the difference in the power bill the thermostat hasn't moved.

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Hydration and plenty of air movement.

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I live in a very hot, dry climate (it's been 105 most days for the past three weeks and hit 107 a couple of days). 85 is the best the swamp cooler can do in the house. But if I relax with a book or TV show, really relax mind and body, it feels to me as if the temperature drops and my skin becomes cool to the touch. It freaks people out because my skin gets so cool, and if I zen out for long my hands and feet will get cold enough that I need a sweater even though it's 85. If I can't just relax with a book or the TV and get full control on my temp, a box fan placed nearby makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes leading again to needing a sweater even though it's 85. It may be related to having low blood pressure and a low average body temp, 97.6 or so is normal for me.

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Cold drinks ( steer clear of alcohol -- it dehydrates. )
Eat ice cream.
Go to the mall /restaurant /library that has AC.
Have a basement in your house-- they tend to stay nice and cool.
Go jump in a lake/pool/ocean/cold water filled bathtub/sprinkler,
Lots of fans. Including a small personal portable one.
Shut the house up during the day when it is hotter outside, pull drapes, close windows, avoid using oven.
When it starts to cool down outside, open things up and get the fans pulling the cooler air in. Lather, rinse ,repeat.
Eat light meals, avoid salt.

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i live in seattle. what is this "hot" thing you speak of?

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Also, loose fitting cotton clothing. Will keep you cooler than nekkidness if there's a breeze. The breeze cools the fabric and the cooled fabric brushes against yourskin for a cooling effect.

@carl669: I was just looking at temps in Cloudcroft only 90 miles away and they are running 74 during the daytimes and 55 at night. More than 30 degrees cooler and so close. But they are at 9,000ft of elevation compared to our mere 3,800ft.. Makes a huge difference.

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I made a Snuggie out of those RealXGear cooling towels.

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If you don't want to use your air conditioner, use someone elses are conditioner.

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In dry heat (think southwest) - Water and shade.

In humid heat? Pfft. A/C required.

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Try to be more like me. Always cool ; )

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I would never not have a/c where I live right now. When it got hot for two days out of the year when I lived in Germany I'd just stay out of the sun and keep all the windows closed on the house. Over a foot thick sandstone walls kept the house cool as long as you didn't let the hot air in through the window.

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Window fans at night, taking in the cool night air. Shut the windows first thing in the morning to keep in the cool air. I've only had to run my AC a few days so far this year by following this simple guideline.

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I don't.

Seriously, it's not the heat, it's the humidity. Here in South Louisiana humidity is a year-round thing. Right now it's 97 degrees but the humidity is down to a lovely 60%. A/C is a MUST!

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I live in AZ, it's going to be up to 118 - 120 this weekend. Our AC basically never stops running from 2:00 - 7:00 pm. At night it gets uncomfortable to sleep, my electric bill for last July was 475 dollars so we are raising the AC temp setting this year from 78 degrees to 82 degress to see if that cheapens it up

My non-AC advice is to take a spray bottle and spray down your top sheet on your bed. It shouldn't be soaked, but you should feel slight wetness. Sleep with a fan blowing on the sheet and you'll be cool as the other side of the pillow. Or sit in the living room like that with a fan blowing on you, always worked like a charm for us.

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I love these Carolinas but a summer in the south is a very different kind of hot. The air is often too thick to breath comfortably, if your AC goes out completely you're staying with a friend or relative. We often see humidity high enough to damage things in our house if the AC was left off too long. The walls can actually get wet to touch. As I said above, we turn up the thermostat to reduce bills but no AC at all is a big no.

@ryanwb: Thats a good tip if you're in an area with dry heat. If I did that in July I'd wake up with my cover stuck and rolled around me like a burrito.

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Nothing.

I do it, a lot of it.

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I grew up in Texas when nobody had air conditioning. I don't know how we did it, to tell the truth. Sometimes we had ceiling fans but when the air is hot at night too, they don't do a lot of good. We stayed in the shade as much as possible and mostly, we just didn't talk about it and gritted our teeth to last until October. Not talking about it is key.

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stay still and try not to move

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live in the basement.

I own a split level house and considered setting up shop in the basement, just to stay cooler for cheaper (I have AC, but wouldn't need to run it so much in the basement). Just too little space down there.

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I live in Las Vegas.. It is supposed to be 117 this weekend.

We got "Solarscreens" on our windows. They have helped tremendously.

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There is a product that Sharper Image sold called oxygenfresh and it is a catalytic converter of ozone to oxygen. The warmer it gets the better it works turning O3 into O2. The air becomes better and there is some reduction in temperature in the process. I have one of these items in front of my fan and it does work but you have to clean the surface occasionally to prevent dirt buildup.

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In South Florida in the summer there is no living without A/C. Reflective coated windows, ceiling fans and a pool (or water front home) help, but with the humidity you need A/C to sleep.

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move. I can't stand to be hot. I'd go to the supermarket and hang out in the deli section or something.

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I'm in the Boston area, where heat seldom comes without humidity, so AC is pretty essential for sleep, and pretty hard to do without at other times. Still, I have a few tricks to reduce AC usage:

* Three Bionaire twin window fans (one in the attic), which I reviewed extensively here, help tremendously IF the temp drops at night.

* Frozen cherries and grapes make easy, cooling snacks, left in an open bowl for easy access.

* Freeze a 1-liter soda bottle filled with water; wrap a kitchen towel around it, and tuck one (or more) beside you in bed or on the couch.

* A quick foot bath as soon as I get in and remove shoes and socks instantly makes me feel cooler.

* To avoid using the dryer, I strung a couple broomsticks between attic rafters, and dry shirts, pants, pillowcases, etc. on hangers up there.

* Dishes are handwashed in cold water (soaking helps).

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Oh, I almost forgot my favorite hot weather cooking tip: pasta bricks. On a cool day, I cook three or four batches of pasta and freeze them individually in gallon ziplock bags. Put each bag on a cookie sheet until frozen so they stack nicely. Be sure to slightly undercook, then after thawing (preferably overnight in the fridge), it's ready to be stirred into hot cooked sauce or to be briefly marinated in cold pasta salad dressing. Voila, pasta without the steamy kitchen!

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We're facing a hot week in Seattle, by Seattle standards (92? Wow!). The best answer is to not be inside, since most places don't have air conditioning or air flow built for the heat. I proper my apartment door open and use a fan to get a wind tunnel going.

Elsewise, it's off to the movies to soak in their A/C, just like the good old days. Iced coffee helps, too.

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I take a cool shower with all my clothes ON. (which in summer is just a tank top and shorts). Then I sleep with the ceiling fan on.

If its really really hot, then I also turn on the box fan in the window.

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Take a cold shower
Use as many fans as possible
Stick my head in the freezer

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I live in the country in Oregon, so I can actually do this. We seldom get into the hundreds, but when it's going to be anything over 80 this is how I've dealt with the last 38 summers.....

At bedtime, I lock the storm door & lower the glass to bare the screen (west side of house). On the east side I open the patio door & close the screen-keep out bugs. Go to bed. When I get up in the morning it is usually around 65-70 in the house. Then I open both doors & put fans (large square or standing type) to bring in more morning cool air. Once the sun rises in the east & there is starting to be warmth I can feel on that side - all doors & windows are closed to keep in the cool. House never gets over 72 all day long.

I have very large windows, so I have installed roll-down blinds - outside - to keep the sun from actually hitting the windows which would just transfer heat into the house during the day.

Never have had air conditioning. Not complicated, just my routine in the summer.