Have I mentioned before that we do not have central a/c....... Not that we really need it, but there have been just a few days where I've longed for it.
Colorado Springs has a very dry and mild summer climate, thus, negating the need for central air in most homes. Builders do not include a/c as a part of the regular plan/contract, etc. If you want a/c (in a new home), you either have to contract it in pre-closing or you pay to have it put in later. The builder's price was exhorbitant, so we opted to leave it off and decide after our first summer in the house, if we really needed it or not. The consensus so far, in mid-July, is that no, we don't need it. However, Thursday I was quite sure I might just die from sweating (seriously, I think I drank about 2 gallons of ICE COLD water that day)! I looked at the thermostat in the late afternoon (for the central heat we do have) and it read 88° - the temp outside was 95°!! Typically, I lean toward the cold side , but 88° in my house is, well, HOT.
In reality, it's not nearly that hot every day. We average mid to upper 80's most of the time and we've been fortunate to have cloud cover many afternoons, which means the house doesn't get nearly as hot as it would otherwise. The good thing about a new house is that it is insulated very well and this floor plan in particular gets really nice circulation, due to the placement of the windows. The downfall is that we face east, so we get full afternoon sun on the back of the house, which has the most windows and most frequently used rooms (kitchen, dining room, play room and the kids' rooms).
So, over the past 2 years we've come up with some ideas to help us keep cool on the hottest days (none of these include leaving the house to seek out air conditioning or pools, etc...... that's a whole different post!!!) and make the nights more tolerable on those miserably hot days and I thought I'd share them with you:
* Take a cool shower before bed and I do NOT blow dry my hair. I start out my shower warm and then gradually get it as cold as I can possibly stand before I get out.
* If it's suppose to be sunny all day, we do not open any windows, blinds or curtains until around 6:00 pm. Then we open them all to get as much circulation thru the house as possible until bed. If it isn't going to rain during the night we leave our window and the baby's window open (for cross-breeze) and close all the downstairs windows (for safety). Keeping the bedroom doors open during the night helps A LOT because of the cross-breeze.
* We have an oscillating stand fan in the living room (purchased for around $30) and it sits in front of the window to circulate the air it pulls in.
* We have small desktop type fans in the bedrooms and we point them directly at us/kids.
* We dress our kids in diaper/underwear and shorts only at night. No shirts and remove the comforters/blankets from the bed.
* Keep a water bottle with mostly ice and a little water in it on the bedside table and have a sip if we wake up hot.
* Last summer, we also purchased something called a 'swamp cooler' here, better known as an air cooler. It's portable and you fill the basin with 1/2 ice and 1/2 cold water and then it runs a fan over the mixture and blows the air into the room. It has several different speed options, an oscillating fan and will run for about 10 hours before it needs to be refilled. It beeps really loudly when it's low (so I don't have to worry about remembering). If you live in a dry climate, it works wonders, however, if you have high humidity, I wouldn't recommend it because it just makes it more humid. We love it!
* I suppose turning off the computers/printers, etc. would probably help, too, but I just never think to do this....
~ Here's another tidbit I picked up in a magazine article. The fastest way to cool your body off is to cool your blood. Dip your hands in ice water making sure to submerge your wrists as well (veins near the surface), which will in-turn cool your blood a little, thus cooling your entire body off a bit as your blood circulates. Keep your hands in the cold water as long as you can stand for maximum benefit.
What about you, what do you do to keep your house and family members relatively cool?