One of the biggest concerns people have as summer approaches is what they'll do if their air conditioning system breaks down and how they'll keep cool when the temperatures rise to uncomfortable levels.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to minimize the discomfort and actually enjoy the summer without the convenient, artificial coolness (and the high cost) of AC.
In this article I've put together some fairly simple, yet effective ways of staying cool when the mercury rises toward and above three digits.
So don't worry if you suddenly find yourself without your chilling safety net as summer strikes, or if you simply don't have and/or can't afford to have air conditioning in your home.
You can still enjoy summer and be comfortable with these handy hints and tips:
Ways To Be Cool
Everybody knows that if you can find a spot in a shaded area to relax in, you'll be a lot cooler than if you chose to sit out under the direct rays of the sun. The same principle works for your home.
The idea is to create as much shade as possible to prevent the sun's searing rays from landing on the bricks and mortar walls or tiled roof and heating them up. If you can keep your home's walls cool, it can reduce temperatures inside by a massive amount.
This is because the sun directly heating up the bricks or masonry on the outside will radiate that heat inside. That can result in a 10-20 degree increase in the internal temperature. By preventing that happening, the interior of your home can stay considerably cooler.
Put up shading around the house on the walls the sun directly hits during the day, namely the east, south and west facing walls if you're in the northern hemisphere, or the east, north and west walls if you're in the southern hemisphere. You can fit permanent awnings that are retractable (for during cooler weather), put up shading screens or drape tight mesh netting over a simple framework.
Of course, the best shading of all is the natural kind provided by tall trees. If you already have them around the house, look after them because they're helping to keep you cool!
Paint Walls White
If you can't keep the sun off your walls by shading, you can at least reduce the amount of heat they'll absorb by painting them white. White absorbs less heat than darker colors, which can help to keep your home several degrees cooler during the hottest sunniest days.
Make sure your attic is correctly insulated with a radiant barrier as while this is great for helping to keep your home warmer in winter, it also acts to keep it cooler in summer by keeping the heat from penetrating through your home's roof.
You can also reduce the amount of outside heat getting into your home by keeping doors and windows closed when it's hottest and open them at night to let in cooler breezes.
Ceiling and Attic Fans
Keeping the air moving inside the house is generally a good idea as it helps the occupiers stay cooler by evaporating their perspiration just as nature intended.
An attic fan is another great way to help keep the internal temperature from rising by circulating air through the attic via openingsand preventing the attic stace getting to hot.
Get an Evaporative Cooler
A great, low cost alternative to AC is a portable evaporative, or swamp cooler (often referred to somewhat erroneously as a "ventless portable air conditioner"). This is a great machine that blasts out cold air but costs pennies to run since it has very little in common with the traditional AC process.
You can read more about this type of cost-cutting cooling solution here under the section on evaporative coolers to find out how they work and why they're so cheap to run.
All in all, there are many ways in which to keep feeling cooler at home when you don't have the luxury of a nice, but expensive system like maybe a room by room ductless mini-split air conditioner solution or complete house AC system doing it for you.
Common sense and a little innovation can help you come up with plenty of ways to survive the summer without artificial cooling and save you a lot of money on utility bills into the bargain.