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No A/C, No Problem – Use These Tricks to Stay Cool In the Summer Heat


It turns out that there are simpler methods than air conditioning to keep a room or home cool and save you a ton of money.

That’s useful, since depending on your temperature preference and frugality, running an air conditioning unit can cost anywhere from $ 14 to $ 211 per month.

Here in Italy, the ground floor units don’t even have air conditioning, as all the buildings are made of blocks and concrete, and all the windows have wooden slat shutters to let in the breeze and keep out the sun.

If installing brown wood slat shutters is not an option, try pieces of brown cardboard; cut small slots for mail to brighten the room or switch to darker curtains.

Beyond that, here are some innovative and sometimes old-fashioned ways to stay fresh and save money.

Use ice

Have you ever heard the story of how kitchens, hotels, and even cities had giant blocks of ice on train cars for cooling purposes before electricity existed? That still works today and is cheaper than air conditioning.

If you live in a 1 bed, 1 bath, or studio apartment, try soaking a couple of towels, rolling them in a C shape, and freezing them. Once they’re frozen, place them on your head like a crown, around your neck like an airplane pillow, or around the femoral arteries in your thighs. This will cool you down immediately.

Alternatively, you can freeze water in a large block by placing a bowl or plastic bottle in the freezer (which will also save you money by keeping the freezer colder and reducing the time it takes to refreeze) and placing it on a table in front to a fan. The air blown by the fan will cool as it runs through the ice.

Use evaporation

If you leave the windows open to let in the breeze in the summer, submerge the curtains in water. The breeze will evaporate the water, cooling it to a comfortable temperature, before blowing it around the house.

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Sleeping under a damp sheet with a fan on top will work just as well as any air conditioning unit – as the water soaks into your skin and then evaporates, it will make you too cold. A wet T-shirt would act similarly.

Change your meals

Oddly enough, there is a reason spicy food comes from hot places. No one cooks vindaloo curry in Latvia or Harbin, and that’s because the chemical capsaicin in spicy foods is an irritant that makes us sweat. Sweat in an icy arctic wind will kill you, but in warmer climates it will chill you.

Hot drinks are great for this too, particularly hot peppermint tea, as the peppermint will feel cool and refreshing, while the heat from the tea will make you sweat. Drink in front of a fan for maximum benefit (although note that if you are in a humid area, this trick will not work as well as sweat cannot be properly removed from your body).

Lastly, salty or rich foods have been shown to increase core body temperature. To combat this, eat smaller meals more often, cut out hot salt and protein (a cold meat sandwich is not bad) for fruits and vegetables, and leave the oven and stove off to reduce heat radiation into your home (saving you more money while you’re at it).

Other tips

Honorable mention for anyone who had the idea to leave moisturizers in the fridge. Imagine the need to rehydrate your skin and be almost icy at the same time!

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Some ceiling fans can change the direction they rotate. In winter, clockwise is better, but during summer, counter-clockwise is where it is, pushing hot air around the level of our head and shoulders towards the floor and circulating the cold air, which naturally sinks, towards the ceiling.

Does anyone shower cold?

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