Monday, July 22, 2013

Hot and bothered: 8 AC-less ways to beat the heat this summer

I’m not so sure about the third one but it would work!  J

Worried about the impact running your AC will have on your utility bills? I certainly am. Check out these low-tech, renter-friendly ways to keep your cool this summer.
June 2010

I don’t know what the weather’s like where you live but here in Brooklyn it’s hot as blazes … only three days into summer and the sauna-like temps have me in a total panic about spikes in my electric bills.

Naturally, this has me thinking about creative ways that I can avoid using my two window-unit air conditioners (as much) over the coming weeks. As a renter living in a fourth-floor walk-up, home improvement projects like installing ceiling fans and replacing windows are out of the question so I thought I’d share some easy, low-tech tactics I plan on trying out to stay cool, keep my fossil fuel usage to a minimum, and, perhaps most importantly, save a few bucks as I sweat it out at home. 

• H 2 the O: I do this all the time anyways — I'm a thirsty kind of guy — but to keep me from having total freak outs when the ConEd bill arrives, I'll be making sure that my Britta pitcher is always full of ice-cold water and my body is naturally hydrated. Adding a sprig of mint to a glass of cold water helps, too. 

• Giving the oven a rest: The past couple of nights I must have been wearing my bad idea jeans (I should have been wearing nothing ... see tip below) because I used the oven to prepare dinner. After eating, I thought I'd pass out. And not because the food was that good ... my apartment felt like an oven. I think I'll be nuking meals in the microwave a bit more and keeping the oven and other heat sources like lamps off as much as possible. 

  Going au natural: I'm not sure if my roommate or the neighbors across the way are mentally prepared for "free shows" but this blogger will be wearing next to nothing while at home. 

• The blind side: The blinds in my apartment will remain shut and not just because I don't want my neighbors to catch a peek of me shuffling around in my underpants. For an apartment in NYC, my building gets awesome light which is a bit of burden in the summer when the sun is streaming in from all directions. 

• Fan club: Part of the reason I have such great light in my place is because I'm up high (a big drawback during the summer) and have multiple windows on three sides of my unit. As night, I'll be opening windows and using a couple of small fans to get a nice cross-breeze going. 

• Deep freeze: While we're on the topic of fans, here's a trick I've yet to try out: Put a handful of ice cubes or a couple of frozen water bottles in a chilled bowl and place it front of a fan. It's a super-effective way to cool down quick without cranking up the AC. 

• Cold showers and wet sheets: The first part of this tip is self-explanatory but wet sheets? Rumor is that placing a damp sheet in front of an open window or even sleeping with cold, damp sheets or bath towels provides relief. I'm willing to give it a shot. 

• Mr. Misty: It's high time that I invest in a spray bottle and fill it with cool water for instant refreshment. Adding a couple drops of tea tree oil supposedly works wonders. Maybe I'll multi-task and mist myself while my feet are plunged into a bucket of cold water and I suck on Otter Pops with cucumber slices placed over my eyes ( yet another good reason to have my blinds drawn). 

These are just a few easy, little or no-cost ways I plan on keeping my cool and not going broke this summer. Any tips you'd like to share? Also, be sure to check out Lighter Footstep's list of 20 ways for renters to stay cool and save money this summer and MNN advice columnist Chanie's words of wisdom on summertime energy savings