Cooling Off Without AC

Tips on keeping your cool if you don't have air conditioning

Written by HealthDay News

Updated on June 15, 2022

WEDNESDAY, July 3, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- The hot, sticky, humid weather is here, and the living can be anything but easy.

People who don't have air-conditioned homes have to find ways to endure the scorching conditions. Here are some tips from Steven Ridenour, a professor of mechanical engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Proper ventilation techniques, reducing your use of lights and electrical appliances, and turning off gas stove pilot lights can help reduce heat levels in your home.

At night, you should open your windows to let cooler air into your house or apartment, Ridenour says.

In the morning, close all windows and doors and keep them shut until your home becomes uncomfortable. Then open your windows and use a fan to pull air through your home.

Ridenour suggests you try to draw air into the lowest part of your house and vent it through a higher part of the building.

"If they can, opening a basement window or door helps draw cooler air up through the house. If that's not an option, opening the lower doors and windows on the shady -- or least sunny -- side of the house will suffice," Ridenour says in a statement.

He says you can use a fan on your home's upper floor to blow out the warm air and circulate the cool air. The best type of fan for that is a box-type, multi-speed window fan.

If you live in an apartment, Ridenour says you should open windows on opposite sides of your apartment unit in order to create a cross flow of air. A fan can pull air from the apartment's shady side and exhaust it out the sunny side.

You can also reduce the heat in your house or apartment by using blinds, shades or paper to block window sunlight.

Also, you should cook early in the day, and use an exhaust fan to pull heat out of the kitchen.

If it's still too hot in your home, Ridenour suggests you spend a couple of hours in an air-conditioned setting, such as a mall, library or grocery store, to give yourself some relief from the heat.

More information

The heat usually causes unhealthy layer of ozone pollution, which can be a hazard, particularly for kids playing outdoors. The American Lung Association offers a fact sheet on ozone pollution and children's health.

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