Where I live the summer's get pretty hot and muggy, many times temps will be 90s and 100s, with humidity at or above 50 percent. And if I ran the A/C, my electric bill would be close to or above $400 a month, way more than I can afford! So I came up with a way to stay comfortable without running up the A/C bill.
I put two 20 inch box fans in each room that's occupied. One is put in a window that does not get the afternoon sun, and it is blowing into the house.
The other is put in a window on the opposite side of the room, blowing out. This way it creates a draft and the out-blowing fan pulls the air through the room. I do this and many times it's brought my indoor temps down by approximately 20 degrees! I rarely have to turn the a/c on, except on the very hottest days.
The front of my house faces directly into the hot summer sun, so another thing I do is I go to the automotive department of Wal-Mart and buy the window film that is supposed to go on the car windows. I buy the one that only allows 5 percent of the light through. I cover all of my windows on the front of the house with this film. The film allows me to see out, but doesn't allow hardly any hot sun to come in.
After summer is over when it's time to take the film down, I tape wax paper to it covering the entire sheet. Then I take a dowel the width of the film plus 2 inches (for handles) and simply roll it off the window. Then it's easy to re-use the next summer.
Between the fans and the film, my summer time electric bill dropped from about $400 to less than $150. Well worth the time it takes to set this up!
Oh, I almost forgot the animals! When it does start getting a little warm, I can always strip off some clothes or wear something much cooler. Poor pets can't do that. So if they get uncomfortable, I take a wet wash cloth (or towel if you have big dogs) and make them lay down on the kitchen floor where it's cool. I put the washcloth so that it covers their chest and belly. I also put another wet cloth across their head. They don't like it but it cools them off. Especially if I set a real small fan so that it blows lightly on them.
If that's not enough for them, I soak them down with water, then towel dry them enough so they don't drip and let them go.
For the cat, LOL that's another matter! Now that's a battle! But I take him and put him in the sink and douse him with cool water. I towel him dry just enough so he's not dripping and let him go. The cool water keeps him cool for hours.
By Cricket from Parkton, NC
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Remember in a heat wave - water evaporating has a cooling effect. Like the old days, I put small bowls of water/ice cubes in front of my fans to get some cooling.
Another cooling tip - try to be aware of the direction of the ventilation where you are - & if it is, say, for example cool outside, but still warm inside, direct the cool air in (and the warm air out) rather than just moving around the warm air inside!
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I have central air conditioning, but I try not to use it except in extreme conditions, like very high humidity or rain on a hot day.