Even though our heat is still on, I am thinking about summer. My memories of summers spent on a lake are really good ones. My sister and I and our friends always looked forward to summer and the fun we would have swimming, sun bathing, water skiing, and out in the motor boats. This was back in the 1950's and we loved every minute of it.
But when I think of those times, there is something that I don't remember. I don't remember being hot or complaining about the heat. We didn't have air conditioning at the camp or in my grandparent's home in the city where we grew up. I don't even remember a fan cooling us. We played outside and if we got hot, we came inside for a while to sit, drink some water, and cool down. I do remember sometimes taking a washcloth cooled down by cold water and washing my face. But other than those few things, I don't remember being hot.
So today why is it, that the minute we feel the slightest bit warm, we turn the air conditioning on? Have we become so used to just pushing that button that we don't even consider any other way to cool down. Have we become soft and so spoiled that we just rely on that A/C?
I know it is very enjoyable but do we really just need to set it and forget it from May until September? It is a very expensive way to live. A/C bills in the summer are a killer. I know there are days that would be just unbearable without it but is that the case every day?
We live in a very humid climate here. We have two Great Lakes within 30 minutes of us. That makes for humid summers but there are many days that we don't need A/C to keep cool.
We have installed 5 large ceiling fans in the most used rooms of our home. When we are in one of those rooms, we turn that fan on to keep cool. When we leave a room, we turn the fan off. Ceiling fans don't keep you cool by being on in a room that is unoccupied. Many days during the summer, these fans suffice. Make sure in the summer that you have turned your ceiling fans forward (counter clockwise) so that they force the cool air down onto you. It is the opposite direction in the winter.
If the ceiling fans aren't doing the job, try adding a portable fan blowing onto you in the room you are in. We have two portable fans. They get used mostly in the kitchen and the great room. When the grandchildren stay overnight, they get used in those rooms.
Another thing that Hubby and I do is to keep the windows closed and the shades drawn on them during the heat of the day. When the sun goes down and the evening air cools, we open the windows for the night. In the morning, we close things back up a again.
We always have cold water and homemade iced tea to cool us off.
We also cook outside as much as possible as to not heat up the house. Between our outside grill and our small appliances, there isn't much that we can't cook out on the patio. We try to make our stove and oven just a decoration for the summer.
When we have a really humid spell, we will use the A/C. We make sure to change the air filter in the furnace every month. Make sure that your home is air tight by caulking or weather stripping where you need to. We keep the temp at about 78- 79 when the A/C is on.
We spend a lot of time outside on our property in the summer. We enjoy the fresh air. In our last two homes, we had in ground swimming pools. It was a great way to stay cool in the SW heat. The other home that had the pool was the one our children grew up in. They stayed cool in that pool all summer.
So this summer, think twice before you just automatically turn the A/C on. Ask yourself do I really need it? Or is it just a force of habit? Will the fans be enough? Can I cool the house down at night by opening the windows? I will be asking myself those questions and just not automatically turning on the A/C. I would like to put more money into investments this summer instead of in the energy company's pocket.