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Keeping cool without air conditioning.

Keeping Cool without Air Conditioning

by Dean Robertson

Keeping cool in hot weather is very important. Heat stroke and dehydration are serious problems in the summer. The elderly, infirm and the very young have a greater risk of health problems associated with hot weather. It is possible to avoid over-using the air conditioner but it is very important to stay hydrated and avoid over-heating. These few tips will help us keep cool without over using the AC.

The Christmas-New Year period was very hot in the Wimmera Mallee. The remainder of summer will also include some very hot days. When it is hot, there is a great temptation to turn the air conditioner on cool and let it run 24 hours a day. This will keep the house very cool and will also use a lot of electricity. The Wimmera Mallee Sustainability Alliance (WMSA) would like to offer a few tips for keeping cool without over-using the air conditioner.

An easy item to consider in the heat is clothing. In the winter, we dress in layers to retain body heat. The opposite is true in the summer. Loose, light clothing that allows air through to the body and permits sweat to evaporate is best. Sunburn can also be a problem on very hot days so make sure to stay out of the sun when wearing clothes that will not block the sun.

It is very important to stay well-hydrated in hot weather. Drinking lots of water replaces moisture lost as sweat which forms on the skin. Sweat is the body’s way of reducing heat so this is positive. Water can also be used on the skin directly. A damp shirt, a wet towel on the back of the neck or a squirt bottle will all help keep us cool. A little bit of water can help relieve a lot of heat during the hottest part of the day. Avoid alcohol as much as possible
in the heat. Even though a cold beer is refreshing, alcohol can act as a diuretic and add to dehydration in the heat.

Closing windows and blinds during the day can make a big difference to the heat inside a house. Heat tends to radiate into a house through the windows. If the amount of heat entering the house can be limited, the house will remain somewhat cooler. Windows can be opened later in the day to entice evening cooling breezes through the house.

Another idea to keep cool is to keep a supply of ice treats in the freezer. Frozen cordial ice blocks and frozen fruit make great snacks and can really help keep us cool. Sliced watermelon or oranges are great straight out of the freezer. Sucking on a cool treat will help keep the heat at bay.

Insulation in the floors and windows, as well as the ceiling, can significantly reduce the amount of heat gain in the summer (and heat lost in the winter). WMSA highly recommends wall and floor insulation if a householder has the opportunity to install it. Householders undertaking renovations are advised to contact a Building Surveyor on the new requirements to meet energy efficiency ratings.

Even though the human race existed for thousands of years without air conditioning, some days and nights are just unbearable without it. In some cases, using the AC may be necessary due to extreme heatwave conditions or poor health. There are ways to use an air-conditioner without a huge electricity bill. Firstly, don’t turn the AC to its lowest setting. If it is 35 degrees outside, 25 degrees inside the house will provide ample relief. Every
degree lower that the AC is set will add at least 5% to the electricity consumption. Use the AC sparingly. It may be possible to run the AC for a few hours to relieve the hottest time of the day. Many AC’s have timers so
they can be set to turn off an hour or two after bedtime.

Using the AC may be unavoidable but the simple tips for keeping cool can help reduce the expense. Keeping cool is very important. Heat stroke and dehydration are serious problems in the summer. It is very important to stay hydrated and avoid over-heating.

Please Contact WMSA for more information.

Sustainability Tips
  In the Home consider low water use plants for the garden.

At work open window shades for light rather than running electric globes all day.

When driving don't drive. Consider walking or riding to the shops or work.
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