Wednesday, June 21, 2006

When It's Oh So Hot

I don't have it together for Works-for-Me-Wednesday. I'm too busy recovering from an outing in this sizzling heat! Muggy Tennessee has a heat index of over 100 degrees this week. Our electric bill just arrived, at $100 for the previous, cooler period--yikes! (Though I will admit that in my hugely pregnant state, I was dipping the thermostat needle lower than it's ever been set in our home!)

My goal is to reduce the next month's bill by 10%, which will be a challenge, given the hotter outdoor weather. I'm frustrated by most tips for keeping the thermostat low. It seems like they're oriented to people who have jobs and are out of the house all day! We close the blinds and turn on the ceiling fans. We dress in light clothing and perhaps take our baths in the afternoon instead of evening. We switch our bedcoverings to thin cotton coverlets. We drink a lot of ice water! It's going to take some creativity to make the meter slow down for July!

Sometimes it just helps to get out of the house. Claire at Tired But Happy has a great list of air-conditioned outings. Today made it to the library, where I plopped myself directly under a ceiling vent. Aaah, blessed relief!


Anonymous said...

Illinois isn't much better as far as the heat index goes. I, too, am pregnant, and I am SO HOT all the time...I set the thermostat way too low during the day also, and my husband has a fit when he gets home. We live among thousands of acres of cornfields, so there aren't too many cool places for us to escape to when the temp is rising and it's dripping with humidity outside. Still, if a mom can swing it, I think it's a good idea to leave the house for the hot part of the day and not have to cool the house as much. Here's hoping to cooler weather in both Tennessee and Illinois!
Susan in Illinois

Anonymous said...

This is what we do:

Open the downstairs windows at night (bottom half) open the upstairs windows (top half) at the same time. Put a fan blowing out of the top window. This pulls the cool air through the house. Close the windows and blinds when the sun comes up and turn your fans on to circulate cool air. Put an aluminum foil covered board in the western windows to reflect heat OUT.

Go to the pool and bathe and shower at the pool. That may be tough with a newborn.

If you MUST cook, use the crockpot outdoors on the porch. Or, of course, grill.

Think about the soldiers in Iraq (120 degree heat) or, worst case, Scarlett O'Hara's poor servants who had to fan her in the miserable humidity.

Use an air conditioner after about 3 pm and save money somewhere else : )

Debbie (sweltering in the North)

Anonymous said...

Here's a cooling idea:

Spend $6-7 on a wading pool at a dollar store (Big Lots, Dollar General, etc) and spend your afternoons +/or evenings in it. Set it up in a spot in your backyard that gets plenty of sun (you'll want the water warmed a little) and fill the pool from your hose at night so it starts warming as soon as the sun comes up.

If you pay for your water, this may not be such a saver, but I used to do this when I lived at my parents' non-A/C-ed place after college - really helped. I would do it now except we're in a 3rd floor apt with no hose. :)

DonnaB said...

I'm not looking forward to the higher electric bills either. 8-(

MommyLydia said...

I grew up in Houston, TX and we didn't use the A/C during the day. We had an attic fan my dad installed that at least moved around the hot air -- so we'd open the windows and close the curtains and we just dealt, beyond that. I have learned (after growing up) that my mother closed the windows and turned on the A/C shortly before my dad got home so he got the benefit of air conditioning. And when she got up early in the morning she'd turn off the a/c and open the windows to give the house a leg up on getting cooler ebfore the heat of the day.

but to some extent, we just learned to live with it hot (And muggy) because that was the way it was.

MommyLydia said...

PS and my mom used the microwave oven adn the crockpot a LOT. She didn't cook or bake much at all that I recall -- only after I grew up did I realize that much of that was because Houston was so hot she did not want to add to the heat in the house.

And we drank LOTS of Kool-aid and there was lots of tea available for the adults to drink.

Marie said...

Pleae, please try this:

wet a hand towel or kitchen towel, wring it out, twist it, and tuck it under your shirt like a little collar. It is not the most beautiful accessory but it really helps to keep you cool. . .FRUGALLY.

SheaLuna said...

You may have thought of these already, but here's my two cents. Don't use the drier! Hang dry everything. Also, as much as possible, leave lights off. You would be amazed at how much heat simple little lightbulbs give off! We do this at work because our building is older and has no air conditioning. We leave the lights off all day, and not only is the energy bill lower, but the heat indoors is reduced by 5 to 10 degrees!

Queen of Carrots said...

OK, now I'm feeling guilty. I cannot deal with heat. I try to leave the A/C off, or bumped up, but as soon as the temperature inside hits 76 degrees, I am a useless blob, no matter how hard I try to keep functioning. I've lived back here for three years, but I still have Seattle blood. And just going through the heat to get to the air-conditioned places cancels out the good of the outing.

I can at least do things to help the A/C not work as hard, though. Off go the lights.

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

This may be hard with kids as well, but I go to the dollar movie to get out of the house and enjoy the AC sometimes. It costs 2.50 in my area, but that's cheaper than drinks at Starbucks, and no temptation like a bookstore or mall.

The library is also a favorite of mine.

I once lived in a hot, hot studio with no AC. I used to soak a shirt first thing in the morning, then stick it in the freezer. At night I'd sleep in the wet frozen shirt with a fan blowing on me. Not the most comfortable, but I was desperate.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Meredith, sounds like you are doing everything right already! But, one thing we also do is close some of the vents that are in areas we don't need to keep as cool like the master bath, entry way, etc... or if you aren't in your bedroom much during the day - you could close those vents and the door to route that air to the other parts of the house and just open up at night.
I'm sweltering with you - here in the south...