Posted by: firstfruitsfarmne | June 30, 2008

Life Without Air Conditioning (is it possible?)

OK, I know some of you are shaking your head or rolling your eyes at how very spoiled and American my title is! As if people haven’t survived without it for thousands of years. I have been spoiled my entire life with air conditioning. My husband, however, grew up without it and thinks we could do without.

Nebraska is much different than Tennessee in regard to summer heat. In Tennessee, you roast a full six months out of the year, not as much from high temperatures as from the sauna-like humidity. Here, you have a few weeks of intense heat, usually in August, where triple digits are likely. That’s quite a difference. It may technically get hotter here, but it is brief compared to the south. So far, we’ve only had three or four days in the 90s. Even those days have cool evenings.

So far so good, I guess. I’m of the opinion that we should turn on the ancient old window unit in the living room on days that it reaches, say, 95 outside, at least during the hottest part of the day. We certainly can’t afford to keep it running much more than that. (We’re not even sure the old thing works!)

I am learning a few things I thought you might find interesting or humorous.

1. Every time you open your refrigerator or freezer door, you linger for a while.

2. You are less inclined to snuggle with your children on the couch as you read. (“PLEASE try not to touch me!”)

3. A cold shower is a reward!

4. You become more in tune with the weather. Every time a cloud blocks the sun you sigh a little.

5. When the sun sets you come alive!

6. You take joy in the silliest things. Like keeping a spray bottle of water in the fridge and spraying it all over yourself. Instant bliss!

7. Chocolate chips in the pantry will melt.

8. You can get emotionally attached to strange objects. Like window fans.

9. It is much more difficult to keep modesty in check. (“Um, why can’t I wear this?”)

10. Creativity is sparked. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Check out our new cooking porch:

We tried putting most of our heat producing appliances in an old laundry area so we could close the door and not heat the entire house. If we ever build, this will be a much more well thought out space, as we are thinking of using a wood cook stove.

Does anyone have any tips for me?



  1. We are on our second Texas summer without AC. It can be done and isn’t that bad. Sure it’s hot and there are days you just move slowly, but I would rather have heat than cold. I’m not a cold person. The showers are a blessing! As long as you can rinse off, it’s just what you need. Your right, you are in tune more with the weather. You feel every breeze and thank the Lord for it. I open all the windows in the house at night, and then right before the sun comes up I close them and the curtains. This helps with keeping that cool night air in. Once the temps again go down and the house is hotter than outside, open your windows again. Keep air rotatng with a fan, it helps. Put wet wash clothes in the fridge or freezer. Then wrap them around your neck, this is a wonderful treat. At night the boys sleep with one on their backs, because the house hasn’t cooled down enough. It sounds crazy but it’s been 99 in my house and stays around 95. Your body adjusts, and now my children are cold when we go anywhere with AC. ALso the root cellar is a great place to just cool off, or hang out. Noah and my husband (Logan) where pants usually even in the heat. I hope this helps.
    Just think of the money your saving, and how your being a good steward with what the Lord provides.
    Peace, Kris Antes

  2. Ah, you’ve created your very own summer kitchen! All the old farm houses around here have/used to have them. For my grandparents, it was a small, separate building right next to the house. That’s where my grandma did all the canning and such, so as to avoid heating up the house.

    I, too, am of the mind that AC is too expensive to have on except for the hottest days of the year. Unfortunately, DH is of the mindset that the AC should be on from April to October. What especially ironic about this is that MY favorite season is winter; HIS is summer!

  3. In france my familie moves to the cellar to cook and eat and is cooler! We open large the windows in the morning and close them before the heat arrives..keeping everything closed to keep the heat outside..We close all our shutters to help even more!

  4. We are doing the same this year. So far so good. As you said the humidity here in Tenn. makes the temp feel alot hotter than it is. We have one small window unit that we kick on around 4:00pm. for a couple of hours. And small unit that is ducted in to the music room that we turn on about an hour or so before practice. We have been able to save on the electic bill a good amount. I love having the windows open at night. There is no better way to go to sleep than listen to a night time lullaby by God’s critters.
    As for trying to not heat the house up while cooking. My mom taught me along time ago to cook all meals for the day in the morning before it heated up outside. Also I have been checking into summer kitchens. We are planning an addition to the bank of the house that includes an extra dinning area, but I think I would like to have an out-door kitcken instead. Maybe a screened in area with a stove or grill. My grandmother recently build a cabin on Ballplay that has a wood burning stove in the kitchen. She uses a grill on the front porch for cooking during this time of the year.
    It sound like you are having a grand adventure in your new home. And I know that the Lord has so much more in store for you and your family. God Bless. And Happy Birthday Kate.

  5. You made me smile! I am a spoiled air conditoned mama! I always wonder when I am sitting in my nice cool house how my great grandmother survived in 100+ degree weather! But she did! I don’t know if I would be a dedicated as you, I like my comfort too much.

  6. I will have to add that if you can cool in a pool it helps tremendously. We have ceiling fans in all the rooms and only turn on the window unit if company comes generally. We have a pool that we cool off in and that helps. Other wise, I love the fresh air and the smells of the grasses and flowers and coming from Georgia appreciate that the sweltering heat and humidity doesn’t last. 🙂

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