Air Conditioners are expensive, noisy and difficult to store so why not try something else?

Summer is upon us and many of us of have begun to feel the sweltering heat of the sun. Some parts of the country are experiencing severe droughts and others are bogged down in humidity. No matter what your situation, we all have the same desire to cool off and the answer isn't always as simple as turning on the air conditioner. Here are some economical and environmentally friendly ways to cool off this summer without an AC:

1. Fan Placement

We can't stress this enough. Fan placement is key! Plopping a standing or desk fan down in front of your face might feel nice for a moment but it doesn't really do anything to cool your home or your body off. When possible you should always place your face in front of a doorway or window. With the back of the fan facing the outside you can be assured that the fan will be blowing fresh cool air into your home instead of just circulating the hot stale air that's already in it. You can also create a series of fans. Think of the air as water flowing through your home and you can channel it to those rooms that might not have a window or good air flow.

2. Ancient Air Conditioning

Many ancient civilizations like the Romans and Moors had mini waterways which flowed through the rooms of a palace to lower the room temperature. Now before you start digging little waterways in your bedroom you might want to consider a much easier technique which follows the same principle. Freeze a bucket, bowl or pot full of water and place it in front of a fan. As the ice melts and evaporates the cool air will blow wherever your direct the fan. This is a great thing to set up before you go to bed. You can even setup a miniature version with a bowl and a small desk fan on your nightstand (add some salt to the water before you freeze it to make the ice even colder).

3. Ice Packs

Ice packs are your friend, they might not last long but they can definitely help get you to sleep on those deathly hot night. Have a few stored in the freezer and put them in a pillowcase so they're not too cold on your body. Remember cold air sinks and ice packs can bust open so you're best to sleep with them on top of you instead of under.

4. Turn on Vent Fans

Most homes and apartments are equipped with a hood fan above their stove and a fan in the bathroom. There's no harm in putting these low energy fans on to suck out the hot air that's lingering in your home. These are especially useful in apartment bathrooms where there are often no windows and the fan can help to create airflow.

5. Turn Off Everything!

This one might sound obvious but you'd be surprised how often we forget to turn off all unnecessary appliances and devices. Lights, electronics and some appliances can give off a tremendous amount of heat so make sure everything is off and even unplugged on hot nights. You may even want to switch to LED lights (like the GE Link featured here) which have a much lower operating temperature. Bonus: if you have a gas fireplace do not forget to shut off the pilot light and turn the gas off completely!