Life without air conditioning: It IS possible to survive!

It's been over ten years since I lived in a house with central air conditioning. For several of those years, I had one or more window units in my apartment, which was generally more than enough to keep me cool during the summer. A year ago, however, my wife and I moved into an apartment with barred windows. While the bars don't bother me too much, and I appreciate the security that they provide, they make it impossible for me to install window units. Consequently, my wife and I are now entering our second summer without air conditioning.

While I miss the ability to cool my home at the touch of a button, the lack of air conditioning hasn't been that much of a hardship. My apartment is well-shaded and, aside from a few particularly nasty days, we've generally found that it's possible to keep our home reasonably cool. On the bright side, our summer electric bills are very low, and we don't have that unfortunate hot-to-clammy or normal-to-melting transition that air conditioning always gave me whenever I walked in or out of the house.

If you're currently going without air conditioning, or are interested in giving natural ventilation a shot, here are a few suggestions to make the summer months a lot cooler: