Staying Cool Without AC in Kingston

stay cool, sky writingIt’s something I’ve written about in the past, so I will apologize in advance for sounding like a broken record.  For both financial and environmental reasons, my household has gone without the modern convenience of air conditioning. I’m not going to sugar coat it, as the hot and humid conditions as of late have made me reconsider, which lead to some research as to what folks used to do before air conditioning was widely available.  To some, it might seem uncivilized to take a suit jacket off at a formal social gathering, while the image of families sleeping out on a fire escape in New York City doesn’t seem safe in this day and age.  Even so, both activities are illustrated in TreeHugger’s historical account of how we used to stay cool before the advent of AC.  Air conditioning was initially deployed to large businesses such as theaters, which made staying cool a luxurious, social and entertaining affair.  Nowadays though, if you’ve got an air conditioner installed in your house, chances are you’re less likely to move on those dog days of summer.  For the rest us us, this week’s question asks:

[poll id=”15″]

I’m not trying to demonize air conditioning, however too many people have become wildly addicted to this comfort.  There’s certainly a time and place for AC, but for the most part we can do without it.  The problem is, a lot of us have forgotten how to.  Thinking back on when I was a kid, we used to hang out in our basement on hot days, take a dip in the pool, and make our way to Mac’s for an ice cold Froster.  Nowadays, my wife and I employ most of the options listed in this week’s poll, although we’re still on the lookout for a safe and clean outdoor watering hole in the Limestone City.  If you’ve got a line on a great swimming spot along Kingston’s waterfront, please pass along the details.  Otherwise, I’d love to hear other ideas from Kingstonians who are staying cool without AC.

Special thanks to juliatenney for today’s photo of a sky writer high above Sydney, Austrailia.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

4 thoughts on “Staying Cool Without AC in Kingston

  • I tend to spend extra time at Indigo during the hot days of summer. They rarely kick people out for reading, and if you've got a laptop, it's an instant relocation of the home office.

  • Ah yes, the good old AC leach maneuver. Back in my undergrad days we used to take long walks through A&P, lingering for extended amounts of time in the dairy and frozen food aisles. The whole store is AC'd, but those two aisles were always way chillier. In the end, we never left there with much more than a cold or drink or something small, which is to say that we didn't go there to spend money. There are lots of similar options out there and I don't really see a problem with taking advantage of them. I mean, it would be great if stores didn't have AC, but since they do and we know it's going to be running, you might as well take advantage of it. While that kind of goes against everything I said above, the only thing worse than an unoccupied store with all it's lights on is an unoccupied store with the AC cranked.

  • Fill a large pot with water, pop it in the freezer for several hours, then sit it on a towel in front of a fan – hey presto, cheap cooling.

    I have seen people line their windows with aluminum foil to reflect sunlight. Not sure if it works all that well, but if you can keep the sunlight from pounding into your apartment or onto your blinds, then you are surely stopping some heat from entering your home.

    Indigo is a good recommendation, since as someone who works there, I can state that you will _never_ be asked to leave unless we are closing, you are being reckless with unpaid for merchandise, or being a nuisance to others in the store. It's a part of the store culture to welcome people to spend time in the store and enjoy their time there, which is why we provide seating, albeit on a limited basis due to the small size of our downtown store. <hopefully that didn't come across as a plug – I just wanted to clarify something>

  • In the 50s – 60s, my father tells of summer kitchens. A screened in area for cooking food which wouldn’t heat up the rest of the house. I have also heard of summer bedrooms, screened in areas where you would sleep to get the nice cool night air.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!