Cheap Ventilation

Day by day, my daughter and I are working to recover from the financial blow my injury caused. My daughter has managed to land a part time job at a grocery store and is contributing a portion of her paycheck every week to help with bills. It isn’t a whole lot (they don’t give her many hours, and it only pays minimum wage) but it helps.

In the meantime, I’ve hopefully recovered enough to try some simple part-time work. I’m greatly limited by my limitations (fast food is definitely out of the picture at present) but I’ve submitted some applications at the few places around here that I feel I might be qualified for. Even if I only worked a few hours a week it would help greatly to pay back the money I owe my landlord for back rent.

While I wait, I stay busy writing and working on my skills to improve them for the time when I land a job. I’m busy on another novel for the other pen name I told you about. It’s definitely not high quality reading but if it brings in a little money that is better than none at all.

We’ve resolved to keep our bills as low as possible while we recover financially. For the moment that means that we’ve decided to hold off on installing our little window air conditioner despite the warmth of the days. Instead, we’ve opted for a cheaper solution.

In order to provide ventilation in the house, we open the back door. We latch the screen door and place a small barricade in front of it to deter any potential intruders. While it only stays open during the day while we are awake, the little barrier makes me feel a bit safer. Since our front “screen” door doesn’t actually have a screen, I prop it open with a chair and place a baby gate from my grandson’s younger days across the opening to keep the dogs contained. This combined with the ceiling fan in the living room and a fan in my daughter’s room, allow for a crosscurrent of air to flow through the house.

It’s actually staying rather comfortable in here. I’m honestly surprised. The back porch is shaded due to the trees that surround our back yard, and the covered porch on the front allows some protection from the heat of the sun in the afternoons so the breeze that flows through the house is a comfortable temperature.

To keep even cooler I’ve shifted my primary hangout from the kitchen to the living room. That way we don’t have to invest in another fan. It stays darker in the living room, which also keeps it cooler in here. Considering that we’ve congregated in the kitchen almost since the first day we moved in here, this room is getting used more than it ever has. I’m sure that my poor kitchen is feeling neglected as a result.

Once it gets late enough that I feel uncomfortable, I shut and lock the doors. An open window in the living room and another in the bathroom allow for a smaller (but no less effective) breeze through the home while we sleep.

It’s a bit noisier at night with the windows cracked but that’s better than roasting, though usually before the night is over I shut both windows to hold in the cool air. This house is nicely insulated so the method is quite effective.

The next day we repeat the process, starting with opening the doors. Once I feel more comfortable with our finances I will install the air conditioner.

What are you doing to reduce your energy expenses? Please share your stories in the comments below.

If you would like to learn about more ways to save money, check out my book The Shoestring Girl: How I Live On Practically Nothing and You Can Tooavailable at the following retailers.


    • Annie

      Hi Karen!

      While I have no intention of starting a kickstarter, I do have donation links on my About page. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Sending hugs, Annie.

  • AngelWings

    Hi Annie:

    I live in Arizona and around here we turn off the AC unit at night. I have learned how to sleep well with both of the bedroom windows open. I turn on the bedroom ceiling fan and I have two purple box fans (which I bought at Walmart Store) and turn them on. Since I have both windows open, I get cross ventilation, plus the fans on. I just sleep on my bed without any covers and it works great. I do turn on ceiling fans in the rooms in the daytime,along with the AC in summer.

    You know that I will be moving back to my smaller town by the end of this summer and I can’t wait. It’s actually several degrees cooler in summer and there are the monsoon storms with more rain. We’re lucky here that the joke is “it’s a dry heat”! I tried spending a summer up north and I couldn’t take all the humidity.

    I can’t believe how much older Katie is now. I can remember your posts where you were washing her “stuffies” in the washer. Hahaha… She must be glad to have a little more spending money. It feels good to help out your folks when you’re a teen.

    Keep writing!

    • Annie

      Hi AngelWings!

      It is amazong how fast she has grown up. I am still boggled by it.

      Please share your adventures when you move back to your smaller town! I look forward to hearing them! And you are right–the humidity is horrible here!

  • Cam Coogan

    Hey Annie, love your cheap ventilation ideas. I work with seniors without air-conditioning who also do what you do- use and strategic placement of fans, window coverings to block the hot sun, spending more time in the cooler parts of the house.

    Things I do to save money is hanging my laundry to dry, turning off lights when I leave the room, and definitely using fans to cool off, though we do have a/c.

    Still working to reduce my expenses and I always find your posts motivating and inspiring.

    Wishing you all the best in your quest to find a job.

  • wygirl

    I’ve been using fans & swamp coolers for years. Living out here in the west where the humidity is usually low swamp/evaporative coolers work well. I have multi ceiling fans that help with air flow. we can usually turn off the cooler at night. Just leaving the windows open with the fans works well.

    • Annie

      I’ve never been around a swamp cooler. It is very humid in this area so they aren’t used. I would love to see one some day. Good for you on saving money on your cooling expense!