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How To Survive The Summer
In PHX Without AC

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Even Though All Of The Options Are Definitely Not Great, They Might Just Be The Only Thing That Will Save Residents Of The Phoenix Metro If For One Reason Or The Other They Don’t Have Air Conditioning


By Ryan Scott
Modern Times Magazine

June 14, 2016 — There is no hiding from it now. If you live in Arizona, it is painfully obvious that summer has arrived. After a relatively tame May, by Valley of the Sun standards, the first week of June seemed like punishment for thinking that we might be able to enjoy a summer in Phoenix without the constant threat of heatstroke or second degree burns from the metal on your seatbelt buckle. Unfortunately for most of us, the only real escape from the blistering triple digit temperatures is to crank up the air conditioning in our houses or apartments and just bit the bullet on our power bill.

According to Eye On Housing, Arizona is among the most expensive places in the country in terms of a monthly electricity bill, and that is largely due to the fact that we have give or take 5 months of very high temperatures where we need to run our AC in order to survive. However, as rent rates all over the country have soared in recent years and that can make the idea of surrendering over a ton of money to SRP or APS every month just to not sweat buckets in your own home a bit more tough.

When that first very high power bill comes in, there may be that instinctive reaction in you to rebel against the system and say “enough is enough!”

Are today’s Valley residents able to survive the summer months without air conditioning? Well, the fact of the matter is that we live in a state where 100 degree weather is just part of the deal, so your options are limited and not all great. Most of them not even good, admittedly.

Pool Time
This option essentially relies on the idea that you will spend a certain amount of time at work, where they will presumably be paying the AC bill and keeping you cool during work hours. But on your own time, you can just try and live at the pool. If you have a house with a pool, that would be ideal, but if you have an apartment or condo with a community pool, that will have to do. Kicking it at the pool has always been a good way to cool off, so if you just make it a way of life, then that could potentially work. Sure, there are a lot of massive impracticalities here, but you can work on your tan and save on cooling costs. Though, your sunscreen bills are going to go up significantly.

Don’t Go Home
This strategy simply won’t work for families. At best, this will work for you and a significant other who is for some reason as on board with this idea as you are. Again, your workplace is probably going to be air conditioned to some degree, so that covers a decent chunk of your time. Outside  of that, you can just mooch time at other places. Get a gym membership and spend as much time there as you can. You can just be “that guy” who is there all the time. Go sit at Starbucks and watch Netflix on your laptop. The library is also a solid option if you can stand being quiet for long periods of time. Maybe occasionally go crash at a friends place and and bask in the glow of their air conditioned home. This strategy may make you feel a bit homeless, but you won’t have to sweat and it can actually work. Just go home to sleep and run the AC at night, which is the cheapest time to run it, and you're good to go.

Fans and Ice
This is perhaps that most unlikely option, but if you feel strongly enough about protesting high power bills, this will get it done. Basically, just get as many fans as humanly possible into your house to keep the air moving. It will help a bit. Get curtains, sheets, tin foil or whatever you can to cover up your windows as best you can to keep the sun from getting in. And lastly, get a ton of ice packs, ice and anything like that you can use to keep yourself cool. You are still going to sweat, but you can minimize the damage. You can keep you AC on but crank it way up just to minimize the suffering and sort of find a happy middle ground here. Again, admittedly not an excellent option, but we’re just laying out possibilities here.

Swamp Cooler
Last but most certainly not least, a swamp cooler is a very honest to goodness option for those looking to escape the expense of an air conditioner. Swamp coolers were once a very popular option on Arizona, but in recent years they have dwindled. Basically, you have to live in a hot, dry climate for them to work. Arizona checks both of those boxes. The problem is that swamp coolers take a bit more maintenance and upkeep than an AC unit. Though, Home Depot and other retailers sell smaller swamp cooler units that can cool off a smaller space. So, if you don’t want to invest in an install, that can totally work. They are much cheaper to run and ultimately are pretty cost effective. This may very well be the best option to stay cool but also save some money this summer.

The fact of the matter is, the primary reason that people starting moving in mass to Phoenix was the advent of central cooling. So, to rebel against the expense of it is kind of a backwards idea, but an understandable one. If you really can’t stand the heat, moving may be the best option in the long run if it is at all possible, because Phoenix is just a hot place to live. Plain and simple. So, outside of some fairly outlandish ways to live for several months out of the year, biting the bullet and paying for AC is probably the best way to go.
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