South Bend family sweats through the heat without air conditioning

All of us have been dealing with the extreme heat this week, but one family chooses to sweat it out and live without air conditioning.

The Meyer family lives in South Bend, and for the last four years, they have been dealing with the heat without air conditioning.

We visited them before it started getting really hot, and they showed us how they beat the heat, along with some of the benefits of living without air conditioning.

The family finds itself outside most of the time, in the shade of the trees or on the front porch. This is a benefit to the mom of the house, Laura Meyer.

She says, “If you don’t have the air on, they go outside. It is almost cooler to be out and in the shade than sit inside the house.”

The Meyers cannot even turn the air on.

Dad Mike Meyer says, “We’ve got a leak in the refrigerant line. They had filled the lines up with

Laura says, “At that point, we were like, ‘Let’s duke it out this summer.’ I mean, how many days does it get above 90 in South Bend?”

Not that many, actually. We typically have fourteen 90 degree days per summer.

“There are so many expenses with five kids. Air conditioning is a luxury in my boat.”

What do the kids think? They are keeping cool with popsicles and more water.

The Meyers’ son says, “You kind of get used to it. When I go in air conditioned places, I kind of need a sweater. It is kind of cold in here….Usually, when I get hot and dripping with sweat, I pull out a pair of goggles, and I throw them on and envision myself in a pool, so that it’s this nice, cool, refreshing pool I am sitting in.”

In all seriousness, their electric bill is never over one hundred dollars.

Mike showed us how the family deals with the heat.

He says, “We just try to keep all the blinds closed, the curtains closed. Keep the direct sun from heating up the front of the house, and then, we open up the front and back door to pull a breeze through the house, so any kind of breeze, we can open all the upstairs windows to pull air into the bedrooms.”

The Meyer family has a tulip tree that covers two-thirds of the backyard in shade. Once the morning sun gets up, it keeps the back side of the house cool.

The family has to sleep inside the home, even on sweltering nights.

Laura says, “It almost feels ten degrees hotter each floor when you are walking up. It is death defying.”

All of the bedrooms have either a ceiling fan or personal fans.

Mike says, “It’s when the humidity is up really high and above 70 at night. That is when it is brutal.”

A dehumidifier helps keep things dry and cool in the basement, and dealing with no air conditioner is something the Meyers plan on doing even during the dog days of summer.

Laura says, “We all are going to sweat a little bit because who has that kind of money.”

Mike says, “We’ll have two in college for the next eight to ten years, so it will get done some day, but probably not soon.”

I talked to the Meyers on Wednesday night to see how they are doing. They are hanging in there, but it has been uncomfortable. They have been at the pool or a lake every day this week and have slept in the basement most nights.

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