Want to learn more about Amish traditions, culture, and heritage? Want to see how The Amish Village changes over the seasons? We pack our blog with helpful articles all about the Amish culture and some news about The Amish Village.
How the Amish Keep Cool in the Summer Heat
With record temperatures blanketing most of the country this summer, we are all looking for ways to keep cool. For many, keeping cool means turning down the temperature on our central air or window AC units. But, what do you do if you don’t have AC?
In Lancaster County, Amish families are among those who don’t use air conditioning to keep their homes cool when the temperatures soar. In the Amish culture, air conditioning is viewed as an unnecessary luxury that is not required to live. Because of this, the plain community is well-adapted to the heat and has several methods to beat the heat during the hottest months.
Keeping Cool Indoors
Just like you and I, the Amish rely on cool summer nights to provide some sweet relief from the heat. Many Amish homes are built with plenty of windows to help circulate the air and bring in the cooler overnight temperatures. They open the windows on the top floors to help the heat escape while the family retreats to the lower grounds within their homes for comfort. In some Amish homes, the basement is used as a family gathering place for dining or playing games. It’s also not common for the Amish to use battery-powered fans to help keep cool.
The Amish also build and design their homes for optimal thermal comfort. For example, sometimes concrete floors are added to homes or they may choose to build at a location that avoids long afternoon sun exposure. As you tour the backroads of Lancaster County you will also notice strategically placed landscaping and trees that provide shade around the exterior of their homes.
Many Amish houses also have a summer kitchen. A summer kitchen is a space connected to or nearby the home designed for cooking, smoking, pickling, or canning in the summer months. The main purpose of the summer kitchen is to keep the heat and smell of cooking out of the main living quarters.
Ways to Stay Cool Outside
The Amish are born and raised without air conditioning, which has helped them become more tolerant of working and playing in the summer heat. Amish families tend to rise early in the morning to complete their chores before the sun comes up. On hot days after finishing up work, it’s common to find the Amish doing many of the things you might do to stay cool. Topping the list of cool summer activities for the Amish include:
- Swimming in nearby ponds or creeks
- Relaxing under a big tree with friends or reading materials
- Dining in a local restaurant where air conditioning is offered
- Shopping in open-air markets or big box stores like Costco
- Enjoying an ice cream cone from the local ice cream parlor
To learn more about the Amish and how the community adapts to the summer heat, visit The Amish Village for our guided Farmhouse Tour or 90-minute Backroads Bus Tour that travels past many Amish farms.