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Tips for staying cool without air conditioning

No-cost and Low-cost, Seasonal Updated: June 6, 2022

Cool off without AC during the summer months with these simple tips

As summer heat approaches, it’s a good idea to have some strategies in place for staying cool and comfortable. Air conditioning is always the best solution for sweltering temperatures, but there are many reasons people choose not to air condition their homes. Keep your indoor space cool by following these simple tips.

Windows

a window with a shade drawnA considerable amount of heat comes in through your windows, especially windows facing direct sunlight. In the summer, windows on the east and west sides of your home receive the most heat from the sun while southern facing windows receive the most heat during the winter. The most important thing to keeping your home cool is to cover your windows, which you can do in several ways:

  • Awnings installed outside your windows shield them from the sun and can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 77%. Retractable awnings can be closed during the winter to let in the sun.
  • Window film is a thin layer that sticks to the window glass and reduces solar heat and UV rays entering the home. Some window films can reduce up to 78% of the sun’s heat coming through your windows.
  • Blackout curtains, or window shades like energy-efficient cellular shades, are also a great option to help you manage how much light and heat enters your home.

Light bulbs

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones like LEDs or compact florescent lamps can have a significant impact on the temperature of your home, as well as your energy bill. LEDs use up to 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can also reduce the amount of heat generated from inside your home.a person screwing in a lightbulb

Fans

a fan in a bedroomFans cool people, not rooms, by drawing air in from behind and circulating it around the room to create a wind chill effect. However, you can get more out of your fans with just a few minor adjustments. Since cold air is denser than hot air, place your portable fan lower toward the ground and preferably in a cool corner to draw in cool air, and blow it out into the rest of the room. Additionally, set your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise to help create a downdraft. Remember to turn off your fans if there’s no one using the room to save energy.

Air control

During the evening when the temperature begins to drop, you can open all your windows to flush out all the warm inside air. You can also create an air flow vacuum by opening a lower window from the cooler side of your house and an upper window from the hotter side. If you have double-hung windows, open the top section on one side of the home and the lower section on the other side. Additionally, you can use a fan to pull in cool air through a north-facing window while another fan blows out hot air through a south-facing window. This can be a very effective cooling method when temperatures drop during the evening.a window cracked open a little

More low cost, no-cost ways to stay cool

a bearded person sitting on the couch with their phone, coffee and a laptop

  • Homemade cooling systems can be as simple as placing a bowl of ice directly in front of a fan to give off a cool breeze.
  • Cooling curtains can be made by covering a window with a sheet sprayed with cold water. Air passing through the sheet can help lower the temperature.
  • Do your chores at night to avoid hot water or heated air from coming into your home during the hottest part of the day.
  • Become a grill master, cook outside and reduce your use of the stove and oven. This will keep your kitchen and home cooler.
  • Keep certain interior doors closed between rooms on the side of the house that are receiving direct sunlight and the rest of the house.

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