12 Cooling Tricks Everyone Should Know for Keeping Your House Cool
Summertime may bring many wonderful things but the extreme heat is not one of them. For many using air conditioning is not affordable nor available. Here are some tips to keep your house cool in summer heat that we have used to combat our ever increasing electric bill.
#1: Keep your blinds closed: Inexpensive mini blinds or curtains can work wonders for reducing the sunlight and heat streaming in through your windows! At my house, installing inexpensive blinds on the south-facing windows completely changed the temperature in that part of the house. Make sure blinds or curtains are white on the side facing the outside. Solar sun screens and window film are other options that can greatly reduce the heat coming through windows.
#2: Install Cool Lighting: Incandescent light bulbs can significantly heat up a room. Replace standard bulbs with high-efficiency, low-heat CFL (compact fluorescent lights) or LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs, and turn off lights when not needed.
#3: Start grilling: Eat cold meals, cook outside on the grill, or use the microwave for cooking when possible to minimize heat indoors. When you do cook indoors:
- Cover pots to minimize indoor humidity.
- Use range hood or microwave vent fan to vent hot air outside.
- Turn oven off a few minutes before food is cooked to reduce oven heat.
- Check the oven by turning on the light and looking through the glass, rather than opening the oven door.
#4: Turn Off Electronics: Computers, TVs, and other electronics generate quite a bit of heat when sitting idle or even when turned off, so unplug devices when not in use. An easy way to do this is to plug electronics into a surge protector which has an on/off switch, then turn the switch off when the devices are not in use.
#5: Repair Windows and Doors: Windows and doors are a major source of heat gain in the house, so keep windows closed and locked and doors tightly closed to prevent cool air from escaping. Older single pane windows and doors without proper weather stripping are the worst culprits. If you can’t replace your windows and doors with more energy efficient models, repair any gaps in or replace weather stripping around and under windows and doors. Also, don’t open windows at night unless the temperature drops to the mid-70s F or lower.
#6: Hack a fan instead of turning on the AC: Not even an air conditioner can give off a faux sea breeze... but this simple trick can. Fill a mixing bowl with ice (or something equally cold, like an ice pack) and position it at an angle in front of a large fan, so that the air whips off the ice at an extra-chilled, extra-misty temperature. Trust us: it's magic.
#7: Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise: Whether you know it or not, your ceiling fan needs to be adjusted seasonally. Set counter-clockwise in the summer at a higher speed, the fan's airflow will create a wind-chill breeze effect that will make you and your guests "feel" cooler.
#8: Put Off Chores: You heard me! Don’t run the dishwasher, clothes washer/dryer, or other appliances during the heat of the day, since these machines generate heat and humidity that will be hard to overcome. Put these chores off until evening when possible. When cleaning clothes:
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- Run the washer or dryer only if you have a full load.
- Choose the shortest wash cycle that gets the job done.
- Clean dryer vent pipe and lint screen regularly to lower drying time.
- Dry clothes outside on a clothesline when possible.
#9: Turn on your bathroom fans: ...or the exhaust fan in your kitchen, for that matter. Both of these pull the hot air that rises after you cook or take a steamy shower out of your apartment.
#10: Heat-proof your bed: Go straight to the source, and put a cool-inducing Chillow under your head while you sleep. For feet, fill a hot water bottle and put it in the freezer before placing at the foot of your bed. And it sounds strange, but slightly dampening your sheets before bedtime will majorly help you chill out.
#11: Make a few long-term improvements: If you're really, really committed to the whole no-AC thing, you can make a couple changes to your home that will keep it cooler for seasons to come. Insulated window films, for example, are a smart purchase as they work similarly to blinds. And additions like awnings and planted trees or vines on or in front of light-facing windows will shield your home from the sun's rays, reduce the amount of heat your home absorbs and make your investment nothing but worthwhile.
#12: Plan Ahead: Long term strategies to keep your house cooler include:
- Plant shade trees on the south and west sides of the house.
- Install insulated glass windows with low-E coating or storm windows.
- Add awnings over sunny windows.
- Install additional attic insulation
- Replace existing roof with cool shingles or light-colored roofing
These are only a few of the many strategies for keeping your house cool in the summer. Put some of these home improvements to your to-do list for relief in years to come.
Tips through Infographic