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How To Keep Your House Cool Without Air Conditioning

Updated on October 4, 2012

Keep Your House Cool Without Air Conditioning

Here are some ways to keep your home cool without air conditioning. First we will look at ways to cool an existing, traditional home with ways that use less energy.

One of the best ways to keep a home cool without air conditioning is to install a whole house fan. These work best in the late evening and at night. They move air in through windows and up and out of the attic. Whole house fans help keep both the inside of your home cooler and reduce radiant heat from coming in through the ceiling because they make the attic cooler. These work best in areas located roughly north of Dallas, in terms of latitude, and areas where the nighttime temperatures are very cool, such as cities at very high altitudes.

A swamp cooler or evaporative cooler also works well in areas where the humidity level is low. They are much more economical to run than air conditioning, although they do consume a fair amount of water in the summertime. Swamp coolers can help cool the home without air conditioning through evaporative cooling and the only energy used is by the fan and small water pump.

Ceiling fans are another good way to keep your home cool without air conditioning. Remember that ceiling fans only cool you, not the room, so turn them off when your leave, our use an infrared sensing switch to turn them on when you enter the room. Such sensors are available at Smarthome.com

If you cannot afford a whole house fan, you might use cheap box fans in the windows of your home. Place a couple box fans in windows on the side of the home that the breeze usually comes from and face them inward so that they blow air into the room.

When keeping your home cool without air conditioning try to dress cooler. Wear short sleeve shirts and shorts and you will feel better. Think of it as a tropical vacation at home and have lots of cool drinks on hand.

Shading The Windows

Solar screens are an important part of keeping a home cool without air conditioning. They prevent up to eighty percent of radiant solar heat from entering a home through the windows. To find them, see your local yellow pages or the web for solar screen installers in your area. Solar screens typically cost about $60 for  a single window.

To further reduce solar heat gain in youru home, you might also consider installing retractable awnings over large glass windows. This method works well to keep solar heat gain at bay, especially  on homes with south and west facing windows.

Use Cool Colors

Back in the days before air conditioning was widely used in homes, you never saw anything but  light colored homes in places where the climate was warm. There was a reason for choosing these light colors  besides the availability of cheap white paint. Light colored paint does not absorb as much solar energy and your home will stay much cooler.  If you don't believe me, use an infrared spot thermometer and aim it at a dark colored part of the same wall vs. a part of the wall that is painted bright white. The difference in temperature on a hot day will amaze you.

Plant Trees To Keep Your Home Cool Without Air Conditioning

A good way to keep your home cooler is to plant fast growing trees on the south and west sides of your home. This will help shade the home and keep it much cooler in the summertime. Choose tree varieties that are hardy for your area and avoid those species of trees whose limbs break easily in high winds, such as Chinaberry and Hackberry.

New Construction

If you are building a new home, you might want to invest a couple of thousand more dollars in your insulation and other energy efficient upgrades such as radiant barrier, solar attic fans, low E windows, trees, whole house fans. Since living without air conditioning all of the time may be impractical in some climates, choose your HVAC unit wisely and look for one with a SEER rating over 15.

Ask your builder about new methods of construction that can help lower your monthly energy bills and allow you to live without air conditioning. There are alternative construction methods such as Insulated Concrete Form or ICF homes and spray foam insulation that can help make your new home much more energy efficient. Thermal mass walls can help regulate the inside temperature of the home so construction methods such as adobe work well in some climates. With such a home you may find ceiling fans enough to keep it cool, even in summer.

Alternative Air Conditioners

If you decide you cannot live without air conditioning in your area you may consider an alternative system. A ground source or geothermal heat pump uses the temperature in the ground to heat and cool your home.

For more ideas on how to save energy at home see Savegreenly

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  • doodlebugs profile image
    Author

    doodlebugs 6 years ago from Southwest

    It's been a real challenge to keep cool without AC here in Texas, but after we spray foamed our attic we noticed a big change in how many hours a day the unit runs.

  • profile image

    Jack (aust) 6 years ago

    You can insall roof ventalators they release the hot air from the roof space, olso install vents in the eaves.

  • d.william profile image

    d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

    Good hub. Lots of good information and tips i can use. Thanks dw

  • profile image

    amanaroraa1@gmail.com 7 years ago

    There are so many ways for keeping your house cool, but at some point you need a good home air conditioner,,,

  • profile image

    Dan - Air Con Installer 7 years ago

    Some great ways to keep the home cool before jumping in and installing an air con unit.

  • profile image

    Misting Fans 7 years ago

    Great hub! Thanks for the information.

  • tjmatel3 profile image

    Peter Grant 8 years ago from McDonough, GA

    Thanks for the tips. I have already spent $700 trying to fix an AC system and the house is still warm.

  • Mad Macs profile image

    Mad Macs 8 years ago from Indianapolis

    It's 98 and 80% humidity here in Indianapolis this whole week. Nothing but AC will work. We have thick blinds and keep the windows open whenever possible but it's just HOT out now.

  • profile image

    Useful Knowledge 8 years ago

    Good hub. I wish I could actually do some of these things, it would really help on my power bill.Great information.

  • DoodleLyn profile image

    DoodleLyn 8 years ago from Upstate New York, USA

    Great hub..thanks for the useful tips. We have always left our ceiling fans on all day while we are at work, and thanks to your hub we won't be wasting that electricity any longer! We also draw the blinds, shades, and curtains during the hot days, then open everything up during the cooler nights. We're thinking of a new roof, and perhaps we should consider white? Would make a great hub - are you up for it?

  • Ashley Joy profile image

    Ashley Joy 8 years ago

    We are already topping out at 100 hear and it is only June. I do not have AC in my home so all the tips I can get are appreciated.

  • johnr54 profile image

    Joanie Ruppel 8 years ago from Texas

    The trees are a great long term solution, they've made a big difference on our house. I would add to the list make sure your attic is vented. We had a bedroom that the temperature dropped 5 degrees in the summertime when we added an attic vent.

  • glassvisage profile image

    glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

    We used to have to do this all the time when I was young. My mom would get so mad if we opened a door too long! She did a great job at keeping the house cool. Great job.

  • KCC Big Country profile image

    KCC Big Country 8 years ago from Central Texas

    I'm south of Dallas......dang it. LOL.....good tips though.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Good advice! For cooling, we have ceiling fans in all of our rooms......even the bathrooms. Makes a big difference! Also the new lightbulbs do not throw as much heat into a room as the old incandescent bulbs.

    Other tips...........use alternate ways of cooking when cooling a house. Instead of using the oven as much, think of outside grilling or using crockpots........slow cookers and even microwaves. Will not heat up the kitchen as much as using the oven.

    When using a cloths dryer, it is more energy efficient to do several loads at one time. The cloths dryer will already have been heated up so the 2nd load will dry a bit faster. We take out permanent press clothes while still damp and hang them up on hangars to complete the drying process. Less wrinkles and less energy used. Of course those that can hang clothes outside can save even more on energy costs.