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How to Keep Your Home Cool without Air Conditioning

Updated on July 21, 2022
davidlivermore profile image

David has owned a house for over 10 years and has extensive knowledge on maintaining the safety and security of a home.

There are multiple ways to keep your house cool, inside and out.
There are multiple ways to keep your house cool, inside and out. | Source

Do you have an air conditioner in your home?

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Having a Home without an Air Conditioner

I own a home without a central air conditioner or a heater. It's easy to warm up during the winter, since you can bundle up with lots of blankets. However, during the summer it can be hard to cool off if you don't own an air conditioner. During the summer it frequently reaches over 100 °F/38 °C in my city. I've had to adapt and find ways to keep myself cool during those horrible summer months.

This article will cover the following:

  • Keeping Your Home Cool by Blocking Your Windows

  • Alternatives to Air Conditioners

  • Keeping Yourself Cool without Air Conditioning

  • Other Ways to Stay Cool During the Summer

  • Why You Don't Need an Air Conditioner

Curtains completely covering a large window.
Curtains completely covering a large window. | Source

Do you block your windows to keep the heat out?

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Keep Your Home Cool by Blocking Your Windows

During the summer months the sun can just pour in and heat up your entire house. This is especially true if you have a lot of windows all around your house. There are various ways to block your windows:

  • Curtains - Curtains provide a tasteful way to block your windows and keep sunlight from coming in. They won't block everything, but it's a good balance between looks and functionality. I now use blackout curtains which do such an incredible job to block out the sun. They look just as good as regular curtains. I use them all over my house.
  • Blinds - Blinds are another great way to block your windows. They will cover more of an area, but they can cost much more than curtains. They can be hard to keep clean as well.
  • Tin Foil - Probably the cheapest way to cover your windows up completely. It blocks most of the light and heat that could be coming into your home. But it's not good looking at all.
  • Tinted Windows - You can do this in conjunction with getting curtains or blinds. While it can be costly to do this, tinted windows still allow you to keep your windows exposed, while keeping some of the heat out.
  • Plants - Putting plants on the outside of your windows is a good way to block out the sun, and gives something nice to look at as well. It won't provide the best coverage unless it completely covers the window, but looks stylish.

Combining these together will help keep your home cool. I use curtains, blinds, and plants to keep my home as cool as possible. Some of these methods are very cheap, which can give you a quick and immediate solution in keeping your house cool.

A ceiling fan in the living room of my house.
A ceiling fan in the living room of my house. | Source

Alternatives to Air Conditioners

There are a few alternatives to using air conditioners in your home. I use different types in my home, depending on the situation:

  • Fan - A desk fan that blows directly on you is a decent way to keep the immediate area cool, but won't keep an entire room cool at all. Plus you have to remain in the same spot to take advantage of the cooler.
  • Ceiling Fan - These can help cool an entire room and are very inexpensive, unless you want a stylish look. I have four ceiling fans in my house, and they are on almost all of the time when it's hot. Another added benefit is using those ceiling fans that have lights attached to them.
  • Blade-less Fans - While these can be expensive, they can also be well worth it. These cool better than standard fans, don't use blades, and most can be used to heat up an area during the winter months. They look neat as well. I strongly recommend Dyson fans.
  • Swamp Cooler - This type of cooler, also know as an evaporation cooler, can be a good alternative to air conditioners, depending on the climate. A dry environment is best for these systems. They also use much less power than a standard air conditioner, but won't be as powerful. I turn this on when I want to cool my entire house if I plan to have people over.
  • Portable Air Conditioner - These stand alone air conditioners are great if you just want to cool one room in your house. They are also portable enough to be moved from room to room. The cost depends on how much power you want it to have. But they won't be near as much as getting an air conditioner installed in your home. I have one of these in my computer room, which keeps the room fairly cool during the summer. These do take up a lot of space, and can look ugly just sitting out on the floor. Since they collect water, that could also spill out onto your floor.
  • Window Air Conditioner - These are much more powerful, and sometimes cheaper, than a portable air conditioner. These are meant to stay in once place and are designed to cool an entire room. I use one of these in my bedroom, so I can ensure I have a comfortable sleep. These are more discreet since they sit in your window, so they use up less space and are not as noticeable, especially if you cover it in curtains while it's not in use.

I use all these methods to keep my house cool, depending on the situation. If it gets really hot, I have to use most of these at once, which is just enough to keep me comfortable.

A window air conditioner, which is much smaller but just as powerful as a portable air conditioner.
A window air conditioner, which is much smaller but just as powerful as a portable air conditioner. | Source

Keeping Yourself Cool without Air Conditioning

The main goal in keeping your home cool is to keep yourself and those in the house cool. There are ways you can keep yourself cool during those hot summer months:

  • Take Cold Showers - This is a great way to keep yourself cool. Just hop in the shower for a few minutes, ensuring it's cold, and you will feel cool for a couple hours. This is something great to do before bed, so you can fall asleep quickly before you start to warm up.
  • Drink Water - Chill the water in your fridge or freezer, then sip on it while in your house. Not only will it help you from getting too dehydrated, it will help keep you cool. Avoid soft drinks, that won't keep your cool.
  • Ice Packs - Using ice packs can help keep your cool temporarily. I tend to wrap one up in a thin towel and place it on my chest. That keeps me cool for a good 15 minutes when I get really hot. This needs to be done safely though, since some of those packs can have chemicals in them. They also tend to melt quickly.
  • Wet a Cloth - Wet a cloth with water and place it where you feel hot. It will provide temporary relief, but won't be too satisfying.
  • Eat Ice Cream - Not the most healthy of methods, but eating ice cream can cool you down and give yourself a little treat. Don't overdue it though!
  • Avoid Hot Food - Spicy, hot, or any other food like that could make you feel hotter. Try to eat food that doesn't require a lot of heat. Make a sandwich or have some vegetables.
  • Take Frequent Breaks - If you are working around your house, doing chores, etc., ensure you take frequent breaks. That will keep you from warming up as fast. Ensure to drink plenty of water as well.
  • Adjust Your Clothing - Wear as little as possible, or, wear light colored clothing. This will keep you cool and keep you as comfortable as possible.
  • Heat Rises. If you have a home with multiple levels, then you'll want to stay on the bottom level. Heat rises, so if you want to stay cool you will stay on the lowest floor, and let the heat rise to the top.

I use all of these methods on a daily basis when it gets hot. Some work better than others, depending on the situation.

Would you move to another city just to avoid hot weather?

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Other Ways to Stay Cool During the Summer

There are other ways you can help yourself stay cool, or prevent you from getting too hot. For example:

  • Shut off the electronics. Computers, monitors, TVs, etc. all generate heat. If you have multiple devices on, then you will just generate heat in your home, making it a lot harder for it to cool down. Shut them off if you want to cool off.
  • Go outside. Sometimes it could be cooler outside than it is inside, and it could feel so much better. So go outside and enjoy a walk. Take water with you as well to keep yourself cool and hydrated.
  • Take a dip in a pool. If you have a pool at your house, then take a dip in it to cool off. If not, there are usually local places you can go to that have a pool. It's one of the best things to do when it's hot.
  • Go to a cooling center. A lot of cities set up cooling centers for people to go to if they want to cool off, especially when it's due to be dangerously hot. The news tends to report where these places are and when they will be open.
  • Take a trip to a cooler climate. If you want to go someplace cool for awhile, then do it. It depends where you live and how expensive it is, but it could be nice to enjoy the cool weather for awhile.
  • Move. If you hate the hot weather in your city so much that it makes you miserable, then you may want to consider moving. Granted, moving just for that seems ridiculous, but some people have moved for less.

These alternatives won't keep your home cool, but they will keep you cool.

Blinds covering a window, except for a hole chewed through by my cats, so they could watch the birds.
Blinds covering a window, except for a hole chewed through by my cats, so they could watch the birds. | Source

Why You Don't Need an Air Conditioner

There is one reason why you don't necessarily need an air conditioner:

It Saves You Money!

When I lived in a small apartment, I used my air conditioner all of the time. My electric bill was always high because of it. When I purchase my house, which was much bigger, my electric bill was cut by 50% because I didn't have an air conditioner running all of the time. Yes, I may suffer a little sometimes, but it's well worth it when I can put that money towards other things. So before you give in and buy an air conditioner, follow these tips to see if you can save some money.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 David Livermore


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