Keeping your home cool without air conditioning might seem like a feat for Superman, but it’s simpler than you think! The next time you find yourself without your a/c, use these tips to cool down!
Summer will be here before you know it and with it comes heat. Some states (Texas) have already reached this point of oppressive sweat and heat that makes you thank the good Lord Jesus that he isn’t gonna send you straight south when you die cause you think you’re already living there. This kind of heat can truly make life miserable if you are in a situation where you don’t have air conditioning. Luckily, there are ways to cool your home without air conditioning that will help you stay cool and sweat free.
Cooling your home without a/c actually has more benefits than keeping you and your family cool. It also helps to lower your electric bill pretty drastically. Depending on where you live, cooling costs can be one of your highest bills during the summer months.
When you’re not running your air conditioning as often or at all, those costs will drop significantly helping to keep your personal budget intact.
Apply Heat Blocking Window Film to Your Windows
One of the simplest ways to help cool your home cheaply is to prepare your windows for summer heat. After all, you take the time to prepare your home for cold weather, so why would you not do the same for the hotter months.
Thermal window film, also known as heat reflecting window film or mirror window film is an investment that will help you keep your home at a comfy temperature all year long.
During the summer months, thermal window film helps to reflect outside heat back outdoors, keeping it from ever reaching the inside of your home. During winter months, it reflects the heat inside your home back into your home keeping it from being lost.
At a bare minimum, you’ll want to cover any windows that are west facing including garage or attic windows. However, covering them all with thermal window film is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most benefit.
Use Thermal Curtains and Room Darkening Blinds
Regular curtains might look pretty but they also allow sunlight and heat to seap into your home. It may not seem like it, but it heats your home up quite a bit. In fact, a regular double pane window allows almost 75% of the sun’s heat into your home and if you have single pane, that number is higher.
That translates to 10 or more degrees hotter.
Thermal curtains and room darkening blinds can help reduce this jump in temperature by as much as 50%. They do this in two ways.
First is the obvious blocking of the light that raises the temperature. The combo of both act as a filter for sunlight keeping any that makes it past the thermal film out of your home.
Secondly, the backing on true thermal curtains is designed to block heat as well. This backing acts as a final barrier to outdoor heat trying to sneak indoors.
What is the difference between blackout curtains and thermal curtains?
It can be difficult, especially when you’re shopping online, to tell whether you’re buying the right kind of curtains that will help cool a house. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself buying blackout curtains when you mean to buy thermal or vice versa.
Blackout curtains are designed to do exactly that. Block light. They will provide some heat or cold protection but not nearly as much as you’re looking for. Because they are simply a darker curtain with a tight fabric weave, they tend to be fairly thin.
Thermal curtains are not only designed to block light, but also to block heat or cold. Thermals have a thicker backing on the fabric that also blocks heat. This backing also helps to make the curtain thicker which also helps to block warm or cold air.
Buy Twin Window Fans
We’ve all seen those dual window fans. They work really well for helping to keep your home cool without an air conditioner since you can set one side to blow air into your home with the other side set to pull hot air from your home. This can create an air current that is really efficient at helping to bring the temperature in your home down by a few degrees.
And when the temperature is really high, a few degrees can make a world of difference.
Be Selective When You Open Windows and Curtains
During summer months, the hottest part of the day is typically between noon and 4 pm. If you can, leave your curtains and windows shut during this part of the day. Opening them will very likely give you a different result than you’re looking for and instead of cooling your home, it may actually make it hotter.
There are exceptions to this, of course. If you are using window fans or you live in the South where temps can be life threatening in the summer, by all means, open your windows as you need. Curtains, however, can blow in the wind. Keeping them closed will block the harsh southern sun at least a small bit.
Use a Swamp Cooler
Have you ever seen a swamp cooler? Better yet, have you ever used one? They are a very simple design that works amazingly at cooling a single room by quite a few degrees.
Making a swamp cooler is incredibly simple and you only need three supplies. For the amount of cooling you’ll get, it is totally worth it if you don’t have a/c.
To make a quick and easy swamp cooler, fill a Styrofoam cooler with ice. Large blocks of ice are the best for swamp coolers, but whatever you have access to will work. Pack as much ice into the cooler as you can get.
Then, set a regular box fan to blow across the ice. What you will get is a whole lot of cool, misty air that will help to keep anyone nearby nice and cool.
Create Air Flow in Your Entire Home
Earlier I mentioned creating airflow in your home as a quick and rather easy way to cool your home down. Doing it for one window or room is great, but it’s actually very effective at cooling your entire home down.
To do this, you will need at least four square box fans. Two of these fans will be placed blowing into your home while the other two will be placed blowing outside. Where you place them is key. Ideally, placing at least two of them on opposite ends of the house will get you the best result for whole house cooling. However, if you can’t do that, place them on opposite ends of the same room. Do one room near the front of the house and one near the rear and keep the doors to both rooms open.
If you have to do the same room, it can be helpful to place a fifth fan at the midway point such as a hallway to help the cooler air coming from each room to circulate around the house itself.
Cook Later or Outside
If you don’t have air conditioning, cooking can be miserable for everyone in your home. Cooking dinner after the sun goes down can help keep the temperature inside from jumping by ten degrees or more. Even better, grill out or create an outdoor kitchen and make your meals outside.
Your method of cooking also matters. For instance, your oven will warm your home more than your stove burners will. An InstantPot will actually create less heat in the long run than a regular slow cooker will. Keeping this in mind will also help you to stay on top of any cooking related temperature rises.
Skip the Dryer
You may think that cooking is the chore that raises the temperature in your home the most, but it’s not.
It’s your dryer.
Summer months are perfect for letting your dryer rest and using a clothesline instead. Not only will you avoid heating your house more, but you’ll also save quite a bit of cash since the dryer is one of the most expensive appliances you have in your home.
If you don’t have the room for a full clothesline, a portable clothes drying rack can be a great option. These usually fold up so they can be put away easily. You may not be able to dry as many clothes at once, but if you’re struggling with keeping cool without air conditioning, drying smaller loads is probably more than worth it.
To be clear, none of these tips for how to cool your home without air conditioning are going to get the temps in your house down to an a/c level. The only thing that will do that is an actual air conditioner. However, they will allow you to make your home more comfortable and save you a bit of money at the same time.
The only caveat I have to add is this; if you live in an area where it is common to have Texas-like temperatures in the summer, be very mindful in trying to live without a/c. Be sure to up your water intake if you’re not using a/c and know the signs of heat illnesses. There is no amount of saved money worth making yourself or someone else sick – or worse.