As summer arrives in full swing, many people are seeking refuge from the heat. As a kid, that often meant jumping in the pool or grabbing a popsicle from the freezer.
As an adult, finding ways to stay cool in the summer heat might be a bit more practical (even if it’s not as much fun).
Keeping your home cool in the summer can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have central AC or are trying to avoid running up a huge bill. And living in an especially hot house can make you feel fatigued and make it hard to sleep.
But if you’re avoiding using air conditioning — or just trying to limit how much you use it — that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to sweat all summer long.
Here’s how to keep a house cool in the summer naturally — without breaking the bank.
1. Time Your Windows and Blinds with the Sun
The most efficient way to cool a house down is to prevent it from getting too hot in the first place. To do this, get in the habit of opening and closing your windows and blinds at various times of the day.
In the evenings, once the sun has gone down, open as many windows as possible and turn on your fans to circulate cool air. If you can, keep the windows open all night to continue drawing in more cool air. You’ll lower the temperature of the entire house while you sleep — for free.
If you need to close your windows part or all the way at night, open them again early in the morning before the day heats up.
Once the mid-morning sun is rising, close your windows again. Keep a room cool that faces the sun by closing your blinds as well. This prevents sunlight and hot air from raising temperatures inside your house.
If you need to use air conditioning, use it in the middle of the day during the hottest hours. This will tamp down the worst of the heat wave.
Then once the sun sets and the air temperature drops again, turn off the AC and open the windows. Repeat this pattern every day for a noticeably cooler home!
If you want to keep your house cool in extreme heat, consider purchasing blackout curtains. They block sunlight, making it easier for light sleepers to sleep, but they also help insulate rooms from heat.
2. Keep Your House Cool With Fans
Keep cool without AC by using fans. Make a note of the rooms you use most and utilize fans to circulate cool air through them.
Box fans can be helpful to move from room to room and point circulating air right at you.
Ceiling fans are a great resource, too, especially if you pay attention to the direction they’re blowing.
In the summer, run your ceiling fans counterclockwise. This creates a downdraft, pushing the cool air near the ceiling downward to create a pleasant breeze.
You can change the direction of most fans with a small switch on the body of the fan. Turn the fan off completely and let it stop moving. Once it’s paused, flip the switch, then turn the fan back on again and enjoy that breeze.
3. Time Your Appliances Carefully
Home appliances can let off energy that heats up your house.
The most obvious culprit is the oven. Using the oven in summer can quickly make a perfectly pleasant home unbearable. Avoid using the oven by cooking on the stove, preparing cold foods, or grilling outside.
But pay attention to your other appliances, too. Dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers can give off heat — and humidity — that add up throughout the course of the day.
If you own your home, make sure you’re replacing appliances with energy-efficient models that will both cut down on your bill and keep the house cool.
And if you do have central air conditioning, make sure it’s running efficiently. Have an expert take a look to be sure it’s performing optimally — that can save you money and ensure your house is staying as cool as possible.
Check your light bulbs as well. Inefficient bulbs can make your room hotter.
4. Turn Down the Humidity
Humid air can make heat feel even more extreme. You can’t do anything about the humidity of the air outside, but you can impact the humidity in your home.
Especially if you live in a humid climate, consider purchasing a dehumidifier to make the air feel cooler. In addition to being more comfortable, lowering the humidity will decrease the amount you sweat.
During and after hot showers, turn on the bathroom fan to dissipate steam. Open a window in or near the bathroom to allow steam to escape that way as well.
When you’re cooking, turn on the exhaust fans in the kitchen. This will pull hot and humid air away from you.
A Cooler Home is a Greener Home
Keeping your home cool during the summer isn’t just essential for you and your family’s comfort. It’s also great for the environment.
As our summers get hotter, it’s important to find ways to stay comfortable and be kind to the Earth. Luckily, many of the long-term solutions for making your home environmentally-friendly can also save you money in the long run.
Although an energy efficient washing machine might cost more to purchase, it can save you money on every monthly water bill, earning its value in a matter of months.