For some, air conditioning is a must, thanks to scorching summer temperatures. But for others who live in more mild climates, AC may only be needed during the occasional heatwave. And in situations like this, air conditioning is a pricey just-in-case solution.
So what else can be done to keep a room a cool without AC in the midst of summer's unceasing heat? Figuring out what to do in sweaty situations like these is helpful not only for those who don't have air conditioning, but for those who may have a broken air conditioning system too. And believe it or not, keeping cool without air conditioning is possible—it just requires a little creativity. Keep reading to find out how.
Cover Your Windows
On hot days, windows can let heat in and let cool air out, making your room much warmer than you'd like it to be. To keep a room cool without air conditioning, invest in some thermal or room-darkening curtains. These thicker window coverings provide protection against hot sunlight and keep cool air in, not out.
However, a room with no daylight may be a no-go for you. If so, cover the windows that receive direct sunlight (especially in the afternoon) and leave open the windows that are in a shaded area or never receive direct sunlight.
Use Nighttime to Your Advantage
Air conditioning does more than just provide cool air—it also moves the air around in your home, helping to prevent stale or odorous air. You can get a similar effect in a space with no air conditioning by keeping windows open throughout the night. The cooler nighttime breezes will provide ventilation and fresh air, refreshing your room before the heat of the following day.
If you want to leave your windows open at night, but you live in area with lots of bugs or mosquitoes, be sure to install screens on your windows.
Create (or Buy) a Swamp Cooler
Swamp coolers cool a room down by blowing air through a cool, dampened pad, and then blowing that moistened air out to the room. They create a similar effect to walking through a sprinkler or mister on a hot summer day. You can buy swamp coolers, but you can also make your own with a 5-gallon bucket, a fan, a cloth and some ice water.
However, a word of warning: swamp coolers are typically not effective in places where the heat is a humid one, as they only add more moisture to the air, causing it to feel muggy. Swamp coolers work best in areas with arid, dry heat.
Time Appliance Usage
Large appliances, especially ovens, can heat up a space fast. It's also not helpful that the times when most kitchen appliances are used (late afternoon to early evening) are also some of the day's hottest.
To prevent this double-whammy of heat, try to use the oven or stove-top before lunch, when the house is still cool. If you're looking for a hot meal at dinner, use a smaller heating device, like a toaster oven or slow cooker, instead of large oven. These are more energy-efficient than ovens or cooktops and allow less heat to escape.
Watch For Drafts
Drafts aren't just a wintertime problem. Summertime drafts in your room can let the cool air out and warm air in. Look for them along windows, exterior doors and attic accesses, as these are all spots that, when not sealed or closed properly, let cool air escape.
To prevent these drafts, use draft-sealing or insulator tape along window gaps, and make sure attic and exterior doors close all the way.
Buy a Fan (or Two)
Fans are another way to provide air circulation and ventilation, and can go surprisingly far in keeping a room cool. Larger, powerful fans do this especially well, even if they are a bit noisy. You can also find smaller, high-quality fans that can also cool you off, though they may be slightly less-effective than larger ones.
To make your air feel even colder, place a frozen gallon of water directly behind the fan and point it at you. The frozen water brings an extra chill to the air and is especially helpful in areas with a lot of dry heat.