This is our 4th summer in our home & we’ve never had to turn on our air conditioning once. With a few tricks and some helpful shade trees, our home stays comfortable inside even though it’s usually in the high 90s here all summer. Here are some of my favorite ways to keep your home cool without AC.
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Tips to Keep Your Home Cool Without AC:
1. Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day. About a third of unwanted summer heat comes into your home through the windows. Invest in black out curtains. You can also add UV-blocking film to the windows that get the most sun.
2. Open your windows at night when the air gets cooler outside.
3. Use fans! They aren’t the most glamorous home accessories, but they’re essential to beat the summer heat. Make sure ceiling fans are set to counter clockwise. Put fans in your bedroom window at night to bring in the cooler outside air. See my 30+ Favorite Vintage & Farmhouse Style Fans that will help keep your home feeling cool and looking chic.
4. To add a chill to the air, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan. The ice cools the air and the fan helps circulate that cooler air around the room.
5. Invest in a cooling pillow or pillow pad, mattress pad and sheet. These work wonders! They do a great job of cooling down your bed so you can sleep comfortably. Because nothing is worse than waking up in a hot sweat.
6. Plant trees or large bushes on the south and west sides of your home. Planting deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the winter will provide summer shade without blocking the sun’s warming rays in the winter. Shade trees are one of the most important ways to keep your home cool without AC, so they’re definitely something to keep in mind any time you’re shopping for a new home.
7. Take advantage of high ceilings if they’re available. Old homes in particular were built with 9-14 foot ceilings that allowed heat to rise all the way to the top, but drop ceilings were often added by residents decades later. Removing these not only helps with cooling costs but restores rooms to their original splendor. Doing this may cause your heating bill to rise in the winter, but it’s a good trade off if you live in an area like mine where cooling costs are typically higher than heating costs.
8. Turn off electronics when not in use. Large electronics like TVs can release quite a bit of heat into a room.
9. Do your chores during the cooler times of the day. Using your washer and dryer can also release lots of heat, so do your laundry in the evening or early morning when it’s cooler. The same goes for using the oven. Avoiding excess heat during the day will help you keep your home cool without AC.
10. Cook outside. Speaking of cooking, there’s a good reason why many houses had summer kitchens 100 years ago. To prevent ovens from heating up an entire house, cooking during warm seasons was done in outbuildings. We don’t have summer kitchens today, but we do have grills! Cooking more outside on a grill during the summer will help keep the inside of your home cool.
Absolutely need air conditioning? In some climates, it’s a must. Here are a few bonus tips that will still help lower your AC bill:
- Instead of paying to cool your entire house, use a portable or window unit to cool your main living area (if you’re home during the day) and your bedroom at night.
- If you already have central air, using a programable thermostat will save you money by knowing when to cool your house based on your schedule. This smart thermostat is my favorite!
- Try setting your thermostat just a few degrees higher. You will probably find that your home is still plenty comfortable without being super chilled.
A few things to keep in mind:
- In certain climates, using these tips might not be enough for you to go without your AC completely. But you’ll still be able to lower your bill quite a bit by using some of these techniques!
- If you have pets at home, make sure the inside temperature is still plenty tolerable when you aren’t home. Leave them plenty of water. A cooling pet mat or elevated cooling pet bed also helps keep them comfortable. Keep in mind that cats prefer warmer temperatures, but certain breeds of dogs do not. If you crate your dog, be sure to keep them in a cool area of the house like downstairs and away from south-facing windows.