Maybe your air-conditioning unit is on the fritz. If you’re shopping for a new one, you should look into which brand of A/C is best. But let’s say you know it’s going to be a while before you can fix or replace the unit, or maybe you’re just being frugal or trying to live more sustainably. Of course, you should look into whether home warranties cover A/C systems. You might have some questions about air-conditioning maintenance, too. But let’s face it — there’s a real immediacy to your problem, especially if you’re asking yourself, “How can I cool down my room without A/C?” So, don’t bother searching online for “how to keep house cool without A/C” or “how to stay cool in hot room” because we’ve got you covered right here.
With suggestions from all over the map, some of which might genuinely surprise and even delight you, we’re here to help you figure out how to cool off your house or, at the very least, your own body! To reiterate: You don’t need to have A/C problems to use these ideas. They’re great for anyone who wants to use less energy and spend less on it. So, if you’re still wondering how to stay cool without A/C, whether you have a working air conditioner or not, we’ve got a bunch of great suggestions carefully organized into this very post. So, please read on and cool down!
Naked and wet
OK, now that we have your attention, the first rule for how to keep cool without A/C is simply to disrobe and add water. Moisten your whole body with a fine mist of cool water from a spray bottle and step into an area with some air circulation. The cooling effect here comes from the evaporation of the water, so if you get too wet, you’ll miss out on the feeling that makes all the difference. So, go forth, mist, evaporate, enjoy the cooling effect, and repeat.
While you’re at it, you can take things to the next level by targeting your body’s cooling spots — where blood vessels are closer to the skin and cooling effects can be more readily apparent. Soak a washcloth in a bowl of ice water to make it into a cold compress before applying (and reapplying) it to your forehead. You can also target other places like your neck and wrists, or the backs of your elbows and knees. Soft ice packs fresh from the freezer work well for this too.
Cold shower or bath
Speaking of that shower, you can always cool down with a cold one — or at least one cooler than you typically go for — but you may not have considered the cooling-off power of a cold bath. Just think of it as your private swimming pool. Make sure you soak your head and hair, and hang out for a while. Maximize that cooling feeling with some peppermint soap; peppermint oil can amp up that cool feeling noticeably, and it might even last beyond the bath.
Few methods of cooling your body work better than drinking water and making sure you stay hydrated. When you sweat, you lose more water than you might realize, but you don’t need to force yourself to drink when you’re not thirsty. If you prefer your water to be cold and your home is sweltering, you can even freeze some bottles in the freezer and drink them as they melt. If you love icy treats, make some homemade popsicles, slushies or even snow cones. Remember, however, that the water you drink doesn’t need to be cold to help you cool down; it will naturally match your body temperature soon enough.
A wide range of cooling pillows, sheets and other bedding items are available. They use cooling gels and other technology, and can get expensive on the high end. But you don’t have to spend a lot to feel a difference. If you set aside the flannel, satin or synthetic sheets and stick with basic cotton, you’re using a more breathable material that should help you feel cooler at night. A good rule to recall here is that the lower a sheet’s thread count is, the more breathable it is.
Another great way to stay cool without A/C is to cut down the humidity in your home by using a dehumidifier. Taking a significant chunk of the moisture out of the air can make the heat more tolerable, even when it’s hotter. A general guideline is to try and keep your indoor humidity level below 60%. Some dehumidifiers allow you to enter this setting, turning off the unit when it reaches this threshold and saving electricity accordingly. Try not to waste the water the dehumidifier collects because it is perfect for watering your plants.
Attic fans (aka whole house fans) excise the heat that rises and collects within the upper reaches of your home, resulting in lower inside temperatures and costing considerably less than A/C units. Still, they’re unable to lower inside temperatures beyond outside temperatures. They also won’t have any impact on the humidity. Whole house fans are a good choice if you live in an area that experiences hot (but dry) summer weather during the day with cool (but dry) nights.
When you’re trying to stay cool without A/C, simply getting the air moving throughout the home is a priority, and ceiling fans can be an integral part of this strategy. However, it’s important to remember to change the direction your ceiling fans rotate. In the summer, the blades should rotate counterclockwise, pushing the cooler air down. Conversely, blades should spin clockwise in the cold months, pushing that cooler air up to make room for warmer air.
Targeting areas of the home where air tends to be stagnant is a job for other fans, like tabletop fans, pedestal fans or wall-mounted fans. You can even use your bathroom fan and kitchen exhaust fan to help banish hot air in an overly warm home. Consider a duct booster fan, which sits in a room’s air register to draw cool air into hot rooms. Place box fans in windows to blow hot air away, keeping windows closed during the day and open at night for cross breezes.
Fan plus ice equals DIY A/C
It won’t cool your entire home, but it’s a great way to quickly cool down your overheated body. Simply fill a big bowl with ice and set it in front of your tabletop fan. The air will blow over the ice as it melts, blasting you with much cooler air. Grab a book and a cold drink, and you’re all set for a much more relaxing rest in an otherwise overheated home.
Appliances and lightbulbs
Your major appliances can heat your home quickly. If you get into the habit of operating them at night, when you have your windows open and fans running, you will feel less impact on indoor temperatures. Switching to LED lightbulbs throughout the home and eliminating incandescent bulbs can significantly cut down on heat and also save you money. LEDs are vastly more efficient, using far less electricity and lasting a lot longer.
Doors, awnings and insulation
Shut the doors to rooms that don’t need to be cooled. Add weather stripping around all outside-facing doors. Install awnings to shield windows from sunlight, and make sure your insulation is robust throughout the home. All of these steps will help your home retain cold air in summer and warm air in colder months.
Learning how to use blinds, curtains, drapes and shades effectively can help you save money, be more comfortable year-round and reduce your energy expenditures. In the summer, it’s all about keeping them shut when the sun’s rays are hottest and opening your window treatments, along with the windows, at night.
Trees and plants
If you want to stay cool without A/C, you need to invest in some strategically placed plants. Trees can block the sun from your windows. Inside, they clean the air and add ambience.
Thanks for reading our tips for how to stay cool without A/C. Don’t forget to look into whether your HVAC system is covered by your home warranty.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.