Best cheap ways to cool your home
How to cool your home without AC
During warmer months, rising temperatures can quickly become uncomfortable, particularly if you’re in a home or room with little airflow and no air conditioner. That doesn't mean there aren’t many alternative solutions to finding the optimal temperature to stay cool — especially for those on a budget.
We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to chill out on the cheap. We’ll look at some noteworthy parts of the house and how you can adjust your lifestyle to make everything cool and relaxing year-round.
Types of fans to cool your home
Different types of fans can be used throughout the house to keep rooms cool, though improper usage will have no effect and may even cause spaces to warm up. Here are some notable uses.
A ceiling fan is an inexpensive and energy-efficient way to cool your home. In spring and summer, the ceiling fan should be set to rotate counterclockwise so that it pushes cool air down and chills the room. Conversely in the winter, set the fan to rotate slowly clockwise to push warm air down.
Ceiling fan maintenance is also important. It should be regularly dusted, not only because it can fill the air with allergens and other particles, but because excess dust can clog the motor and ruin performance. Polishing blades will reduce drag, while oiling the motor once in a while will increase efficiency.
You may be tempted to use a window fan to create a breeze within a room but be sure it’s facing the right direction. You don’t want to blow air in, because coming from the outside the air will be hot. Particularly in rooms on a second or third floor, position window fans so that they are blowing outward, removing hot air from the inside, allowing room for cooler air.
Exhaust fans in bathrooms are designed to remove hot and humid air, particularly after shower use. As such, bathroom fans can also be helpful in summertime. Turn them on to remove the hot, moist air. You’ll want to keep the door open too.
Any type of portable fan, whether it’s resting on a counter or standing on its own in a room can provide a bit of relief from the heat, but it’s best if you give it a boost. Filling a bowl with ice and positioning it in front of the fan will blow colder air around the room.
Appliances and fixtures
You’ll want to run your large appliances as little as possible during heat waves because these machines will contribute to the warmth indoors. If possible, air-dry clothes instead of using a dryer and wash dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher. There are also a couple items that may be useful.
Dry hot air is preferable than moist hot air. Investing in a dehumidifier will remove the wetness from the air that contributes to discomfort, especially when trying to sleep at night. Excess moisture in the air can make furniture and clothing extra clammy and stuffy.
Using an oven during the summer will significantly contribute to rising temperatures inside and should be avoided whenever possible. Instead, opt for a portable grill that allows you to cook outdoors so the heat can dissipate outside.
Incandescent light bulbs emit heat and are not ideal for use in warmer times. Instead, choose fluorescent or LED light. These options are also more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs so they will save money and energy over time as well.
Blackout curtains are ideal at maintaining the temperature in a certain room and are useful both in the winter and summer when you're trying to keep the outside air from getting in. It’s important to use them effectively though. Close the blackout curtains during the day, ideally before the sun is able to heat up rooms. At night, open the curtains and the windows so cooler night-time air can get inside and flow freely.
For new homeowners, there are a couple of ways to keep the home cool when it is hot. While some of these endeavors may take a bit of time or even some investment upfront, they save energy and money over time.
Plants provide immeasurable benefits to any home space, creating a relaxing and even invigorating environment. Outside, plants can block sun and absorb rays, lessening the amount of light and heat that penetrates windows and enters the home. Vines in particular are mighty useful at absorbing sunlight, though any trees or shrubs that provide shade will be useful as well. For a quicker solution, invest in an awning that can create shade around windows.
Similarly, avoid creating asphalt sidewalks or pathways too close to the home, as these will absorb heat.
If you live in warmer, more humid climates, sleep warm naturally, or are joined by a partner or pets in bed, you’ll want to invest in a mattress that promotes airflow and sleeps cool. Innerspring mattresses, or hybrid models with innerspring layers allow for air to flow within, particularly if they are made with individually wrapped coils.
While some foam materials trap in heat creating a stuffy feeling, you can offset this by seeking out foam mattresses or layers that are infused with cooling gel or graphite or feature open-cell foam that allows for airflow.
If you’re too hot and uncomfortable, it’s unlikely you're going to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, there are a few tricks and products you can employ to create a more hospitable sleeping environment.
The ideal sheets for sleeping comfortably during the summer are those that are made from cotton or bamboo. These are airy and breathable, while providing comfort. Though they are light, sateen or silk sheets will trap in hot air and create moisture, which is not ideal for sleeping soundly.
Similarly, the proper pillow can help cool your head and keep you cozy at night. Seek out similar materials for your pillow covers. You may also want to shop around for cooling pillows that feature impressive air circulation to allow for a comfortable and chill sleep.
Keeping your body cool is more important than keeping the air cool. One way to do this is to keep an ice pack or frozen water at the foot of your bed under the sheets. Some users may position them under the pillow or simply have access to a cold press or cold water during the night to cool down.
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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