It can be easy to keep your house cool without air conditioning. Sunlight management and wise fan use can help keep you cool, be environmentally friendly and save you money.
1) Hot Air Out, Cool Air In
The most basic thing you can do is to keep as much sunlight out as possible and let cooler air in at night. During the day, keep windows, drapes, blinds or shades closed, especially on the southern and western sides of your home. If you have a porch, you can put up large plastic or bamboo shades to cut down on sunlight.
Use white or light colored window coverings to reflect light. You can also apply reflective slicks/tinting to windows to further cut down on light.
3) Be a Fan of the Fan
Moving air is cooler air. Ceiling fans can make a big difference. In terms of cooling, even a one-mile-per-hour breeze will make you feel three to four degrees cooler.
4) Turn Your Fan into an Air Conditioner
Place a bowl of ice or a frozen water jug in front of one or more fans.
5) What’s hot in your home?
Identify the appliances in your home that generate heat. If you aren’t at home during the day, simply shut off as many electric appliances as possible. If you spend more of your day at home, try to use heat-generating appliances only during the coolest part of the day. For example, use the microwave instead of the stovetop or oven. Or, let your dishes air dry in your dishwasher instead of heat-drying.
6) Power Down the Electronics
Keeping your electronics on a power strip provides a quick way to “power-down” before leaving for the day.
7) Light Bulbs
Change incandescent bulbs for cooler fluorescent bulbs. Turn off lights when not in use.
Humidity makes a room hotter. Do laundry either early or late in the day. Take showers or baths during the cooler times of day. If your bathroom, laundry room or kitchen has vents, use them. Invest in a dehumidifier for those really humid days.
When you plan out landscaping for your home, remember to place shade trees, trellises and shrubbery on the southern and western portions of your home. Don’t place heat-absorbing rocks, cement or asphalt too close to the house.
Finally, for those really hot days when only air conditioning will do, make sure you keep up on your HVAC maintenance. Consider cooling just one room in the house to save energy.