Yes, it is possible to stay cool without air conditioning. We’ve gathered some tips to show you how to cool a room without AC for the days when the summer heat feels unbearable.
Air conditioners can be expensive, difficult to install, and from an ecological standpoint, incredibly problematic. For example, an air conditioner that operates at just 800 watts uses more energy than 100 energy-efficient lightbulbs. Luckily, there are alternative ways to beat the heat without damaging the environment. Skeptical? Keep reading. We’ll show you the 7 best tips for how to cool your house without AC.
#1 Hang Wet Towels or Sheets
Hanging out wet towels or cotton bedsheets is one of the most tried and tested methods for cooling down a room without AC. It’s as simple as it sounds.
First, soak a towel or sheet in cold water and wring it out so it isn’t drenched or dripping wet. Then, hang it either directly in front of the open window or on a drying rack in the middle of the room.
Why does this help? Two words: evaporative cooling. To accomplish a phase change like evaporation, water needs to absorb heat energy from the environment. The amount of energy needed to free an atom from the liquid state is equivalent to the energy needed to overcome the surface tension of that liquid. Water happens to have a relatively high level of surface tension, so it must absorb a large amount of heat energy to go from liquid to gas. As the heat gets absorbed into this process, your room will get cooler.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping due to the heat, you can also try sticking your top sheet in the freezer before you go to bed. It may provide your body with a refreshing reprieve and help you catch some Zs.
Note: Make sure your room is well-ventilated to prevent mold from growing due to the extra moisture in the air!
#2 Use Fans to Cool a House Without AC
Okay, we know this one isn’t original, but we’re betting some of these tips can still be useful. Here’s how to use fans to cool down your house without AC:
- Do you know which way a fan should spin in summer? Set your ceiling fans to turn counterclockwise. This pushes air down and out, which then causes it to flow up along the walls. This moves the colder air that has collected towards the floor up into the occupied space.
- Fans don’t cool rooms — they cool people. All they do is redistribute the air in the room; the temperature doesn’t actually change. But you still feel cooler because the air moving across your skin and causing perspiration to evaporate creates a wind-chill effect. It’s the same reason it feels colder outside when it’s windy. This is also why leaving a fan on in an empty room is pointless — turn it off and save the electricity instead.
- According to the New York State Department of Health, it is only advisable to use a fan when indoor air temperatures are cooler than 95 °F. If it is any hotter, a fan could cause your body to gain heat instead of losing it.
- For extra cooling, place a shallow dish filled with ice in front of the fan so that cooler air gets blown around.
#3 Keep the Sunlight Out of Your Room
To stop the temperature in your home from rising, keep the sunlight out as much as possible during the day.
- The ideal way to cover your windows is with blinds or shades on the outside of the window. That way, the heat gets absorbed before it even touches your window and is not radiated inside the house.
- If it puts you in a bad mood to have all your windows closed all day, try only closing the ones that are directly facing the sun. For example, cover all east-facing windows at night before you go to bed so that the room won’t heat up as soon as the sun rises.
- Tip: If you notice that the air outside is warmer than inside, don’t open your windows. The same goes for windows in direct sunlight. Don’t let your hard-won cool air escape!
#4 Turn Off Electronics and Lights
It’s a good habit to get into for the sake of the environment, but it also keeps your house cool without AC.
- Unplug any power-hungry electronics that aren’t being used. Do you know about vampire power? Things like your TV, microwave and computer all generate heat when plugged into the wall as they draw energy from the socket. Give them (and yourself) a break and unplug them.
- Have you ever stood close to a light source? The heat that comes off can be fairly intense, so keep the lights off if you want to cool a room without AC. In addition, now is probably a good time to switch those fluorescent lightbulbs out for something a bit more energy-efficient, like LED. Your electricity bill will go down, and so will the temperatures in your house!
#5 Keep Your Kitchen Cool: Cook Outside or Don’t Cook at All
Ovens and stoves heat your house quickly, so one of the best ways to keep a home without AC cool is to eliminate cooking as a potential heat source. There are plenty of ways to eat well without turning on your kitchen appliances.
- Grill outside: Summer is barbecue season for a reason! Don’t know what to make? Try our vegan burgers.
- You can also cook things like pizza on the barbecue! Check out our spinach and feta pizza recipe.
- Eat dishes like salads and sandwiches that are filling but don’t require cooking, and consider dining al fresco.
- Change your diet for the summer months. For inspiration, check out a raw vegan diet.
- Many people try intermittent fasting to control their diets, eat mindfully and feel better physically. Read our guides Fasting 16 Hours a Day to Boost Your Health and Fasting One Day a Week: 24-hour Fast Benefits to learn more.
#6 Cooling Down a Bedroom Without AC for Better Sleep
For many, the most difficult part of dealing with a summer heat wave is not being able to fall asleep… or stay asleep. There are a few things you can do to make sleeping without AC a slightly more comfortable experience.
- Move your mattress onto the floor. Hot air rises, so the closer you are to the ground, the cooler the air temperature is going to be. The change may be minicam, but it could be just enough to help you sleep.
- Try sleeping in a hammock. If you can rig one up in your home somewhere, the airflow can access all parts of your body, which can help cool you down.
- Fill a hot water bottle with cold water — or freeze it. Using a hot water bottle helps to heat you up, so why not use the opposite for the summertime? They’re made to be leakproof, so you don’t have to worry about waking up in a puddle.
- If all else fails, set up a tent in your backyard and try out some urban camping, or hit the road for one of these 10 Types of Camping You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.
#7 Landscaping Can Help Cool Your House Without AC
You may be wondering how your outdoor landscaping can help cool your house. The reality is that the more greenery you have outside, the less chance the sun has to penetrate your home. Save the time and enjoy a natural lawn — they’re way better for the environment, anyhow!
- Most trees take a long time to grow large enough to provide the shade needed, so this isn’t a quick-fix solution.
- If you have a patio area in your backyard, add potted plants to help draw some of the heat away from the patio stones. This will also help to keep your home slightly cooler. Try some easy balcony plants for a start.
More Tips for Staying Cool
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and stay away from caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, which cause dehydration. If you desperately need your coffee fix, make an eco-friendly cold brew.
- Eating chilled fruit is a delicious and refreshing way to cool down. Sliced peaches, watermelon or grapes make the perfect summer afternoon snack. Or, try making some vegan banana nice cream!
- Wear breathable clothing. Most of the time, it’s less about cooling the room down than it is about cooling ourselves down. Wear breathable, natural fibers like linen or organic cotton to allow air flow.
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