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 is just unbearable.
Air conditioners can be expensive, difficult to install, and from an ecological standpoint, incredibly problematic. Even an air conditioner that operates at 800 watts, for example, 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 on how to cool your house without AC.
#1 How to Cool a Room Without AC: Hang up Wet Towels or Sheets
Hanging out wet towels or cotton bedsheets is probably one of the best-known methods for cooling down a room without AC. It’s as simple as it sounds. Soak the towel or sheet in cold water and wring it out. Hang it up 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. In order to accomplish a phase change like evaporation, water needs to draw in 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 has to absorb a large amount of heat energy in order to go from liquid to gas. As the heat gets absorbed into this process, the room gets 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 the room is well-ventilated, in order to prevent mold from growing!
#2 Use Fans to Cool a House Without AC
Okay, we know this one isn’t very 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:
- Set your ceiling fans to turn counterclockwise. This will cause air to be pushed down and out, which then causes air 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 fans 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 is creating a wind-chill effect. It’s the same reason why 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.
To keep 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 that are on the outside of the window. This way, the heat has already been absorbed before it ever even touches your window and is not being radiated inside the house.
- If it puts you in a bad mood to have all your windows closed all day long, try only closing the ones that are directly facing the sun. For example, make sure you cover all east-facing windows at night before you go to bed, so that the room won’t start to heat up when the sun rises in the morning.
- Tip: If you notice that the air outside is warmer than the air inside, don’t open your windows. The same goes for windows that are in direct sunlight. Don’t let your hard-earned cool air escape outside!
#4 Turn Off Electronics and Lights
It’s a good habit to get into for the sake of the environment, but it will also help to keep your house cool without AC.
- Unplug any power-hungry electronics that aren’t being used. Things like your TV, microwave, and computer all generate heat when plugged into the wall as they continue to draw energy from the socket. Give them (and yourself) a break by unplugging 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 Cook Outside or Don’t Cook at All: Keep Your Kitchen Cool
One of the quickest ways to heat up a room is to use your oven or stovetop, which is why the best way to keep a home without AC cool is to eliminate cooking as a potential heat source. There are plenty of ways to ensure you get the proper nutrition without needing to turn 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.
#6 Cooling Down a Bedroom Without AC
For many, the most difficult part of dealing with a summer heatwave 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. It may be minimal, but it may be just enough to help you sleep.
- Try sleeping in a hammock. If you can rig one up in your home somewhere, the air flow 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 summer time? They’re made to be leak proof, 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 some wild camping.
#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, the more greenery you have outside, the less chance the sun has to penetrate your home.
- 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 large 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.
Tip: You can also add some houseplants to your rooms. While they may not help to cool your room, they do help to bring the outdoors in! Read more: Best Indoor Hanging Plants to Decorate Your Home
More Tips for Staying Cool
- Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and stay away from caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, which cause your body to become dehydrated. If you desperately need your coffee fix, try making 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 fabrics like linen or organic cotton to allow air to flow around your body.
This article has been translated from German to English by Christie Sacco. You can read the original here: Wohnung kühlen ohne Klimaanlage – Tipps und Tricks** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.
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