How to stay cool in your house without air conditioning


So much for June gloom. Summer is officially back, and so are the record temperatures. While your first instinct may be to crank up the air conditioner, the electric company has asked us to save energy and turn off appliances during the day. (And some of us don’t even have air conditioning.) There are ways, though, to stay cool as a cucumber without relying on air conditioning. And with all the money you’ll save on your electric bill, you might take a cruise to freezing Alaska.

Close the drapes

Keeping your curtains closed during the day will help keep sunlight — and heat — from entering your home. Curtains with a white backing can reduce heat even more. Be sure to draw the curtains closed before the sun starts streaming in; after the sun has already heated up your home, it’s harder to cool it again. Window blinds and shades also do the trick.

Install solar window film

Window films can also reduce heat while reducing glare and providing UV protection. They are available at home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware or other hardware stores, which also conveniently sell DIY window film application kits. They’re pretty easy to install. I put window film on my windows to block UV rays from damaging my furniture several years ago. The reduced heat is an added bonus.

Turbo-charge your fan

Conventional fans eat up a lot less electricity than air-conditioning units. To make the breezes coming from your fan even cooler, fill a large mixing bowl with ice cubes and place in front of the angle of the fan so the air hits the ice instead of the side of the bowl. Like wind that chills as it hits a glacier, air coming off the ice cubes will help cool the room.

Change your ceiling fan direction

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