10 Hacks to Keeping Your House Cool

Whether you have AC or not, keeping your house cool will help energy costs.

The Pacific Northwest and parts of the Northeast have seen unprecedented temperatures this last week. And while most homes have air conditioning, those in Washington and Oregon are typically not billed with an air conditioning or heat pump unit. People have to get creative on keeping their home school, keeping their sanity in the heat, and keeping those energy costs down. Here are 10 simple tips and hacks to keeping your home cool in hot weather.

#1. Keep windows closed.

More than just closing the blinds or the curtains, you’ll need to completely block out the light and the heat. 76% of sunlight makes its way into your home through your window so don’t just close the blinds but close curtains, consider darkening curtains, or even cover your windows with foil with the shiny side out to deflect that heat away from the house, not into it.

#2. Create makeshift air conditioning units.

Setting out a bowl of ice with the fan blowing right across the ice and into rooms can help. You can also create a makeshift air conditioner by using a Styrofoam cooler, cutting a hole in the top for a small fan to fit down inside, a pipe out the other end, and fill it with ice. Warm water will travel through the fan from the outside, through the eyes, and back out the pipe.

#3. Sleep cooler.

“A lot of times sleeping is one of the biggest problems during hot weather. Consider putting your pillowcases and sheets in a plastic bag and sticking it in the freezer. By night time, though sheets will be ice cold and ready for your hot body.” - Panama City Beach Realtor® AD Whitehurst

#4. Use fans accurately.

If you do have air conditioning, make sure the fan is pointing from the coolest area, to the hottest area of the house. Cross breezes will really cool down the air in general. Ceiling fans should be rotating counterclockwise at a speed so that the airflow will create a wind-chill breeze effect making the house filled cooler.

#5. Focus on the temperature in your body, not just the house.

Choosing ice cold drinks, applying cold cloths to strong pulse areas like your neck and wrists, and cooling from the inside out such as making smarter clothing choices, lighter clothing, keeping a bowl of water by your bed, and dipping your feet and you feel warm throughout the night.

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#6. Unplug.

Unplug all electrical devices that are not in use is even just a little but electricity can cause the devices to heat up and radiate that heat throughout the house.

#7. Keep the oven turned off.

Try to utilize dinners that don’t require the stovetop or the oven. Air fryers, instant pots, and slow cookers can help but they do also admit some heat. Try meals with premade food such as already cooked chicken in salads, spring rolls, and tacos. Packages of grains and premade rice that can be easily warmed in the microwave. You don’t have to eat out every night that it’s hot, but choosing meals and dinners that don’t require heat is definitely key.

#8. Turn on bathroom fans.

Your bathroom fan can exhaust the heat not only from your bathroom but you can also use your kitchen fan as well. Since heat rises, it will pull the heat from the rooms and directed outward.

#9. Utilize the night

“Nighttime is when most places will cool off, at least 10 to 30° cooler than during the day. Maximize that cool air by monitoring exactly when the outside temperature is lower than the inside. From that point, open all the windows, set the fans to either blow the heat out of the house, or cold air in, and then as soon as temperatures start to increase in the morning, shut everything back down again.” - Mesquite Realtor®, Alexander Gutierrez

#10. New light bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs waste about 90% of their energy on heat. Try switching to CFL or LED bulbs to save energy and heat.

There are a lot of ways to stay cool even if you don’t have air conditioning but they do take a little bit of creative ingenuity. Of course, you can always install a heat pump or new HVAC system, and add value to your house overall.