It’s summer, and we recently had a record-breaking heat wave that swept the nation and seems to be sweeping the world. Temperatures are higher than normal (at least in my area) and heat drains the body of energy.
So, how do you escape the heat?
I have a few suggestions on how to keep your house cool without air conditioning. My home has central air, but my apartment did not, so I know what it’s like without air conditioning. Growing up, I never had the luxury of air conditioning, so I figured out alternatives to air conditioning.
You can keep your house cool without increasing your electric bill. Being able to keep your house cool in the summertime without electricity is an important skill. You never know when the electric grid will crash or when your central air may fail. I often wonder what my great grandparents did back in the day to stay cool—they definitely didn’t have an air conditioner sitting outside the prairie homestead. They learned to keep their homes naturally cool in the summer—you can too!
Cool down your house without raising your electric bill with these 5 easy suggestions:
- Block the windows
One of the easiest ways to keep your house cool is to block out sunlight and stop the heat from seeping in through your windows. As much as I love sunshine, I have my windows covered with these black-out curtains. Before this summer, I had no curtains on my north-facing windows because I loved the sunlight coming in. This summer’s heat became unbearable, so I purchased black-out curtains for my north-facing windows. This dropped the temperature of my house significantly! Even though these windows did not get direct sunlight, sun and heat still found its way into my house and caused my air conditioning to run. If you don’t have access to black-out curtains, use extra sheets, blankets, or towels—favorites back in my apartment days! If you don’t have those, use tin foil to completely cover the windows. Covering your windows to block the sun is one of the easiest ways to cool down your house.
- Minimize opening doors and windows
This effective way of cooling down your home may be difficult if you have animals, but it can help cool your home! If your dog goes in and out of the house constantly, manage their behavior. Ensure that your animal has sufficient shade outside, provided either by existing trees or by you purchasing some sort of cover. If your animal goes outside, they will be more apt to stay outside if they have a nice place to cool off and FRESH, ICY water in a shaded area. By creating a nice environment for them outside, they will learn to make fewer trips in and out of the house. This means less heat entering your house! Use doors or windows that are not in direct sunlight, facing north or south depending on your location in the world. If you doors and windows only face the sun, get a shade cover to lower the temperature in these areas.
- Open windows at night
Growing up, I learned the best way to cool down my room was to open my window at night. I also enjoyed listening to the ambient noise of crickets, rustling in the neighborhood, and cars driving by. By having my window open from when it cooled off at night to when I woke up, I lowered the temperature in my room. As it got warmer outside, I closed my window and blinds. Before you go to bed and if safety permits, open the windows and doors in your house to get a cool airflow circulating throughout. This is a cheap way to cool down your house! By creating a circulating air flow, you sweep the hot air from your house and welcome the cool air in. You may be able to sleep through the night after all.
- Minimize oven and stovetop use
Nothing will heat the house faster than your oven, sadly! I like to utilize heat from my oven when I bake in the winter. I open the oven door, allowing the escaping heat to warm my house. Imagine how much heat escapes even if you minimize opening the oven door! Cook during the evening or bake in the early morning when the temperature outside isn’t at its peak. If you utilize your oven in non-peak hours, you can also open your windows and doors to cool your house off while you cook! The instant pot is a great way to cook meals without heating up your house. You can also use a slow cooker if you don’t have an instant pot.
- Frozen damp towels
An easy way to cool yourself off inside your house is to use frozen, damp towels. Dampen a small hand towel or dish cloth (not soaking wet), shape it into a ‘U’ form, and place it in the freezer until it’s frozen. Take the frozen towel from the freezer and place it around your neck. You can also freeze damp wash cloths to place on your forehead. Keep a rotation of frozen towels in your freezer, so you and your family can cool down.
You are using electricity by utilizing your freezer, but I assume you are already utilizing it during the summer months.
- Turn off lights
Keep your house cool and your electric bill low by turning off lights! You might think that a single light bulb lit in the hallway could not increase the temperature of your house, but it does! Lights emit heat, so turn them off. Use natural light that seeps around your curtains, or open your blinds instead of turning on a light. I use hardly any lights in my house, except when I stream or late at night when no more sunshine is creeping through my curtains.
Keeping your house cool during the summer months doesn’t have to be complicated, and it usually involves simple tasks. Turn off your lights and cover the windows.