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How to Cool Your House Without AC

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The 12 Best Ways to Cool Your House Without AC

When the temperature is soaring outside, nothing feels better than escaping to air conditioned bliss inside. Unfortunately, all those running air conditioners can lead to a variety of environmental problems. But here’s the good news: it is possible to cool your house without AC!

I live in Florida, so I know a thing or two about trying to keep a house cool. Of course, I also know how astronomically high our electricity bill can get in the summer when we use the AC.

These tips are things I actually do to help keep the house cool and cut back on how often we have to run the AC. This summer, you can save money and help out the environment at the same time when you check out how to cool your house without AC.

Related: How to Help Children Have a More Sustainable Summer

The Environmental Impact of Air Conditioning

Air conditioning can make those hot summer days a lot more bearable. But they also negatively impact the environment.

Most air conditioners use electricity to run and use a refrigerant that releases gas emissions that deplete the ozone layer and cause climate change. In fact, some studies think that by 2050, around 25% of global warming will be caused by air conditioning.

Air conditioners typically use either CFCs and HFCs refrigerants, which both create gas byproducts. CFCs are responsible for ozone depletion and are banned, so they’re only in older units. Unfortunately, their replacement, HFCs, contribute heavily to the greenhouse effect.

Additionally, air conditioners require A LOT of energy to work. If you’re not using sustainable energy to power your house, it means you’re using electricity from a coal, natural gas, or oil power plant. Generating power from fossil fuels is a leading source of global warming pollution.

Unfortunately, this means we’re stuck in a loop. Warmer temperatures lead to more people using air conditioning, but more people using air conditioning leads to warmer temperatures.

Creative Ways to Cool Your House Without AC

Fortunately, air conditioning isn’t the only way to cool a house. You can save money, protect the environment, AND still stay comfortable with these creative ways to cool your house without AC.

1. Close Your Curtains

Pots of flowers in country cottage window with billowing curtains

Since about 76% of sunlight that hits your windows turns into heat, the absolute easiest thing you can do to keep a room cool without using AC is close the curtains.

Blackout curtains do a fantastic job of blocking those hot sun rays and keeping your rooms cool. Even better, it’s incredibly easy to turn any set of curtains into blackout ones when you use these blackout liners.

All you have to do is pin the liners to the back of your existing curtains, and you’ll instantly get to enjoy all of the benefits of traditional blackout curtains.

2. Apply Window Tint

Another inexpensive way to cool your house without AC is to apply window tint. Window tint is easy to install on your own and blocks UV and infrared rays.

It also acts similar to a one-way mirror during the daytime. You can still see outside, but the reflecting sun gives you privacy and makes it hard for people to see inside your home.

3. Install Shutters

As you can see, the most important thing you can do to cool your house without AC is prevent sunlight from getting into your home in the first place. In addition to curtains and window tint, another thing you can do is install shutters or awnings over your windows.

Shutters or awnings will block the sun before it even hits your glass windows, which can help keep the temperature down inside your home.

4. Use Your Ceiling Fans (And Make Sure They’re Spinning the Right Way!)

White ceiling fan spinning quickly on wooden ceiling

Ceiling fans are an incredibly underused way to keep your rooms cool. But did you know they spin in two different directions?

Depending on which way the blades are turning, you can either create a breeze to help cool you down or force warm air down to help warm you up. In the summer, the blades should rotate counter-clockwise (as you look up at it), and in the winter, they should rotate clockwise.

Just remember that ceiling fans don’t actually cool the air. They create a breeze that helps your sweat evaporate quicker and cool your skin. Therefore, you don’t want to leave a ceiling fan on when you’re not in the room so you don’t waste electricity.

5. Do Certain Chores at Night

Some appliances give off a significant amount of heat as you use them. After all, nothing heats up a room faster than a 350-degree oven. Even stove burners emit some heat when you use them, so be deliberate about which kitchen appliances you’re using.

Related: The Best Non-Toxic Baking Sheets to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Food

If possible, try to make recipes that don’t require heat, or use an outdoor grill during the warm summer months. You can also check out this collection of easy-to-make vegetarian Instant Pot recipes.

Dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers also give off heat when they run, so try to limit their use to the evening hours when cooler outside temperatures can help offset their heat output.

Related: How to Create an Eco-Friendly Laundry Room

6. Create Your Own AC

With just a few simple items around your home, you can actually create your own personal AC. Simply fill a bowl with ice or ice packs, place the bowl in front of a fan, and turn the fan on.

The fan will blow a cool, misty breeze right over you and immediately help you cool down. Once the ice melts, don’t just dump it down the drain! Instead, you can use it to water your houseplants or the vegetable plants in your garden.

7. Open Your Windows at Night

Trying to fall asleep when it’s hot in your room is absolutely miserable. Once the sun goes down, most places experience a nice drop in temperature as well. If possible, consider opening your windows at night to let that cool air inside.

Related: How to Create an Eco-Friendly Sanctuary in Your Bedroom

By opening several windows and keeping the interior doors open as well, you should be able to create a nice cross breeze that will fill your entire house with cool air.

Just make sure you remember to close your windows in the morning so you can trap that cool air inside and prevent warm air from getting in!

8. Create a Cooling Bed

If you don’t have the luxury of being able to open your windows at night, there are other things you can do to stay cool when you’re sleeping.

Related: How to Quickly and Naturally Fall Asleep

First, make the switch to these organic percale sheets. Made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, they’re perfect for anyone who sleeps hot because they’re super soft, breathable, and cooling. Next, pick up this memory foam pillow that contours to your head and neck and keeps you cool all night long.

When it’s time to get a new mattress, this modern foam mattress has dual-phase cooling technology that actively pulls away body heat and disperses it to keep you comfortable throughout the night. It’s also made with CertiPUR-US certified memory foam, so you know it won’t release any toxic fumes like traditional mattresses.

Related: The Safest and Most Eco-Friendly Mattresses for Everyone in the Family

If it’s not time to get a new mattress, you can convert your current one into a cooling retreat with this Eco Organic Mattress Topper. Not only does the mattress topper offer naturally cool support using 100% organic materials, but it can also help extend the life of your current mattress.

9. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs waste around 90% of their energy simply emitting heat. If you’re trying to cool down a room without AC, something as simple as switching to LED bulbs can have a big impact. Even better, it can also help lower your electric bill!

At one time, LED light bulbs used to be more expensive than other types of bulbs. However, advancements in technology have made them significantly more affordable.

If you would still rather wait until your current bulbs burn out before you replace them, simply keep your lights off during the day to help keep your home cool.

10. Drink More Water

Dehydration reduces your body’s ability to maintain a normal temperature, which means you’ll feel even more affected by heat than usual. Anytime you feel thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated.

Drinking cool water (not iced) can help cool down your body from the inside and keep your body from overheating.

Related: 10 Genius Ways to Naturally and Quickly Boost Your Energy

11. Plant Trees Strategically

Would you like to save up to 30% on your heating and cooling costs? What if I told you that was possible by simply planting the right type of trees in the right places? It’s true!

As the sun rises in the east, it begins to bake your house. You should plant full, leafy trees so they will shade your east-facing walls and windows from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and west-facing spots from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the months of June, July, and August.

When you’re picking out which trees to plant, try to stick with native species. For example, although Norway maples are large trees that provide plenty of shade, they’re listed as an invasive species in several states because they inhibit the understory growth of other plants.

Instead, consider the sugar maple, which is native to North America and provides a nice amount of shade. As an added bonus, it also has stunningly beautiful foliage in the fall.

Or, consider nut and fruit trees that look beautiful, provide shade, give shelter to animals, and grow food you can eat!

12. Plant Vines

Engelman Ivy Virginia Creeper

Vines are another plant you can use around your house to help cool it down without using AC. Vines, such as ivy, grow quickly and provide cooling shade. As they climb, they reduce the temperature in your home by blocking the sunlight that heats up the exterior walls.

Plus, vines aren’t just good for helping to keep your house cool. They also provide a habitat for caterpillars and butterflies, and their flowers provide nectar for pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Related: Easy Ways to Attract Bees to Your Vegetable Garden

Bonus Tip: Consider a Heat Pump

Like other appliances in our homes, furnaces and air conditioners will only last a certain amount of time before you have to replace them. When that time comes, consider installing a heat pump.

Even though the name is misleading, heat pumps can heat a house in the winter and cool it in the summer. They could also be the answer to heating and cooling our houses with a much smaller carbon footprint.

The benefits are twofold. First, since heat pumps run on electricity, they eliminate the appliances that use fossil fuels, such as oil or natural gas furnaces.

Second, because they’re extremely energy efficient, they require less electricity to operate than other types of furnaces and air conditioners. Not only does that mean fewer emissions, but it also means you save more money!

How to Cool Your House Without AC

When the weather gets warm, you don’t have to immediately crank up the air conditioning. Instead, use some of these tips on how to cool your house without AC to keep things comfortable inside. The environment and your wallet will thank you!

More Outstanding Eco-Friendly Tips

Did you find these tips on how to keep your house cool without air conditioning helpful? Are you interested in checking out even more excellent tips on eco-friendly living? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:

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