In the times before the air conditioner, people had to find many ways to keep themselves cool during the summer, and reduce the heat that was trapped inside their homes. Many times just a few simple upgrades can dramatically reduce the heat that comes into your home, while other times the only option is to try to get the heat out. Even when you have access to an air conditioner, it is not always the best option financially.
1. Tune/Update Your Windows
If you have high windows, simply open them when it is hot outside. In the case of double hung windows, open the lower portion on the upwind side of the home, and the upper portion of the downwind side. This will cause the pressure to suck the air through your home. Updated windows will prevent cool air from seeping out and hot air from seeping in. The best option is installing windows with double-pane insulated glass.
2. Plant a Tree
There is a strategy to this—a tree planted so that its shade will cover a portion of the home, will provide relief from heat creeping into the house, as long as the sun will cast a shadow on the home.
3. Paint Your Roof
Light colors reflect UV rays rather than absorbing them, much like how ice or snow does.
4. Install External Blinds or Operable Shutters
These are designed to keep the sun out in the summer, but let it in during the winter. Shutters provide security, shading, and ventilation. While external blinds are not common in North America, they are popular in Australia and the European countries.
5. Close Your Drapes
Line your drapes with a light colored fabric that will reflect the sun, and then close them for the hottest portion of the day.
6. Cook Hot Food Outside
Stoves bring in a lot of extra heat during the summer, and more money has to be spent trying to cool the home off, due to it. Cooking hot food outside is one of the creative ways to reduce electricity bills while keeping the house cool.
7. Utilize High-Reflectivity Window Film
These films are used to save energy through reflecting light on the east and west facing windows. The films that appear mirror-like are more effective than those that are transparent.
8. Unplug Electronics
This will reduce heat output from things like televisions and computers, as all larger appliances and electronics generate heat when they are plugged in.
9. Rethink Your Pillows
Buckwheat pillows don’t absorb heat like regular cotton and down. These pillows will help to keep you and your bedroom cool during hot summer nights.
10. Hang a Sheet
To cool down a whole room, hang a wet sheet in front of a window that is open when there is a breeze. This will help to rapidly cool down the temperature of the room.
11. Use Blocks of Ice
A DIY air conditioner can be made by placing a block of ice in a shallow pan or bowl, in front of an open window. The breeze will pick up the cold water and create mist.
12. Choose Your Bed Linens Carefully
To reduce heat in the bedroom, opt for lightweight cotton. These sheets are breathable and will promote airflow and ventilation in the bedroom.
13. Open Up Your Windows
When the temperature outside is lower than it is inside, open the windows up. This will help to cool all elements of the home (including the walls, floors, etc.) that absorb heat when temperatures rise.
14. Utilize Awnings
This can help to reduce the solar heat gain in a home. Some research has said that awnings can lower heat gain from windows with western exposure by up to 77 percent, and heat gain from southern exposure by up to 65 percent.
15. Plant Vines
Vines will shade a building’s walls from the sun, reducing the average daily fluctuation of temperature by up to 50% through a process called evapotranspiration. Some vines do cause damage, so be sure to research the best type of vine for your home’s exterior.