How to Quickly Cool Down Your Home Without Cranking the AC

Every year, there’s a brief period in the late spring when the weather is blissfully tolerable, with temperatures hovering around the halfway point between frigid and scorching. What a time. The windows are open, the sun is out, and everyone is giddy with that “not too hot, not too cold, and all you need is a light jacket” type of vibe. But then you blink and it’s over. All too suddenly, you’ve descended into the sticky, sweltering depths of summer, and the only thing that makes it bearable is the ability to crank the air conditioning.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones, with a fully functioning AC system that pumps cool air through every room of my house. My heart goes out to the poor souls who get by with only a window AC unit or (gasp!) no AC at all in the summer. But still, in this economy? I don’t want to spend a fortune on keeping my space cool. So if you, like me, would like to keep your utility bill somewhat reasonable, or if you’re just trying to survive without the help of an HVAC system (again, my condolences), here’s how to cool down a home fast without the help of AC. 

1. Cover your windows

If the sun is beating down into your living room all day, you’re not doing your thermostat any favors. In the heat of the day, keep your blinds and curtains closed to avoid letting in excess heat. Especially if you have windows that face south or west, you don’t want the sun’s rays heating up a room during the hottest part of the day.

Source: @mycityapartment

2. Hang blackout curtains

To take things to the next level, invest in blackout curtains or insulated shades that can completely block out the sunlight. This trick is even more effective if your curtains have a white or reflective lining, which can bounce the sun’s rays away from your windows instead of soaking up the heat.

3. Avoid turning on the oven or stove

Cranking up the oven is only going to make your home hotter, so no-cook recipes are your friend during the summer. Choose meals that you can cook in the microwave or on the grill outside, or—better yet—find recipes that don’t require heating at all.

4. Limit your use of heat-producing appliances

Beyond the oven or stove, you might be surprised how many other appliances generate heat that will warm up a room. That includes things like your toaster, clothes dryer, dishwasher, and even the TV. If you need to do a load of laundry or dishes, at least wait until the hottest part of the day has passed.

how to cool down a home
Source: @prettyrealblog

5. Make sure your ceiling fan rotates in the right direction

Ceiling fans are great for creating a breeze that makes you feel cooler, but the direction of the blades matters if you want the best cooling effect. If you can access it, adjust your ceiling fan to rotate counterclockwise during the summer so it pulls hot air up and pushes cool air down.

6. Turn on exhaust fans

Pro tip: The exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom aren’t just for clearing out cooking smells or excess steam after a shower. They can also draw hot air and humidity out of your home, making the room feel cooler overall. However, this works best if it’s hotter inside than it is outside, so save this trick for the evenings when the temperature dips. 

7. Place a bowl of ice cubes in front of a fan

If you have a standalone fan (like a box fan or tower fan), you can make it even more effective with the help of some ice. Simply place a bowl of ice cubes directly in front of the fan so it pushes the cool air into the room. 

living room inspiration the everygirl 4
Source: @palmandprep

8. Open your windows at night

If the temperature dips in the evening, take the opportunity to throw open your windows. The cooler night breeze will help bring down the temperature indoors. Just remember to shut them again in the morning before it gets too hot.

9. Swap out your bedding

Trying to sleep in a hot room is the absolute worst. Make it easier by switching out your bedding, mattress topper, and pillows for cooling options during the summer. Look for fabrics like cotton, linen, or bamboo in a percale weave for the most breathable options. 

10. Cool down your body

If you can’t get your whole home cool, focus on what’s most important: you. Lowering your body temperature will offer some instant relief in a hot room. Choose breathable clothing, stay hydrated, and apply a cold compress to pulse points at your neck and wrists. And if all else fails, a cold shower can be a welcome reset. 

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