How to Keep Your House Cool Without Air Conditioning

Use no- and low-cost methods and energy-efficiency enhancements to stay comfortable this summer without soaring energy bills.

| July/August 2012

Cool House Patio

When outdoor air is cooler than indoor air, just opening windows and doors to let air flow through our houses can have a natural cooling effect.

Photo By Ken Hayden

Most of us who live where summers are hot have been through it: As temperatures rise into the triple digits, we crank the AC—then feel the anxiety as we open our electric bills. Americans want to feel comfortable indoors when outdoor temperatures climb—so much so that we collectively spend more than $15 billion each year on air conditioning (the equivalent of about 140 million tons of CO2 emissions). But the irony is that, while draining our wallets to keep our houses cool, we’re burning enough fossil fuels to help make the world a warmer place. Fortunately, by taking advantage of advances in energy-efficient technology and borrowing some natural cooling wisdom from the days before air conditioning was widely available, you can learn how to keep your house cool without racking up huge energy bills or carbon footprints.

Lessen the Load

The less heat that builds up inside our homes, the less we have to rely on our AC units. Begin with a few simple no- to low-budget changes:

• Close windows and window coverings in the morning before the day heats up, then open them in the evening to flush your house with cooler air.

• Turn off lights when not in use—especially incandescents, which give off a lot of heat. Replace incandescent bulbs with cooler light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescents (CFLs).

• Unplug electronic equipment when not in use, or use a “smart” power strip to completely power off electronics; most electronics use electricity—and generate heat—even when they are turned off.

• Do your laundry, ironing and cooking during the cooler parts of day—or use a clothesline, cook outdoors and opt for meals that don’t require cooking. Precooking large quantities of grains or vegetables in the evening can reduce daytime cooking needs and save time throughout the week.

9/28/2015 2:43:15 AM

There are a lot of ways to keep the temperature of your house cool, one is getting an AC, if you don't have a natural source of ventilation. Just make though that you couple it with a reliable AC company that will be there anytime you need some fix and tweaks, like Cooling For Less in here in Phoenix.

8/26/2015 8:20:54 AM

I am a student of architecture and house designs. There are lots of methods to build house and office airy and cool. I am also a certified. I am sharing some knowledge to you all. Build basement in your house the area of basement is very cool in basement you no need any air conditioner in basement. I always design basement in house design and office design.

7/16/2015 7:23:07 AM

Choosing window treatments can be a daunting task for any homeowner.Zebrablinds provides a fast and easy way to choose from hundreds of design options that are made to fit any budget. From the simple Roman Shades to automatic Solar Shades, we've got you covered.For better reference

4/20/2015 4:10:07 PM

Try planting trees.They keep the house cooler. Where I live in the deep south closing those windows all day might DARN well dehydrate a person to a slow agonizing death.

4/15/2015 3:47:21 PM

Having sturdy blinds that you keep closed during the middle of the day can really make a difference in the temperature of your house. Keeping sunlight out really makes a huge difference because it gets rid of a greenhouse effect. By having blinds closed during the day, it can save the workload of your a/c.

3/12/2015 4:34:17 AM

I agree, much of this article is simplistic. If you are serious about cooling your house, saving energy and saving the planet all at the same time, consider solar shades. They can significantly reduce your interior temperature without any need for air conditioning. Learn more about the science of it here...

10/18/2014 12:08:53 PM

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10/16/2014 2:39:49 AM

Authentically written! I found some ever to read which relates to the point of my work.

10/6/2014 6:30:11 PM

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10/6/2014 6:27:12 PM

really importanr question! i wish i could help you!

7/8/2014 11:20:21 AM

When it comes to me, the air quality in my home is the most important thing in the world. I spend a lot of time indoors, so fresh, cool air is a must. That's why I'm happy I learned about, I rarely worry about the air inside my home these days.

6/11/2014 7:40:59 AM

The solutions you presented are great and everybody should follow them to have a cooler house on hot summer days. I installed an AC conditioning system the last month and even so the solutions you provided are worth trying because the AC would use less energy, also I installed new windows and my friend told me you must make sure it will work on your windows, a common entry point for criminals.

6/5/2014 11:58:37 AM

Nothing in this article was new or enlightening. Open the windows? Use a fan? My 10 year old even thought this was a rather lame article that simply stated well-known facts. In his words, Thank you, Captain Obvious.

7/12/2013 4:43:10 AM

The coolest thing I've ever seen for cooling your house for free (not including installation costs) was a hollow pipe that ran from the basement to the attic.  As the attic heated up the rising are would suck up cool air from the basement, cooling off the attic and the house.

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