If you’re trying to save money, are without power, or are enduring extreme heat, you can find ways to stay cool without air conditioning (AC) in your home. While heat can make for fun in the sun, the body shouldn’t be exposed to heat for too long, as it’s harmful to the body’s brain and organs.
According to the US National Institutes of Health, when sweating isn’t enough to cool you down, you run the risk of hyperthermia, a heat-related illness that may cause heat edema and heat stroke. To keep cool, you can learn to make the most of a few basic supplies and engineer your living environment to control its temperatures. Here are 12 ways to stay cool without AC.
1. Keep Your Blinds and Curtains Closed
Keep the heat out by increasing the shade in your home—close your blinds and curtains. Blackout curtains with vinyl may block more heat than more delicate curtains.
2. Add Shade Outside Your Home
Install outdoor shades, awnings, blinds, or solar mesh screens to reduce the sunlight and heat inside your home. Focus on the part of your house that gets the most sun to save money.
3. Know When to Open Doors and Windows
Heat expands–so, it’s best not to close off unused rooms, including shutting the front and side doors. When it’s hot, opening doors and windows can help promote a cross breeze, especially in the morning.
4. Install Privacy Film on Doors and Windows
To minimize the impact of direct sun, consider installing privacy film on the glass.
5. Circulate Air With Ceiling Fans
A gentle breeze makes all the difference. Adjust ceiling fans to run counter-clockwise, and promote a cross breeze with other fans in the home.
6. Optimize Use of Standing Fans
What room do you spend the most time in? Place a box fan facing out of a nearby window to blow out hot air and replace it with cooler air. Create a cross breeze with a rotating fan.
7. Make a DIY Cooling System
In the arid western US, as well as hot countries like India, many take advantage of evaporative cooling systems–which work best in dry heat regions with humidity below 50%. If you live in a dry environment, consider making your own swamp cooler, with a bucket, fan, ice, and other supplies.
8. Stay Hydrated
Keep your body’s natural AC running optimally by staying hydrated. Symptoms of heat stroke can include dizziness, confusion, cramps, and other symptoms. Health experts recommend an average of eight glasses of water a day.
9. Insulate Your Attic and Walls
Insulation stops heat from entering the home in the summer while holding heat in during the winter. This means your home will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, resulting in lower energy bills.
10. Take Cold Showers
Why raise your body temperature when you want to cool it on a hot summer day? Take more cold showers–or at least cooler ones.
11. Cook at Night
The temperature is much cooler in the evening, so meal prep and batch cook before you go to bed.
12. Sleep on the Ground Floor
As heat expands, it also rises. Sleeping on the ground floor will keep you beneath the hot air, and sleeping on a cooler surface feels better.
Use these 12 tips to stay cool and hydrated on a hot day, and if you experience symptoms of heat-related illness or stroke, contact your doctor immediately.