Beat the Heat: 8 Ways to Keep it Cool Without Air Conditioning

iStock_000025926943_SmallAlthough the heat hits us hard for a few weeks in summer, many homeowners don’t want the expense of an AC system used only for a few months out of the year.

Luckily, there are ways to beat the heat without AC.

Here are some tips, both simple and complex, that you can use to make your home a more livable place during these hot months.

1. Step up your home’s insulation and air sealing.

Your home may already have insulation, or possibly none at all. Either way, additions will increase the comfort of your home in both summer and winter. Air sealing also helps reduce hot air from entering and cool air from leaving. With considerable benefits and value, these enhancements can be smart home investments.

2. Install efficient windows.

Heat also enters homes through windows. Installing energy efficient windows helps reduce the problem, especially for those who live in older homes. This is a fairly major home renovation, so it can be quite expensive, but it could increase your comfort significantly.

3. Close your windows and shades in the morning.

If new windows aren’t in your budget, make sure to close your windows in the morning before it warms up and keep the shades down too. This will reduce the flow of heat coming inside. Once it cools down at night, sleep with your window open to let the cool air freshen up your home.

4. Keep the lights off.

Until it’s dark outside, there’s no reason to have the lights on. Light bulbs emit heat, which can cause an already muggy room to feel even muggier. Also, check what kind of bulbs you are using. LED bulbs emit less heat than incandescent and CFL bulbs.

5. Unplug electronics that are not in use.

Leaving unused electronics plugged in is not only wasting energy, but radiating excess heat as well. It may be a small step, but being extra mindful pays off.

6. Cook outside on the grill.

Take advantage of as much barbequing as you can during these months, since cooking with your oven or stove will make your home even hotter. Another alternative is to eat cool meals. There are lots of easy and delicious summer salads.

7. Plant trees in strategic spots.

Experiment with the landscaping around your house to keep really hot spots cooler. When you plant trees to conserve energy for summer shade, you’re not only helping yourself, but the environment too.

8. Stay hydrated!

One of the simplest ways to stay cool in your home is often forgotten: drink plenty of water! Also, enjoy the nourishment of a cold shower, dipping your feet in a bucket of ice water, or putting a cold washrag on your forehead. These simple tricks will cool you down in an instant on those super hot days and keep your body feeling happy and healthy.

When you need air conditioning

If an air conditioning system is a necessity for you, remember the importance of yearly maintenance. Replacing air filters, hiring a professional to take a look at the system, and actively ensuring its proper use will save you money in the long run.

If you’re thinking about installing a system, consider a ductless heat pump. Contrary to its name, a heat pump works as a cooling system as well. It’s much more efficient than a conventional air conditioning system, and ductless heat pumps in particular allow you to cool separate rooms at a time. For example, keep only the bedrooms cool at night to eliminate wasted energy into rooms that are not being used.

Cool Home, Hot Summer