How to Keep Your House Cool Without AC
Published: March 20, 2013
When sunlight enters your house, it turns into heat. You'll keep your house cooler if you reduce solar heat gain by keeping sunlight out.
Open Those Windows
Be sure to open windows when the outside temperature is lower than the inside. Cool air helps lower the temps of everything - walls, floors, furniture - items that will absorb heat as temps rise, helping inside air say cooler longer.
To create cross-ventilation, open windows on opposite sides of the house. Good ventilation helps reduce VOCs (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/air-quality/how-to-reduce-voc-exposure/) and prevents mold (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/air-quality/how-to-prevent-mold-damage/).
Fire Up Fans
You'll save money and reduce heat output by turning off appliances (http://www.houselogic.com/maintenance-repair/preventative-home-maintenance/appliances/) you're not using, particularly your computer and television. Powering down multiple appliances is easier if you connect them to the same power strip.
Don't use heat- and steam-generating appliances - ranges, ovens, washers, dryers -- during the hottest part of the day. In fact, take advantage of the heat by drying clothes outside on a line.
Plant Trees and Vines
These green house-coolers shade (http://www.houselogic.com/blog/patios/quick-ways-make-some-shade-dont-forget-trees-are-best/) your home's exterior and keep sunlight out of windows. Plant them by south- and west-facing walls, where the sun is strongest.
Deciduous trees, which leaf out in spring and drop leaves in fall, are best because they provide shade in summer, then let in sun when temperatures drop in autumn. Select trees that are native to your area, which have a better chance of surviving. When planting, determine the height, canopy width, and root spread of the mature tree and plant accordingly.
Climbing vines, such as ivy or Virginia creeper, also are good outside insulators. To prevent vine rootlets or tendrils from compromising your siding, grow them on trellises or wires about 6 in. away from the house.
Speaking of shade, here are smart, inexpensive ideas for shading your patio (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/patios/patio-shade-ideas-under-300/).
Want more tips for staying cool this summer? Substitute CFL and LED bulbs (http://www.houselogic.com/news/lighting/leds-outshine-cfls-consumer-reports-latest-lightbulb-tests/) for hotter incandescent lights.
Also, try insulating your garage door (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/insulation/how-to-insulate-a-garage-door/) to prevent heat buildup.