During the hottest days of summer, it’s tempting to crank the AC (or wish you own air conditioning) because of the brutally high temperature. We just know it’s the surefire way to cool down indoors, and get a good night’s sleep during summer nights. But using air conditioning doesn’t have to be the only way – remember our grandparents and ancestors survived heat without air conditioning! If you want to save money on energy or if you simply don’t have air conditioning, here are some ways to keep your house cool without AC:
1. Create your own DIY aircon
This may sound complicated and techy, but it’s actually really simple. Fill a metal bucket or large bowl with ice or ice pack, and position it in an angle in front of an electric fan where the air whips off the ice. The breeze from the fan will pick up cold air from the ice’s surface as it melts, giving you a cooling mist.
2. Make your ceiling fans rotate counter-clockwise
Ceiling fans are a bit old-fashioned, but they are still used in homes simply because they can totally cool a room. If you own ceiling fans, set it to run counter-clockwise at higher speed during the summer to draw cooler air from the floor up.
3. Keep your blinds closed from late morning to early evening
A lot of unwanted heat our homes receive during the summer comes from the windows. Close your blinds and curtains during the late morning to early evening to prevent your indoors from heating up. To really block sunlight, you may naturally insulate the home with blackout curtains. You may even invest in smart blinds or solar powered blinds if you like, for optimal benefit. Then, once the sun has set, open up your windows because temperatures drop during the night. Let the cooler night breeze to enter your home.
4. Cook outside
When the weather is too hot, no one enjoys cooking inside. Roasting in the oven and whipping up a hot casserole is not ideal as it can easily heat up the kitchen. Luckily, summer is the best season to fire up the grill outside and to enjoy hanging out in your outdoor dining furniture. Not to mention that barbeque and steak sounds super yummy! But if you’re not a fan of grilled food, you may swap your diet with sandwiches, salads and fruits. Go for vegetable salads and refreshing fruits as they keep you hydrated and cool.
5. Cool the house through your windows
When the air outside is cooler and drier than the air inside, hang a damp cloth or sheet by the open window. The breeze is cooled by the evaporating water, letting cooler air enter your home. Then at the same room, by the other window, point a box fan outside to push the hot air out.
6. Unplug and turn off unnecessary heat sources
You may not feel it, but a plugged charger, a TV on standby, and a light turned on actually adds heat through the sockets. Use artificial lights minimally, and switch to LED and CFL light bulbs, if you’re still using incandescent light bulbs. Besides reducing heat, of course it lowers your electric bill as well.
7. Try sleeping like an Egyptian
If you keep on tossing and turning in bed during the summer, and you can’t sleep because you’ve been sweating, try for yourself what Egyptians do to stay cool during the summer. The “Egyptian method” is an old technique that involves soaking a sheet or towel in cold water then squeezing it dry so it’s just damp but not dripping wet then use it as a blanket. To avoid soaking the mattress, lay it on top of a dry towel. If you don’t want to use a medium as big as a sheet, simply use a cold washcloth or icepack and keep it in your head or wrists as you sleep. Or you can just use damp socks to keep your feet cool as you sleep.
8. Cool your bed
If you don’t like the idea of dampening the sheets, you can simply pop them in the freezer (but first cover it in plastic so it won’t smell like raw meat) before bedtime. The cold temperature of the sheet won’t last as the Egyptian method, but it would be enough to cool you down as you try to sleep. For your feet, fill a hot water bag/bottle with water, stick it in the freezer, and place it at the foot of your bed for a bed-friendly ice pack. Use a Chillow (a high-tech pillow that stays cool through water circulation) instead of your regular pillow to place under your head. Also, choose light-colored linens made of lightweight cotton – keep your flannel, fleece, silk, satin and polyester sheets away.
9. Sleep low and alone
Trying to sleep comfortably is really a great struggle as temperature rises. It is normal for hot air to rise, so you’d notice that it’s cooler downstairs than upstairs. Set up your bed or mattress on the floor, or sleep in the ground floor instead of the upper story. And stay cool by sleeping alone if you want a cool and calm oasis. Summertime is not a great time for spooning and cuddling with a partner since it increases body heat.
10. Lower your body temperature
Besides keeping your external surroundings cool, it’s more important to cool your body itself. It starts by drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, choosing lighter clothes, sipping iced drinks and eating some frozen treats. You can also lower your body temperature effectively by applying ice packs or cold compresses on key body areas like the wrists, neck, behind the knees, elbows, ankles and groin.