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How to Keep Your House Cool Without AC

Even if you have central air conditioning, you may be wondering how you can keep your house nice and cool without using so much air conditioning. And if you don’t have it, you may be wondering about your best options.

Ceiling fan with brown wooden blades

That’s what we’re going to look at in this article. You may be concerned about constantly rising energy costs. Or you may just want to reduce your carbon footprint Paul staying comfortable.

Either way, there are many effective, smart, and eco-friendly ways to keep your home cool without turning that thermostat down. We’ll take a look at some of the best ways to keep your house cool without AC, from DIY hacks to natural insulation materials to cool decorating tips. Let’s get started!

Effective Ways to Keep Your House Cool Without an AC Unit

First, let’s look at ways to reduce the heat in your house during the summer without having any kind of air conditioning unit. If you’re also considering installing some kind of AC unit, you can read here about the different types of air conditioners for homes and their advantages and disadvantages.

Install window film to block out heat

By using window film, you can reduce the amount of sunlight and heat that enters your house. This can be particularly effective when applied to windows that face the sun.

What is Window Film?

Window film is a thin laminate film that sticks to your windows. Some can be applied permanently, but there’s also a version called static window film that can be removed easily. That makes it ideal for renters!

The main purpose of this film is to reduce how much heat comes through your windows by blocking the infra-red component of sunlight. These films can block up to 99% of harmful UV rays from the sun, which can also protect your furniture from fading.

This can help you save significantly on your energy bill by reducing the need for air conditioning during hot seasons.

Some types also give you privacy by making it so people can’t see in. They only see a reflection, but you can still see out very well.

Close curtains during the day to block out sunlight

Another option is to keep your curtains or blinds drawn during the day to block out the heat from sunlight. This can help keep your home cooler and more comfortable.

Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can help you save a lot of energy while keeping you cool during the summer months. While the purpose of central air conditioning is to cool the temperature of a room, fans work a little differently.

Fans work by circulating the air in a room, which creates a wind-chill effect on your skin, and that makes you feel cooler without changing the room temperature itself.

Ceiling fans use significantly less electricity than air conditioners. While an AC unit uses around 3,500 watts of energy, a ceiling fan uses only about 60 watts—even when running on high speed.

This means using your fan instead of cranking up the AC can result in substantial savings. And for every degree that you raise your thermostat in summer, you save between 2% and 8% on cooling costs.

If a fan makes you feel cool enough to raise the thermostat setting a couple degrees, you’ll save money. And in rooms with very high heat loads or inadequate air conditioner sizing, a ceiling fan can help to move the cooled air  around more efficiently. That takes some load off your air conditioner.

Use Box Fans or Room Circulators

Box fans and room circulators like the Vornados I use can also help. Like ceiling fans, they also use much less energy than air conditioners.

A typical box fan uses 60-100 watts per hour, whereas a central air conditioner can use anywhere from 2000 to 5000 watts per hour.

They can be much more efficient because you can position them to blow where cool air is most needed. They also improve ventilation in general, which helps in maintaining lower temperatures throughout the room or house.


Place a fan facing outward in a window (especially at night or when it’s cooler outside), and let it draw hot air out of your home and pull cooler air in from outside.

Take Advantage of Cross Ventilation

Creating cross-ventilation is an easy way to let fresh air flow into your home and push stale, hot air out. Open your windows on opposite sides of the house, such as one in the living room and one in the bedroom, to create a draft.

If it’s hot outside, of course, you’ll need to combine this with putting fans in the window, as we just described.

Using Moisture for Evaporative Cooling

There are a few ways to add water to your cooling efforts. This is especially great when the air is dry.

  • Hang wet sheets in front of open windows to cool the incoming air. As the air flows through the wet sheets, it will be cooled down by the water, creating a natural air conditioning effect.
  • Place bowls of ice in front of fans to create a cooling mist. Just fill up one or more bowls with ice and position them in front of a fan. As the fan blows air over the ice, it will pick up moisture and create a refreshing mist in the room.

Keep Yourself Cooler

Drink plenty of liquid, as cold as you can make it, to keep yourself hydrated and cooler. If you normally drink hot coffee or tea all through the morning, consider switching to iced coffee or tea during summer.

Don’t overdress. This may seem obvious, but wearing thinner fabrics and less of it can make a big difference. Especially when using fans – when they’re able to reach your skin directly, that wind chill factor will feel colder.

Use a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature

If you do have any kind of an air conditioning system with a thermostat, it’s worth getting a programmable one. A programmable thermostat can save energy and money by automatically adjusting the temperature in your house.

Set it higher during the day when you’re not home, and lower at night when you need to sleep. Even if you work at home, chances are you don’t need the same level of cooling at all times of the day.

Many of these can be controlled from a smartphone, which is very convenient.

Eco-Friendly Techniques for Keeping Your House Cool without Air Conditioning

Let’s look at some more intense ways to make your home more summer friendly.

Plant trees or install awnings or pergolas to block out direct sunlight

Trees and shading devices like awnings and pergolas can significantly reduce the amount of direct sunlight entering your home. This can help to keep your house cooler and reduce your energy bills.

Get Better Insulation

Over time, insulation in homes can pack down and become less effective. If you’re thinking about getting it replaced, consider getting some of the best new types of insulation for blocking heat.

They will also help keep the cold out during winter.

Spray Foam Insulation: This type is applied wet and expands into thick foam. Spray foam insulation is excellent for cooling because it can stop air leakage better than other types.

Reflective or Radiant Barrier: These are typically installed in attics to reduce heat gain from the sun. They reflect radiant heat away from the home, making them an excellent choice for homes located in warmer climates.

Cellulose Insulation: Made from recycled paper products, cellulose is an eco-friendly option that also provides good thermal insulation.

Mineral Wool Insulation: Known for its fire resistance properties, mineral wool insulation also has high R-values (a measure of thermal resistance), making it effective for thermal insulation.

Polyisocyanurate (PIC) Insulation: This form of insulation offers one of the highest R-values per inch of any residential insulating material, effectively keeping homes cool in summers and warm in winters.

Time for a New Roof?

If you need a new roof, pick one that has the best qualities for beating the heat. Choosing the right roofing material can help your home stays cool during the summer. 

Cool roofs are designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. They use a reflective paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles.

Metal roofs can also be fantastic at keeping out heat. They reflect solar radiant heat instead of absorbing it, which can reduce cooling costs by up to 25%. 

Slate tiles are expensive and heavy, but they’re excellent at reducing heat transfer due to their density.

The reason clay and terracotta tiles are popular in warmer climates is that they have natural thermal resistance properties and distinctive styles.

Green roofs are a more unconventional option. Your roof is covered with vegetation and soil over a waterproof layer—an approach that provides excellent insulation.

Many HOAs would probably frown on this, but it’s extremely eco-friendly if you can pull it off where you live.

Check your house for areas of energy leakage (drafts)

If you have any gaps between walls and doors or windows, air can get into your home. Plug these up to save energy.

Start by looking for any obvious gaps or cracks around doors, windows, outlets, and wall or ceiling junctures. Check the sealant around all doors and windows. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then the door or window leaks.

Surprisingly, at least to me, outlets and light switches can let in air. You can test this by putting your hand over an outlet or switch to feel for any cold air coming through.

Attics, basements and crawlspaces can be major sources of air leakage in homes. Check for proper insulation in these areas as well as any visible holes where daylight’s coming in.

If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is completely closed when not in use to prevent heat loss.

You can take this further with a thermal camera inspection. It’s the most accurate way to detect energy leaks, as it shows shows temperature differences around doors, windows and walls.

Or you can take it all the way with a professional energy audit. A professional will give your home a thorough inspection using professional tools such as blower doors and infrared cameras to find less obvious areas of energy leakage.

Fix Drafts and Gaps in Your Home

Remember that once you’ve identified areas of energy leakage in your home, the next step is to address them—typically through weatherstripping, caulking gaps/expansion joints, adding insulation in necessary spaces etc.

Some of these projects are DIY, but others will require professional installers.

How to Create a Cool and Refreshing Home Environment without Air Conditioning

Although air conditioning is often the go-to solution for a hot and stuffy home, there are other ways to create a cool and refreshing environment without it. Here are some tips:

Create a living wall to purify the air and add humidity

A living wall is a vertical garden made up of plants that can help purify the air and add some much-needed humidity to your home. Not only is it visually appealing, but it can also help cool down your home by releasing moisture into the air.

Use natural materials for flooring and furniture to prevent overheating

Natural materials like bamboo, wood, and stone have a cooling effect and can help prevent overheating in your home. When it comes to furniture, choose materials like cotton and linen, which are breathable and help regulate body temperature.

Decorate with light colors and fabrics to reflect light and heat

Dark colors absorb heat, while light colors reflect it. So, when decorating your home, choose light-colored fabrics and furnishings to help keep it cool. You can also use light-colored paint on your walls to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption.

By implementing these tips, you can create a cool and refreshing home environment without relying on air conditioning. Not only will it save you money on energy bills, but it can also contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.


Keeping your home cool without an AC unit can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By using some of the tips and tricks mentioned above, you can beat the heat and stay comfortable during the summer months. Whether you’re looking to save money on your energy bills or reduce your carbon footprint, there are plenty of eco-friendly techniques and DIY hacks that can help keep your house cool naturally. So, try out these methods, and enjoy a cool and refreshing home environment without relying on air conditioning.