Dress for the weather. If it’s hot, dress lightly. Wear light colored cotton or linen clothing to help keep yourself cool.
Turn on a fan. Moving air is cooler air. Air moving on your skin makes you feel cooler. Place fans in windows to bring more cool air in. Ceiling fans can also make a big difference. In terms of energy savings, if you run a ceiling fan full-blast for 24 hours, you will only spend about $20 a month in electricity. Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing down. But don’t leave the fan running all day — only keep it on when you’re sitting under it. It only works if the air blows on your skin. When it doesn’t the fan only adds heat to the room from the energy in the motor.
Turn Your Fan into an Air Conditioner. Another easy way to cool your home without air conditioning is to place a frozen milk jug or cola bottle in front of fans.
Control the humidity. Remove humidity somehow. Humidity makes a room hotter. Do laundry early or late in the day. Take showers or baths during the cooler times of day. If your bathroom, laundry room or kitchen has fan vents, use them. Invest in a dehumidifier if you live in a humid climate. House plants may help with this also.
Open the windows and doors when it’s cool at night or in the morning. Then, before it gets too hot, close them all up, usually around mid-day or early afternoon. If it cools off enough after the sun goes down, open the windows and doors again and let the outside air cool off the house. Use white or light colored window dressings to reflect light.
Sun shining in windows can really heat the place up. The most basic thing you can do to keep your house cooler without air conditioning is to keep as much sunlight out as possible and let cooler air in at night. During the day, keep windows, drapes, blinds or shades closed. Close blinds on your south, east, and west windows to cut down on extra heat, or, better yet, install exterior shades or shade screens to cut out the heat before it even gets inside the house. If you have a porch, you can put up large plastic or bamboo shades to cut down on sunlight.
Identify the appliances in your home that generate heat. If you aren’t at home during the day, it is easier to simply shut off as many electric appliances as possible. If you spend more of your day at home, try to use heat-generating appliances only during the coolest part of the day. For example, use the microwave instead of the stovetop or oven. Or, let your dishes air dry instead of heat-drying in your dishwasher. Keep electronics on a power strip to provide a quick way to “power-down” before leaving the house.
Change incandescent bulbs for cooler fluorescent bulbs. Turn off lights when not in use.
Landscaping for your home should be mindful of having deciduous trees (that loose their leaves in winter), trellises and shrubbery on the southern and western sides of your home. Don’t place heat-absorbing rocks, cement or asphalt too close to the house.
With a little wise planning, you are on your way to a cooler summer. When you dress lighter, open your windows, and use fans, you can be comfortable without using a/c.