Keeping your home comfortable during the summer without air conditioning may seem impossible. But if you have an air conditioner – or, luxury of luxuries, central air – blasting the AC can bring eye-popping energy bills. Instead, try some of these simple tricks for staying cool without air conditioning.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT BEDDING
Put away dense comforters and those made with heavier fabrics, such as satin and silk. Ditto for sheets with high thread counts, which trap heat and moisture and leave you feeling hot and muggy.
Choose thin, lightweight sheets and blankets to help you stay cool at night without resorting to air conditioning. Comforters with minimal or no filling absorb less heat and allow air to pass through, as do sheets made of cotton or a cotton blend, preferably in a light color.
USE CEILING FANS PROPERLY
Ceiling fans don’t blast arctic air, but they can help keep you cool at a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. In the summer, set ceiling fans to spin counter-clockwise to circulate cooler air. According to the federal government’s Energy Star program, a counter-clockwise rotation creates a “wind-chill effect” that makes you feel cooler.
TURN OFF THE OVEN
Using the oven can increase your home’s interior temperature and tempt you to turn on the air conditioner. Avoid this trap by choosing recipes that don’t require an oven. Rely on the stovetop, a slow cooker, a microwave, Instant Pot, or an outdoor grill when preparing meals — or throw together dishes that don’t require any cooking at all.
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
To keep a home cool, remove or reduce all unnecessary sources of heat, including lights. Incandescent and fluorescent bulbs emit not just light but also heat — enough to bump up the temperature in a room.
It’s no surprise that you instantly feel warmer when standing under or next to these bulbs. Some experts advise switching to LED lights to reduce energy costs and heat emission, but you can avoid the cost and simply rely on natural light during the day.
USE APPLIANCES AT NIGHT
Stoves and dryers can quickly increase the surrounding temperature while in operation. You can minimize the demand for air conditioning by restricting the use of these heat-emitting appliances during the heat of the day. Save cooking and laundry until the sun goes down and the outside air is cooler.