Turning on an air conditioner is the quick and easy answer to hot days, but AC isn’t always available. Even when it is, there are downsides: It can drive up your power bill dramatically, and it’s not exactly the most eco-friendly appliance in your home. Keep your home cool without ac with these 10 smart home hacks, which are good for the planet and your pocketbook.
1. DIY Cooling for Where You Are
It’s a lot of work to cool the whole house when really all you need to do is cool the spot where you are. You can make a simple DIY desktop mini air conditioner unit with just a few inexpensive pieces, including a USB fan, a plastic bucket, and some disposable containers. It does a fine job of keeping you comfy at your desk, or while you’re watching TV from your favorite chair. You can follow the same basic steps to make a larger version from a foam picnic cooler, if you wish, and cool a small room.
2. Be Smart About Appliance Use
The heat outside is beyond your control, but the heat inside is something you can manage. Your home electronics generate heat all the time, so if your home entertainment system won’t be used until “couch time” in the evening, use a power bar to turn it all off during the day. The kitchen is a big offender since most cooking methods generate heat. Whenever possible prepare food in the cool morning hours for later reheating, or use countertop appliances like a toaster oven or electronic pressure cooker instead of your range.
3. Leverage Your Home’s Natural Air Flow to Cool Without AC
Whether you’re going all-in on energy conservation or just have limited options, one of your best options is to harness natural airflow through your living space. Depending on your home’s orientation relative to the prevailing winds, air will want to blow out of some windows and in others. Find out which is which by hanging sheer curtains in front of an open window. Once you’ve identified them, open one window on the “out” side and one on the “in” side to get nice airflow.
4. Make Your Window Coverings Work For You
Close the blinds on the sunny side of your house early in the day, before the sun gets there, or hang heavy drapes in front of the window. This traps the sun’s heat at the window before it spreads through your house. You can also have UV-filter coatings applied to the windows’ glass, for a fix that’s less of a “hack” and more of a long-term solution.
5. Limit Sun With House Plants and Cool Without AC
If you’d like to minimize the sun’s impact but still provide meaningful shading, consider filling your windows with plants. They won’t block the light the way a blind or heavy curtain will, but they’ll still make a substantial reduction. Add in the visual appeal of dappled light through their leaves, and the fresh look plants lend a room, and you have a solid “win” on all counts.