How to cool your home without air conditioning

Ned Browne 15 July 2022

Finding yourself sweltering in properties ill-equipped to cope with the heatwave? Here's how you can keep cool without installing expensive air conditioning

Close the blinds

In the heat of the day, any room that has direct sunlight will soon become a furnace.

Closing the blinds or curtains when the sun is shining through the windows will help keep temperatures lower.  

a fan pointing towards curtained windows
Photo by Andrew George on Unsplash

Get the air circulating

Creating a cross draught is essential. Before you go to bed, open windows and internal doors. And, in rooms where privacy isn’t needed, open the curtains and blinds too.

A draught can reduce the temperature by several degrees. If it’s hard to create a natural draught, place fans strategically around your property.

Remove the duvet

Most people prefer to sleep under bedding of some description—psychologists have concluded that this is because bedding makes people feel safe and protected.

A 15-tog duvet in January is heaven; in July it can be hell. But you don’t have to shell out for a new duvet; simply remove the duvet and sleep under the duvet cover.

Make sure it’s a cotton duvet cover, as these breathe more than synthetic alternatives.

bed with a thin sheet

Consider when you use your appliances

Appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers emit significant amounts of heat. As such, avoid using them during the heat of the day.

Even better, assuming it won’t disturb your or your neighbours’ sleep, put them on just before you go to bed. 

Eat salad

It’s often more appealing to eat cold food when it’s warm outside. But there’s another upside too: cooking in the heat isn’t much fun, and ovens are effectively giant heaters.

Not using your oven during the day will help keep your property cool (and will save you money).

Read more: 10 Fresh salad recipes

eating salad outside

Insulate

We normally think of insulation as something that helps keep our properties warm. But, of course, it serves a dual purpose.

A well-insulated property will stay cooler during the summer too (provided you work to keep it cool in the first place by, for example, closing the blinds during the heat of the day).

Drink lots of cold water

As the heat rises, so does the temperature of tap water. So, fill drinking bottles with tap water and put them in the fridge. You can then rotate them throughout the day.

Placing the cold bottles on hot body parts will provide instantaneous relief from the heat. 

cold water fridge

Cold showers

Taking a quick cold shower will be blissful. Alternatively, run a tepid bath and then jump in and out throughout the day.

Artificial air conditioning

If you place a bowl of ice in front of a fan, it will blast cool air across the room, which is rather pleasant.

man relaxing during heatwave

Don’t overdo it

The more active we are the more heat we generate. So please don’t overdo it.

If there’s work to be done, get it done early in the morning. You’ll get to enjoy the birdsong too.

 

Read more: What happens to the body in heat?

Read more: How to heat your home for free

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