How to Keep House Cool Without Air Conditioning


Instead of being dependent on the air conditioner this summer, try a few of our simple approaches and keep cool without air conditioning! Not only will you be teaching your family about sustainable living, but you can trim your energy bills and put those savings back in your vacation fund!  I grew up in a country home without AC so here’s my best tips for how to keep the house cool without air conditioning.

Tips to Keep House Cool Without AC

Reduce The Home’s Solar Heat Gain
One of the best defenses to keeping the body cool is to keep the home cool. Invest in quality awnings to reduce solar heat gain, which is the amount of temperature that rises due to sunshine. These awnings will help block the sun during the day and if installed over a patio, the family can enjoy a shaded and comfortable space to enjoy, free of sun. Plant shade trees near the house (get the nursery’s tree specific suggestion for exactly how close).

Keep Air Ciruclation Going
Many families don’t think much of the windows in their home and instead keep them covered during the summer months to block out the sun. However, the windows are part of an elaborate circulation process that is designed to keep the home cool and the air moving. The trick is that you have to know which windows to open at which times. For starters, determine which way the breeze is moving and open the windows in this direction. It will get a cool breeze moving through the home, and this motion of air over the skin will prompt the body to cool down. Keeping windows open in the morning, evening, and night are particularly important to keeping the fresh, cooler air coming in.

Use fans
Windows are also unique in that they allow hot air to escape. For example, heat rises and if high windows are opened, the heat will pass through. To enhance the ventilation throughout the home, also consider the strategic placement of ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are a fraction of the cost of AC units and even offer an aesthetic appeal to the home. Their goal is to keep the body cool instead of cooling down a room. It’s not just ceiling fans that are beneficial, but tabletop ones, too. Create a wind tunnel by placing a box fan in the window to pull in air and another one at an opposite window to push air out.

Use Cool Water
For those intensely hot days, don’t think you have to hit the AC switch just yet. Use cold water to wet your wrists and other pressure points on the body. To continue keeping them cold, wrap a piece of ice in a washcloth and dab on the wrists. Although this may sound a bit strange, studies report that it keeps the body cool for an hour and provides instant relief. Or, use a squirt bottle to wet the sleeves of your shirts and legs of your pants.

Plan Your Activities Around The Coolest Parts of the Day
In many cases, you may just be getting through the morning until your family can head to out to the pool or take an afternoon siesta. Plan to rest during the hottest part of the day. If you have activities to do like cleaning the house, or taking care of the garden, make sure to do those early in the morning before the heat builds or late in the afternoon once things cool off.


When I was growing up, my father’s house did not have AC and we used many of these same tips to keep cool- box fans in the windows and ceiling fans. Plus we snacked on popsicles and took afternoon trips to play in the creek or lake. When it was just too hot to handle, we did my favorite thing- camping in the Smoky Mountains!

I have air conditioning now but we try to only use it when we really need it and we set the AC thermostat at 79 or 80 so we don’t use too much electricity. I hope you found these tips for how to keep house cool without air conditioning helpful. Let me know if you have any advice to add @familyfocusblog!

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