5 Clever Ways to Keep Your Home Cool and Fresh Without Air Conditioning

Some days there's nothing worse than stepping inside after a long day spent in radiating summer heat, only to find that your house is just as toasty — worse even! That stuffy indoor heat can be stifling. But without air conditioning, what are you to do?

Air conditioning may be the quickest way to crisp, cool indoor air, but it's not the only way to beat the heat. Here are a few tips to keep your place cool, even when you don't have A/C.

1. Cover windows and doors

Sun coming in through your windows is the quickest way to turn your house into an oven. Make use of those blinds to keep the sunlight out (either flip them up to keep sunlight pointing away from the house or flip them down to make the room darker) or install reflective blackout curtains if you don't have shades installed.

2. Ice and fan

This old school trick has been top of the list for ages! Put ice in a large bowl, then set up a house fan to blow air across it. This creates a lovely, misty breeze that feels ah-ma-zing on really hot days.

3. Use your exhaust fans

Few people know that exhaust fans can actually pull heat and moisture out of your home. While they'll never be as effective as a whole house fan, they're a great little tool for reducing heat and humidity when you don't have air conditioning.

4. Create drafts strategically

If you're an early riser, open up the windows and doors to let in a cool breeze before the sun starts baking. It's like free A/C, as long as you shut them when it gets warmer outside than it is inside.

5. Cook when it's cool

Stoves and ovens are major contributors to indoor heat. You may not notice in the wintertime, but come summer, every little bit of extra heat compounds the problem. To avoid this, cook with your stove only in the morning when it's cooler outside, then use your crockpot, Instant Pot, grill or rocket stove for the rest of the day. It might feel silly, but it works!

A few extra tips

  • Sick of tossing and turning till the "cold side of the pillow" simply doesn't exist anymore? Swap your microfiber, jersey knit and flannel sheets for cotton percale sheets. Cotton is breathable, soft and easy to launder. So worth it!

  • Freeze a hot water bottle, then pop it in the bottom of the bed before you settle in to keep you cool. The material doesn't sweat and it takes a long time to lose its coldness. Really, a pretty tricky idea!

  • Set up your box fans to blow hot air out of your home, instead of attempting to draw cool air in. If the temperatures outside are hotter than inside, you'll be disappointed. Better to remove the hot air instead!

  • Use a buckwheat pillow. This is a funny one, but it works great! Buckwheat hulls don't absorb heat like other materials used to stuff pillows do.

What crazy things have you tried to keep your home cool without air conditioning? Share your secrets!

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