Tricks to Keep Your House Cool this Summer

Tricks to Keep Your House Cool this Summer

As the temperature rises, so does the cost of cooling your home, especially if you use an air conditioner. Obviously, the best way to keep your home cool during the summer is to use an air conditioner to keep the temperature down, but there are other options that don’t raise your energy bill quite significantly. Air conditioners may offer tempting temporary relief from summer heat, but they’re a huge environmental no-no. You may be cooling your home, but the fossil fuels you’re burning in the process are only making your summers hotter. This summer, leave the air conditioner in storage and try these environmentally-friendly alternatives instead. Fundamentally, the idea is to minimize sources of heat and remove built-up heat from inside.

Fans and Ceiling Fans

  • If you’re looking for ways to beat the heat, a ceiling fan can be a great investment for your home. This one appliance can make a room feel 6 or 7 degrees cooler, and even the most power-hungry fan costs less than $10 a month to use if you keep it on for 12 hours a day. Good fans make it possible for you to raise your thermostat setting and save on air-conditioning costs. Fans don’t use much energy, but when air is circulating, it feels much cooler. Ceiling fans are best, but a good portable fan can be very effective as well.
  • You should remember that even mild air movement of 1 mph can make you feel three or four degrees cooler. Also make sure your ceiling fan is turned for summer – you should feel the air blown downward.

Shades, drapes, or blinds

  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house. Close blinds, shades and draperies facing the sun (east-facing windows in the morning and west-facing windows in the afternoon) to keep the sun’s heat out and help fans or air conditioners cool more efficiently. Always remember that the best way to keep your home cool is to keep the heat out.

Internal Heat

  • The most common sources of internal heat gain are; appliances, electronic devices, and lighting. Be aware from where the heat is comming. Now if you have air conditioning, use it wisely. Don’t put lamps, televisions or other heat-generating appliances next to your air-conditioning thermostat, because the heat from these appliances will cause the air conditioner to run longer. The heat they produce will make it think your house is warmer than it really is, and your system will run harder than it needs to.
  • Unless you absolutely need them, turn off incandescent lights and heat-generating appliances. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents; they produce the same light but use a fifth the energy and heat.
  • You should also try to avoid heat-generating activities, such as cooking, on hot days or during the hottest part of the day. If you are cooking, use your range fan to vent the hot air out of your house. By reducing the amount of heat in your home, you will have to use less energy to cool it.


  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity. Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will keep your house cool in the summer and allow the sunlight to warm the house during the winter. For example just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and heating costs, and daytime air temperatures can be 3 degrees to 6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.

Roof and Walls

  • Paint your roof white – If you’ve got a flat roof, paint it with a specially formulated reflective paint or just paint it white. The reflective effect will help to keep the rooms under the flat roof much cooler.

Other things to remember

  • Humidity makes room air feel warmer, so reduce indoor humidity. Minimize mid-day washing and drying clothes, showering, and cooking. And when you must do these things, turn on ventilating fans to help extract warm, moist air.
  • Avoid landscaping with lots of unshaded rock, cement, or asphalt on the south or west sides because it increases the temperature around the house and radiates heat to the house after the sun has set.
  • If the attic isn’t already insulated or is under-insulated, insulate it NOW. Upgrading from 3 inches to 12 inches can cut cooling costs by 10 percent.


  • seang June 25, 2007 at 18:28 PMLogin to Reply →

    Also, you should caulk around your Central AC vents in your house, make sure if you buy an AC that the EER ( Energy Efficiency Rating) is very high, mine are over 13 each. On walls surrouding the house, use foam plates behind the sockets. If your windows are old, try resealing them.

  • digg suxx June 25, 2007 at 19:04 PMLogin to Reply →

    LMAO!!! Yeah, try that in Arizona.

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  • digger June 25, 2007 at 19:24 PMLogin to Reply →

    @ digg Suxx,

    may your cooling efforts fail.

  • Hot Deals June 25, 2007 at 19:25 PMLogin to Reply →

    Awesome tips to keep the degrees down

  • you're a bonehead June 25, 2007 at 19:26 PMLogin to Reply →

    Yeah, because Arizona was uninhabited before A/C was invented. Sissy.

    OK article. Think about whole-house fans too.

  • Adam June 25, 2007 at 19:28 PMLogin to Reply →

    Not really practical for people living in, say, an apartment complex. They can’t exactly go out and plant a tree over their A/C unit or paint their roof white.

  • shane June 25, 2007 at 19:28 PMLogin to Reply →

    I have a black shingle roof that absorbs the heat during the summer, so on the really hot days, i spray down my roof with the garden hose. I also cool down the air conditioner with water. The evaporation cools down my house by a few degrees, and keeps the AC unit much cooler.

  • Brad June 25, 2007 at 19:28 PMLogin to Reply →

    If you need help on growing trees for more shade, visit Tree Growing 101

  • Jeff June 25, 2007 at 19:30 PMLogin to Reply →

    left out the best one; open windows at night and close during the day.

    Depending on your climate, at night time, the ambient outdoor temperature can plummet. opening your windows at night will help cool off the interior of your house during the night by facilitating the heat exchange with night time breeze. close them again in the morning to keep the cool in and the heat out.

  • erik June 25, 2007 at 19:34 PMLogin to Reply →

    I’ll keep those in mind come summer time.

  • truckn June 25, 2007 at 19:36 PMLogin to Reply →

    u could try this

  • notefortheplaintiff June 25, 2007 at 19:37 PMLogin to Reply →

    humans weren’t meant to live in arizona. move.

  • Frederick June 25, 2007 at 19:46 PMLogin to Reply →

    You can also turn your thermostat to the “Off” position as far as heating/cooling, but switch the fan to “ON” position, so that your whole house will have air circulating but you won’t be wasting energy on the cooling elements of the unit. You’ll simply have one fan running for the whole house.

  • Ann June 25, 2007 at 19:47 PMLogin to Reply →

    I have a Boston Ivy plant that covers the south side of my brink house. The whole wall is in the shade all day long and all summer long. The in Fall, the leaves drop and I get the warmth of the winter sun.

  • Trogdor June 25, 2007 at 19:47 PMLogin to Reply →

    “Paint your roof white.”

    Many people who live in homes these days live in neighborhoods with nazi homeowners associations. I doubt such people would be allowed to plant a tree without permission, much less paint their roof.

    Fine idea, but seems rather impractical.

  • AZ living June 25, 2007 at 20:01 PMLogin to Reply →

    Yeah, try moving to Arizona and doing that… we’ll see how long you last in the 110-120 degree weather.

  • Brett Johnson June 25, 2007 at 20:03 PMLogin to Reply →

    > LMAO!!! Yeah, try that in Arizona.

    Actually, nearly all the tips are applicable to Arizona – with the exception of planting trees and avoiding rock landscapes. You can also:

    – When designing the house, construct overhangs for the south and west facing windows. You could also add awnings or trellises to existing structures.

    – Apply thermally reflective film like 3M Scotchtint (only a quick find on google, not an endorsement).

    – Buy or build a house on the northwest side of a hill or hillock. This puts your house in the shadow of the hill during the early morning low sun, delaying the start of the thermal load.

    – Install photovoltaic panels on the roof (offset from the roof surface to avoid thermal transfer). The initial expense is large, but the energy generated will offset the use of AC. Arizona has an ideal climate for PV systems. While you are up on the roof, install a solar hot water system as well.

    – Use a subterranean heat exchange system (heat pump). Although the surface temp of your yard might be too hot to stand on barefoot, the subterranean temps 3-6 feet down are significantly cooler. This too is best done at the design/construction phase of new dwellings. It also depends heavily on the local geology – you would likely never offset the cost of blasting through solid rock or removing VW-sized boulders.

  • Zakk Forchilli June 25, 2007 at 20:15 PMLogin to Reply →

    Very good read. and very helpful! keep up the good work.

  • WTL June 25, 2007 at 20:18 PMLogin to Reply →

    I live in an apartment, and we (my wife and I) use a variety of methods of keeping the place cool. Because of the nature of our place (long and skinny) if we put the A/C in the living room window, we loose all airflow.

    When it is cool(er) out, we use window fans to push and/or pull air around to promote circulation.

    Otherwise we use white blackout curtains to block the heat from coming in.

    We use curtains/doors to block off the apartment that we aren’t using…

    Yes, these won’t work for everyone. But they will work for some.

  • Kids like you suk June 25, 2007 at 20:18 PMLogin to Reply →

    Such negative asses. Geez. Get some preparation H. O wait, that’s suicidal. Call me Dr. K, and take your medicine.


  • David June 25, 2007 at 20:22 PMLogin to Reply →

    Ha. Arizona people: I think the heat is getting to you. Or maybe you guys were born retarded.

  • dig does indeed suck June 25, 2007 at 20:34 PMLogin to Reply →

    however, that’s beside the point.

    the number one tip for a cool home without using the air conditioning?

    move to a more habitable climate, dumbass.

  • josh June 25, 2007 at 20:41 PMLogin to Reply →

    for all you people talking about how this works in Arizona, and how people lived in arizona befpre A/C i hope you actually LIVE in AZ. so for everyone who wants a real opinion from an AZ native, here you go.

    first of all i do almost every single one of these during the summer, i pried myself on being a desert rat, and i can take the heat when most people give up and crank the A/C

    however there is always SOME point in the AZ summer that anyone sane will cave and turn on the A/C even if its just for a few hours from 12:30 to 3:30 because like someone previously said, there where people in AZ before A/C however if you know about those time more then half the population moved out of AZ to live with there family’s back east during the summers to ovoid the scorching heat, including women, children and the eldery. those who did stick around, did so because they had to to tend to there property, or coudlnt afford to move. and trust me, it sucked ass staying here. so although you could easily live here during the summer without A/C it would not be a fun one.

    I myself never use my A/C in the car (old habit, i never had a car that had a working A/C until recently) and dont use my A/C until the middle of the day, and even then i only set it to 85 degrees. ( which gets chilly for me at times)

    you also have to remember that alot of people live in apartments, and cant do all this fancy planting and painting and reflective blah blah blah crap.

    i have defintly gone off on a tangent here, but what my origonal point was, is that you Don’t have to use the A/C to live during the day in the A/Z summer unless you insane.

  • BJ June 25, 2007 at 20:41 PMLogin to Reply →

    You could also stick you head in the freezer.

    Arizona is hot, no doubt, but the humidity isn’t what folks along the southern coast have to deal with, in addition to 100+ degree days. In areas where the humidity is low you can use a Swamp or Evaporative Cooler… They use roughly 25% percent less energy than air conditioning and usually cost less to install, but like anything it’s not a perfect system.

    Watering your roof works, but if everyone did it the supply of water would dwindle. This tip has been employed on a large city-wide scale and that’s exactly what happen. The water bill got more expensive and we were subject to water rationing. It’s an alternate, but I wouldn’t recommend it until other options have been exhausted.

  • hotboy June 25, 2007 at 20:42 PMLogin to Reply →

    Ummmmmmm……try living in Florida too while your at it. Funny thing is Ive already tried all of these and Im actively trying all of these things along with running 3 wallunits in my house!?! I wanted to hear some advice that helps not to verify to me that I’ve tried everything….Im surprised there isn’t a tip about buying a kiddie pool to sit in. I suggest- digg a hole in the ground and stick your head in it. If that doesn’t work digg deeper until you hit the sewer line to cool off with fragrant, refreshing, sewage. Install a sprinkler on your head powered by perspiration and the positive ions of your electrolytes.

  • Gene June 25, 2007 at 20:49 PMLogin to Reply →

    My cat keep sleeping in the bathtub, I think it might be cooler in there, maybe he knows something I don’t.

  • Larz June 25, 2007 at 20:50 PMLogin to Reply →

    It hasn’t been proven that humans cause “Global Warming.” More likely that it’s a natural cycle. Pshaw. I’ll just use my A/C. It’s worth the $80 per month to run it.

    Interesting that the author didn’t suggest a dehumidifier for the humidity problem.

  • MichMich June 25, 2007 at 20:53 PMLogin to Reply →

    Or, if you have a flat roof. Spray some water on it. The vaiporizing will extract heat.

  • joe mcgrath prez of unisys June 25, 2007 at 21:11 PMLogin to Reply →

    “Paint your roof white.”

    that would be a bad idea in minnesota here or most places that get real cold in the winter, since you would want the sunlight absorption . at least I would think so anyway. not to mention, try painting shingles.

  • Germanpickle June 25, 2007 at 21:15 PMLogin to Reply →

    Wow. Where’s the easiest and most logical of all of these…

    OPEN your windows when the temperature outside is lower than inside (evening) and close all your windows when the temperature outside starts to rise again. (early morning.)

    By keeping your windows and doors closed during the day, you minimize the air escape from the house, keeping the house cooler longer.

  • mike June 25, 2007 at 21:15 PMLogin to Reply →

    My Central AC unit has two major air intakes, one in the basement, and one on the 1st floor. I usually block the 1st floor intake in the summer, so it sucks in the cold air from the basement and blows that upstairs. I’ll do this without AC for as long as I can, then turn the AC on if I need to. I do the opposite in the winter.

  • watch tv online June 25, 2007 at 21:24 PMLogin to Reply →

    Here’s another one:
    If you have a green thumb, you can try having some climbers grow on the side of your house, there are external wall brackets that you can buy at a hardware store that are just simple to install. All you have to do is pick up a climber plant like a tomato plant (added bonus of having free tomatoes), or something like a money plant/lunaria and plant it in the wall bracket and maintain it so that it climbs up the wall bracket. Basically what you’ll end up with is a plant that climbs on the outside wall of your house, the reason for this is that the plant will absorb all the heat as it grows along your house where the sun hits it so as to maximize it’s efficiency. The end result is that your house will be cooler as the plants act as a ‘shade’ by absorbing all the heat and your walls will not receive any of the heat meaning the walls will be colder and won’t add to the heating of the house in the summer time. It’s best to do this only to a side wall or an area less discrete, but once done it also adds a nice touch to your house – sorta like IVY on universities.

  • hmx June 25, 2007 at 21:34 PMLogin to Reply →

    AZ in the summer isn’t that bad so long as you don’t have a south-east facing window large enough to drive most compact sized cars through. About the middle of July you might be bitching about how insanely hot it is outside and the blast furnace coming through your window doesn’t offer much by way of cooling but one smart idea, don’t go out from around 12pm-4pm if you don’t have to. If you do, stand in the shade. My shaded patio is usually around 10-20 degrees cooler than the unshaded spots and yes, 90 degree weather is pretty damn nice so quit your whining.

    Also, when you complain about heat in AZ please specify. Flagstaff probably has nicer summer temperatures than much of the US unless those places also happen to be located 7000+ feet up.

    As for the tips, they are useful and do work in AZ. I don’t know about painting the roof white, that seems a bit extreme but most everything else works and I can comfortable keep the thermostat around 80 year-round without suffering.

    For those living in places where you have to deal with both the high temperatures and humidity, my heart goes out to you. You are a much braver soul than I. I complain when the humidity here gets in the double digits(as opposed to >8% most of the time).

  • Barry June 25, 2007 at 21:45 PMLogin to Reply →

    If you don’t want to install a ceiling fan, here’s a cheap and simple alternative – put one of those cheapy 19 inch box fans in the access hole that lets you get up into the attic (my attic access is in a bedroom closet). Just put it up into that hole, with the air being blown up. At night, by opening and closing other windows, you can have the cool night air circulating in any room you wish.
    By also keeping air moving through the attic during the day, that also keeps the attic cooler and that keeps the room’s ceilings cooler.

  • john June 25, 2007 at 21:45 PMLogin to Reply →

    COOL tips!

  • damn cold June 25, 2007 at 22:23 PMLogin to Reply →

    Arizona sun tea rocks WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Now that’s refreshing.

  • tim schneider June 25, 2007 at 22:39 PMLogin to Reply →

    AZ is hot period. Any outdoor activities get done between 5am and 10am.
    Insulation and efficient A/C units are money well spent. Basement homes would be in vogue if it weren’t for the rocky nature of the soil. It can be expensive to dig around here.

    Most houses have swimming pools.

    Swamp coolers dont work here pretty much July through Sept due to the monsoonal flow from the ‘gulf of california’ and mexico.

    Activity outside is okay up to about 105 degrees f. After that, it’s hard to cool down after a run or a bike, without a nice pool, or cold shower to soak in.

    Its only about 4 months of the year that we have to put up with it. The rest of the time is pretty nice, and beats the freezing cold and shoveling snow!

    Shorts and t-shirts at X-Mas time!

  • az4ever June 25, 2007 at 22:51 PMLogin to Reply →

    Everyone is forgetting about the winters in Arizona. That’s when I am enjoying 60 degree temperatures while the east coast is steeped in 6 feet of snow with blindingly high oil prices and power failures and death from freezing.

    Oh and well over 5 million people live in Arizona.

  • KC June 25, 2007 at 22:56 PMLogin to Reply →

    Or you could learn a thing or two from people who’ve lived in the desert for thousands of years instead of bombing them:

  • Jason June 25, 2007 at 22:57 PMLogin to Reply →

    Everyone should do what I did. My house is 400 square feet on a concrete slab, with no windows, and It is insulated with 30r insulation. It stays a comfortable 55º, while my electric bill stays nice and low. If 400 square feet is too small, get rid of the family and all your useless junk.

  • Tommy June 25, 2007 at 22:58 PMLogin to Reply →

    You obviously have never been to Phoenix.

  • Alex June 25, 2007 at 23:01 PMLogin to Reply →

    You Americans are crazy people: blowing out hundreds of watts in electric energy, and to conserve this precious energy, you’re trying to spray absolutely fine, unpoluted drinking water on your roof, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT. I got another tip for ya fellas: try turning on your car, sitting in it while turning the A/C all the way up. Thus you will stay cool without consuming any electrical energy at all…

  • Brady Cox June 25, 2007 at 23:08 PMLogin to Reply →

    If you paint your roof white… be sure to paint it black again before winter…

    I’m not sure if silver is the best choice but it makes more sense.

  • Gordon R. Vaughan June 25, 2007 at 23:08 PMLogin to Reply →

    Use flourescent light bulbs in place of incandescents, which use about 4 times as much wattage and also produce a lot of heat.

    Flourescents have done a lot to help keep our bill down here in Texas, despite rates doubling the last few years.

  • Bob Smith June 26, 2007 at 00:12 AMLogin to Reply →

    Also, use ice packs – the blue-gel kind. On some days when I’m on the edge, I grab one of those out of the freezer, place it on my head/neck, and it’s just enough to keep me from turning on the A/C. I probably nix the A/C 10 days per year by doing that.

  • Tim June 26, 2007 at 00:35 AMLogin to Reply →

    One of the best ways is a properly ventilated house. With the right window placement to receive cross-breezes you can dramatically reduce heat. Garages in front of the house are horrible (and prevalent in CA) as they allow no airflow (most anyway). Coordinate sliders and windows if possible so the wind flows right through your house.

  • Jessica June 26, 2007 at 00:46 AMLogin to Reply →

    Amazing tips. Thanks a lot .. i will try them all and will let you know if they work for me.

  • unclepaul June 26, 2007 at 01:47 AMLogin to Reply →

    cooling towers are faster to put up than trees.Use the same poles and connecters from a portable or tent style carport.Four poles about 24 feet placed upright six feet apart covered with tent like fabric all the way up except the bottom four feet.Put a mister inside and one foot down from the top.Connect the mister to your garden hose and there you go.Just like a chimney only backwards.The mist falls and cools the air as it does blowing cool air out the bottom.This draws more air in the top and on and on it goes.Put it on your south side,direct the airflow at where you need it and it will provide shade and a cool breeze cheap and much sooner than a tree.I didn`t know Arizona had apartments.Good luck.Inland southern California (Mojave,Death Valley,etc)is also hot with little water or shade.

  • Mr_Slugo June 26, 2007 at 01:56 AMLogin to Reply →

    LLumar Window Tint ….stops up to 79% of the solar energy and 99% of UV rays

  • Joe Blow June 26, 2007 at 03:44 AMLogin to Reply →

    How about hanging out in the basement?

  • digg gets naked June 26, 2007 at 04:08 AMLogin to Reply →

    strip down 2 your undies

  • ummk June 26, 2007 at 04:23 AMLogin to Reply →

    no reason to keep a fan on if you’re not in the room. It DOES NOT cool a room, only makes it feel cooler because of evaporative cooling on your skin.

    Your suggestion to run your fan for 12 hours a day sounds ridiculous unless you’re sitting in the room with it.

  • osakaboy June 26, 2007 at 04:26 AMLogin to Reply →

    ATTIC FAN! How come I haven’t read anything about attic fans which will blow the hot air out of the attic to keep the rest of the house cool?

    Uses a little energy, but what a difference it MAKES!

  • Funny Videos June 26, 2007 at 04:44 AMLogin to Reply →

    Try taking a cold shower it works everytime, and yes I know how much women hate taking cold showers!

  • ruby June 26, 2007 at 04:44 AMLogin to Reply →

    Move into a cave. They stay cool all year around. Use a mirror to direct sunlight in.

    No cave? If you’ve got a basement, it’s cool like a cave. Fix up part of it and live there during the afternoon.

  • boobies June 26, 2007 at 04:54 AMLogin to Reply →

    I love snow.

  • Taylor June 26, 2007 at 06:06 AMLogin to Reply →

    Thanks for your great tips, will definitely come in handy this summer!

  • Colin June 26, 2007 at 07:07 AMLogin to Reply →

    Even if you do avoid using the AC, the computer may overheat. And then you won’t be able to go onto your precious geek websites (digg) and pretend you have a girlfriend while reading about how to get one, while simultaneously learning how to shave, make a hamburger, and plan out your iphone sleepover.

    Who cares about Arizona? I mean really, aside from its’ impressive 5 million residents.

  • VRod June 26, 2007 at 10:34 AMLogin to Reply →

    Houston,TX gets really HOT & HUMID in the summer. We get “FEELS LIKE” temps. from the weather man… 96 but feels like 106. We’re considered one of the most air-conditioned cities on the planet. Due to deregulation in our state we also pay MORE not less for energy. Avg. house bill is $600 – $800 per summer month. Ours never exceeds $200 for 2200 sq.ft with 15 year old central A/C. Shut off A/C vents to rooms you don’t spend most time in; bathrooms, halls, guest B/R, storage rooms, etc. Keep these doors closed or use heavy curtains. Use towels or attach any material to bottom of doors to prevent hot air from these closed off rooms from circulating. While A/C is cooling, check for leaks around windows and around doors and seal up with whatever works; towels, tape, curtains, cloth, etc. Live in half your house if possible this way during the summer. Wear short loose cotton clothing and no shoes or socks. Keep traffic in and out of house to a minimum. Keep blinds and curtains closed, mostly. Adjust A/C thermostat to not turn on after you fall asleep; a few degrees higher. Use a personal fan ($9 at Wal-Mart) to fall asleep. Not cool enough, sleep naked, no covers. Not cool enough, place frozen gallon milk(ice) jug behind fan (use tray for condensation)…voila… personal A/C. Stop using clothes dryer if it is in a room that is cooled by central A/C. Hang wet clothes on hangers outside during peak heat and clothes dry faster than dryer. Wet your hair and T-shirt during peak hot time. Use ceiling fans only when you’re in the room. Keep thermostat at 82 deg. while sleeping, at 81 before noon and after 5pm. At 80 between noon and 5pm, if you’re home, otherwise 81. Never turn off A/C while away on short trips, just turn up to 82 degrees, even with pets inside.

  • wynn June 26, 2007 at 13:31 PMLogin to Reply →

    “kewling-tricks” wouldn’t it be better to use the 5-10grand$ and take the family on a nice “cool”vacation instead of on the AC-bill…:)then the other 3 hot months wouldn’t be so bad,besides you can always come on digg:)and whine”…:)

  • Stop Swimming in the Sea of Debt June 26, 2007 at 13:43 PMLogin to Reply →

    Oh and always have a pitcher of refreshingly cold fresh orange juice up for grabs for anyone in your family who’s gone thirsty because of the summer heat. Cooling gel soles for the feet and water pillows can help, too.

  • Mister June 26, 2007 at 14:51 PMLogin to Reply →

    If you have A/C set up a drip system mister to spray the condensor with a fine mist. Cost is

  • Mike Dunn June 26, 2007 at 18:08 PMLogin to Reply →

    We used “stokos” to paint our roof white, and the difference between external ambient temperature and internal temperature is roughly 9 – 10 C.
    We’re in Crete, and today’s external ambient was 42 C.

  • Robin June 26, 2007 at 18:52 PMLogin to Reply →

    There is something called the Earth-Air-Pipe. All new home construction should be required to have these installed. Google it…


  • Jay June 28, 2007 at 01:20 AMLogin to Reply →

    I am not sure if you mentioned this or not, but window film is good at blocking out the UV rays and heat. Some of them block 99% of UV rays and 70% of heat.

  • bigblu June 30, 2007 at 05:53 AMLogin to Reply →

    Why can’t you global warming- climate change sceptics, get a life. Get your heads out of the sand and learn something instead of trying to use (very bad ) humour to attempt to discredit what every climate scientist worth a light can assure you. That our climate is changing, and largely because idiots like you continue to use your a/c’s to cool your fat arses.

    I was brought up in australia where daytime temperatures regularly get above 40 C ( about 104 F to you u.s.a people) and each summer we had many days when it was 45 C in the shade. We had never heard of A/C let alone used one. We worked regular hours with an hour or so off for lunch, then back to work in the sun. Believe me, sitting on a tractor all day in those temps hardens you up, and harvesting cotton, wheat, corn etc in late summer is FUN, FUN, FUN ! Also harvesting tobacco during the hottest part of the summer dressed only in shorts and a hat, strengthens your heart. My da lived to 95.!!!!

    You very soon develop strategies to keep cool, and build your house to take advantage of prevailing breezes, shade, etc etc as pointed out by many comments on this blog. We grew up loving our hot climate, and the balmy winter days, plus the frosts at night.

    people who depend on A/C to stay cool are definitely NOT COOL !!!!

    If you live in arizona, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
    Don’t try to make it like alaska. IT AINT !!!!

  • every shut eye aint asleep June 30, 2007 at 13:47 PMLogin to Reply →

    I prefer fans and covering windows that are receiving direct sun. Shut the windows when there is sun pouring in, open them at night.
    Of course, living in buildings that were designed with no understanding of the four directions, trees, shading or anything about nature other than destroying it leaves you with little option other than to blast the AC.
    I refuse to live in places like that. I like fresh air way too much.
    Always being inside a perfectly controlled bubble is not living. People are so deprived, even though they think they are priviledged.

  • Deb DoDaDay July 2, 2007 at 10:35 AMLogin to Reply →

    Even a caveman can do it? The enviroment has been here longer than any of us. The human body can survive more than any of us, (99%), ever have had to endure. We are at a time when we know a flip of a switch or turn of a knob brings confort. Just 50 years ago what was air conditioning, yah water coolers if they worked for your climate? We did not have it and it was good, bad, but usually not noticed because we did not have a switch to flip. If you can efford the cost of cool great….if you have your energy provider shut you down for lack of payment, survival will take over and you will try anything to get the confort turned back on and you will be smarter about energy use for a while. Being smart and living according to income is the best way to stay out of the heat. There are govenment programs, less use, higher set thermostats or just go to where they have cool air in the heat of the day and leave your fan(s) running at home and turn the degree mark down when you get back and enjoy your night or rest time. If all of you honesty anwsered, when does the heat really get to you, most of us would state when we lay down to sleep.

    I have worked in 120 degrees for 30 years in the elements and a breeze felt like heaven. I worked this way because the money was the highest wage in TEXAS and I was traveling the world. Find you place and learn to live it….I am old now and live in the temp of the day and AIR CONDITIONING AT NIGHT!!!!! Sweat a little it is good for the junk in your trunk.

  • Crystal July 5, 2007 at 21:14 PMLogin to Reply →

    I have found that freezing empty milk jugs full of water ( lid off) and placing them in front of any little portable fan… and the water melts you get a very nice cooling effect… and cheaper air conditioner cuz it does wonders for the whole room.

  • Jason July 9, 2007 at 17:22 PMLogin to Reply →

    If you have a central air system, it makes sense to take the naturally cold basement air and move it upstairs. I recently had a modification called Powerzoning done in my home that pulls the cold air downstairs in through a separate cold air return in the furnace. This makes my AC run less and run more efficiently.

  • Emilia July 9, 2007 at 22:05 PMLogin to Reply →

    My room is soo hot. Thanks for the tips. Okay and you’re gay if you live in Arizona.

  • Stewart July 18, 2007 at 13:18 PMLogin to Reply →

    Hi, for the Florida folks, I’m from Florida. I live in Gainesville, and while you S. Florida folks might think that is far north and cool, it is actually one of the top 5 most humid cities in the USA. This past summer has been particularly hot and we had a very long stretch without the rains that commonly cool things down in the afternoons and evenings.

    We live in a house with no AC — no central AC, no window units, nothing.

    So, how does it work.

    1. The house was built for the climate: stone walls, not many windows on the south exposure, no large picture windows, attic space, lots of ventilation

    2. We have ceiling fans in every room

    3. During the day we close the inside shutters on windows facing the sun

    4. In the evenings we pull in cooler air from outside with window fans

    5. We have a thermostat controlled exhaust fan in the attic

    6. Recently we had to replace our roof; we replaced asphalt shingle roof with galvanized metal. This is the old Florida way of roofing and has come back into fashion and is now often put on very high-end homes and commercial buildings. The effect was immediately obvious in terms of a cooler house.

    Believe me, we don’t miss having AC, we like the ventilation, the fresh air, hearing the birds outside, and of course the lower utility bills!

    By the way, we’ve stayed in houses in Key West, Florida and in India where the built in passive cooling systems (more built in than in our house) were so effective we nearly froze to death!!! I’m not kidding: wool blankets at night in summer in south India.

    Best wishes everyone,


  • Marenda July 24, 2007 at 16:43 PMLogin to Reply →

    These are awesome tips my house has no ac and I’ve been contemplating ceiling fans, never considered white shades or additional plants thanks for the info

  • bigblu July 25, 2007 at 05:18 AMLogin to Reply →

    when thinking ‘cool house’ it’s quite simple. Think shade; prevailing breeze; reflective roof; e.g galvanized iron or plain aluminium; ventilated ceiling; shaded verandah to keep direct sun out of rooms; opening windows during day to allow any breeze to flow through and at dusk closing; greenery on sunny side; water tank on sunny side (surrounded by greenery); raise house on at least metre high posts (stumps); have sun blinds on sunny side and wide verandah on shade side.

    these simple considerations will keep your house cool in the most extreme climate.

    if you live in rented housing or an apartment or can’t modify your existing house then do as many as you can and throw away your A.C. ( dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way)

  • Tera July 25, 2007 at 12:30 PMLogin to Reply →

    If you put up tinfoil shinny side out.. all over it keeps the sun out and breaks the heat alot.. Also make sure your blinds actually keep the sun out.. The darker your house is the cooler it is.. That save you the hassel of having to paint the celing. cause i do know we arent aloud to paint without persmission but we can cover what ever we want..

  • Jennifer August 2, 2007 at 16:08 PMLogin to Reply →

    Everyone has their own threshold for how much heat they can stand, I can’t bare it past 74 indoors, my body can’t handle it. I live in CO & it has been a very hot summer, of course the one summer & am living in a rental with no ac. I live in a townhouse rental without air conditioning. On a 90 degree day it was 78 downstairs. I don’t even want to know what it was in the upstairs bedroom, I estimate 85 degrees. I tried leaving the windows open at night. Downstairs only cooled down to 71 & by 11am it was 75. The problem with these tips is that if you don’t own the house you can’t do most of them. Our windows aren’t placed right for cross ventilation. You run the risk of breakins by leaving your windows open. We couldn’t sleep with the bedroom window open because of noise from outside. My neighbors are loud, rude & ignorant. You can’t watch tv with the windows open. The kids around here scream 12 hours a day. No joke at times there will be 20 kids screaming in the big backyard behind the towhouse’s.

    We use the 2nd bedroom upstairs as a computer room. We have a portable ac in that room. On very hot days even with the computers off, when the sun is beating on that side of the building the room will get to 75 or 80 with the ac going, it sucks. I have a window fan in the bedroom, I suck the hot air out during the day & in the evening pull the cool air in till we go to sleep. If the room is very hot we will put the portable ac from the computer room in the bedroom & set it to go off 3 hours after we go to bed. We finally broke down & got a portable ac for downstairs. It is always about 65 downstairs with it going. It was a lifesaver. Before that it was too hot to even watch tv let alone cook dinner. Even cooking on the stovetop brings the room temperature up a few degrees. We are moving in 3 weeks. We got 1 ac at Lowes & 1 at Home Depot. We are planning on returning them. We couldn’t get window units because we have casement (sliding side to side) windows, they suck.

    My advice is to get window ac units. If you have casement windows like us, get a portable ac, they are around $400 much more than window units. Cook on a grill outside, you can make burgers, steaks etc & grill veggies to go with it. Make potato salad or macaroni salads in the morning. Serve salads with grilled meat. Don’t use your oven. And even cooking on the stove top creates heat. Only use your oven on very cool days in the morning. Do your laundry early in the morning. Run your dishwasher at night. Take showers early in the morning. Tint your windows if you can. We got the stuff & it was so much trouble my husband gave up. I’ve heard it does wonders, though. If you live in a dry climate & can tolerate outside noise, get a swamp cooler. If you own the house, check out how much getting central ac might be, it might be more affordable than you think.

    Hope my story helps. I will never again live in a house without ac.

  • James deboar August 9, 2007 at 02:22 AMLogin to Reply →

    Whats the same about the sun and the moon

  • Arkansas Guy August 18, 2007 at 21:24 PMLogin to Reply →

    For all of you who complain about the heat in Phoenix, might I suggest taking a visit to Arkansas in August. 100 degrees here feels like 110. 89 degrees here feels like 100. You don’t have the slightest clue as to what humidity does to the human body or an A/C unit for that matter. It is uncomfortable at 2:00 a.m. while you are wearing a jacket at that hour. You sweat profusely at 90 degrees here while not a drop of sweat comes off of you at 110 in Phoenix. I know. I’ve been there. The desert may be hot but it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as the mid-south. Quit your whining Arizona.

  • Nice Help April 14, 2008 at 04:15 AMLogin to Reply →

    Nice cooling tips. It will help me out this summer. Thanks.

  • Marina May 16, 2008 at 02:01 AMLogin to Reply →

    Hi there! A good thing to try is to buy some ice a nice big chuck and put is in fount of a fan. The ones on the ground. well if you cant do that put some ice in a big cup you can even freeze it… well then put the fan behind that and you will feel the cool air real soon!! good luck!

  • Jolene May 16, 2008 at 18:31 PMLogin to Reply →

    Word of advice, don’t put a black roof on your house. We used to have a wood shake roof and that kept our house at least 5 degrees cooler than it is now with a black composition roof.

  • jimbob June 9, 2008 at 16:03 PMLogin to Reply →

    get naked!

  • angela d July 9, 2008 at 02:22 AMLogin to Reply →


  • amber in greece August 23, 2008 at 20:25 PMLogin to Reply →

    Sleep Naked, keep windows open at night. buy thin cheap curtains – spray with water. One tribe, (could have been from around arizona, i don’t know) – covered windows with woven wet reeds. As the air passed through it was cooled off.

  • Abigail October 21, 2008 at 13:43 PMLogin to Reply →

    im so bored in skool in technology lol n ma mates are geeks !!!!!!!

  • Sassy April 28, 2009 at 13:59 PMLogin to Reply →

    HI- I live in New England and it is not so much the heat that bothers us as it is the humidity. How can you reduce the humidity in your home without ac? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Lynn

  • ant June 30, 2009 at 21:36 PMLogin to Reply →

    when its hot i usually put ice cream down my pants n put my head in the frezer =]

  • ronnie November 4, 2009 at 15:44 PMLogin to Reply →

    love that story.
    my company breeze air in new york city try to change to a green HVAC systems.

    good luck

  • Muralli Sinnadurai January 14, 2010 at 07:01 AMLogin to Reply →

    This was a replacement for the identical radiator which I had for at least 15 years. We installed it originally when we did a bathroom remodel (you need to tear into the wall). I like it because it is not in the midpoint of the room and it kicks out the right amount of heat for my So. Calif climate. Replacement was a breeze.

  • HVACJonathan January 19, 2010 at 20:44 PMLogin to Reply →

    Great article. Excellent ideas to replace conventional cooling methods.

  • proggy February 14, 2010 at 02:23 AMLogin to Reply →

    Cheers to those people who offered some constructive advice…. the rest of you with too much time on your hands to comment lucidly are sooooo full of sh## ….
    Typical Septic-tank yanks….!! your comments stink!!

  • Kelly Conklin March 23, 2010 at 15:57 PMLogin to Reply →

    The recommendation to use window shades to help keep a home cool is right on. Insulating cellular shades go a long way towards keeping the hot air out and the cool air in. What is nice about them is you can get them in light filtering fabric so when they are lowered you don’t feel like you’re in a dark cave. I made sure to get them on my skylights as that is a HUGE source of heat gain.

  • Mikel Kjellsen March 30, 2010 at 19:08 PMLogin to Reply →

    I’ve liked reading these types of blogs. Exciting stuff! Solar energy has always been a fascination with me.

  • penelope July 7, 2010 at 17:08 PMLogin to Reply →

    I live in a mobile home, its fixin to be 99′ here today! Last summer
    I put the sprinkler on the roof (well water) and IT REALLY HELPED!

  • Eve July 11, 2010 at 07:40 AMLogin to Reply →

    oh my goodness people it is hot as heck everywhere…inside my home yesterday was 89…i have 4 fans running and my AC..yes we in GA have AC…the humidity index yesterday almost 110…i have foil on my windows towels under the doors taped the doors up to rooms we do not use…and we rent due to being military and move way to much to purchase anything in this day and time…but once again I can only personally do so much to this manufactured home even though nice..has NO shade..the sun beats down on it ….it is miserable everywhere right now…..So even though your suggestions are appreciate you have no right looking down on others because you have no idea of there personal living situations…..I hated putting foil on my windows but it did help some…brought the temp in my home from 99 down to the 80’s some days…but my AC does run constantly except early mornings I turn it off to try and cool it down some ….and my AC unit has been checked as well as the thermostat….I wish I could find other good ideas to help cool my manufactured home down more…..just keep on looking I guess….remember not everyone owns a home…so they can’t just do things to it…..oh don’t forget to check your fireplaces…they suck out air…I ducked taped out duct…

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  • Stay Cool in Summer May 14, 2011 at 23:26 PMLogin to Reply →

    Some great tips here for natural easy ways to reduce heat as a whole. I personally just sit outside under a shady tree with a bottle of ice water and read a book. Great excuse to be lazy!

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  • Marcus Fillion January 22, 2015 at 21:50 PMLogin to Reply →

    I knew that fans made a difference, but I had no idea it was that significant. Ceiling fans seem outdated when compared to an AC, but they’re still quite valuable. I think they’re best when used in conjunction with the AC, especially at night.

  • Rose Henderson April 13, 2015 at 16:06 PMLogin to Reply →

    It’s already starting to get pretty warm where I live. I just moved a few months ago and didn’t realize how hot this place would get! Thanks for the really great ideas. I need to invest in some better drapes for my home to keep some of the heat out.