20 Tips to Keep House Cool without AC in Summer
Mahadev Desai is the Founder and CEO of gharpedia.com and SDCPL a leading design consultancy firm having strong national presence. He has a degree in Civil Engineering (BE) and Law (LLB) and has rich experience of 45 years. Besides being the Editor in Chief, he also mentors team at GharPedia. He is associated with many professional bodies. He is also co-founder of 1mnt.in the first in Industry software for contractors’ billing. He is a voracious reader, edited 4 books, and pioneer of book reading movement in Gujarat, India.
Summers are always welcome for its extravagance beauty. Summer time brings many wonderful things, except for extreme heat. The kind of summer that hits our country is wild, scorching and unbearable. In summers, the sun rays more or less directly fall in this region. Therefore, temperature becomes very high. With mercury rising to higher levels every year, it seems impossible to stay without an air conditioner or a room cooler. However, we are aware that ACs aren’t cheap. It is not unusual for electricity bills in summer to touch multiples of thousands for just a month! Besides the heavy bill, electricity cut is another problem that we have to deal with. Although, the cuts have been substantially reduced in the big cities but situation still remains bad in rest of the country. Bearing a heat is not everyone’s cup of tea. The weather and the atmosphere around us directly affect a lot on our work efficiency, and daily actions. When it is hot outside, when that heat seeps in your house, you feel sickly, sweaty and it is just simply uncomfortable and hard to muster up the motivation to do anything.
If the structure of your house is not suitable for installing an AC unit or if you’re trying to save money by not running your AC, you need to find different ways to keep your home cool during the hot summer months. There are plenty of ways out there to keep your home cool without spending a lot of money. Here’s what you need to do when your house starts feeling sweltering heat too. Of course, this will depend upon the material and technology that you have used for the construction of your house i.e. brick walls or drywalls, RCC slab roof or metal roof and so on.
Let’s start with some effective ways on how to keep house cool without AC in hot summer months.
20 Ways to Keep your House Cool without AC
It is important to consider the orientation before you buy any property (including an apartment or bungalow), or start designing a new house or renovate the house. It is the positioning of a building in relation to seasonal variations in the sun’s path as well as prevailing wind patterns which is most important. The good orientation can increase the energy efficiency of your home, making it more comfortable to live in & of course cheaper to run! For more detailed on orientation, please refer our detailed article: Importance of Building Orientation in Architecture!
02. Plant Shade or Awnings
Growing plants and trees outside your house is the simplest way to drive away heat. A deciduous tree provides shade in summer and allows light through their branches which are bare in the winter. Providing an efficient plant shade for the south and west windows will reduce the heat from the sun.
Permanent outside features, such as an awning, can help block the sunlight from entering your home. While these features are often considered as an investment of time and money, it is worth it if they help to cool down your house. Since growing trees can take years, some people also use a fast-growing vine to help cover up windows.
03. Keep Blinds or Curtains Shut During the Day
Windows are one of the biggest sources of unwanted heat in the house though they are equally important for light. Windows also enables cross ventilation in a house that absorbs heat, thereby helping inside air say cooler longer. While letting natural light into your home helps make your space feel more bright and cheery; it also heats up your house. Unwanted heat in the house comes through the window. The remedy is to keep blinds or curtains shut during the hottest part of the day and to open after sunset. It is always advisable for keep the west and south-facing window blinds or curtains closed. Bamboo blinds are a good option for windows. To further prevent your house from turning into a mini-greenhouse, consider investing in blackout shades for windows that faces south and west. Blackout shades can help reduce the amount of heat that is transferred into your house.
04. Optimize Your Fans
Ceiling fans and portable fans help to circulate the hot air within your house to keep things at a more comfortable temperature. Regularly check to make sure dust isn’t collecting on your fans. Not only does dust contribute to respiratory problems, but it can also cause your fans to slow down. To help keep your fans running smoothly, make sure to regularly clean and polish the blades. Running your fans counter clockwise also helps to make the air chillier. Particularly on hot days, you may even want to consider setting a bowl of ice in front of your fan.
05. Reduce Humidity, Turn on Exhaust Fans
Installing exhaust fans where there is a higher level of humidity in the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms can be an excellent way of controlling heat to a larger extent. Showering steam can increase the level of humidity in the house. While showering or even after that, open the windows so to let moisture escape as much as possible. Never dry clothes in the house. Wet clothes increase the level of humidity in the house.
Exhaust fans not only help remove moisture in the air, but they also help suck up hot air. Exhaust fans are mostly noisy, so you might not want to run them all the time, but they can be helpful if you’ve just taken a hot shower or made a hot meal.
06. Create an Ice Fan
Fill a large bowl with ice and place it in front of a fan. You will get a chilled breeze. This is a conventional method of dealing with heat. Of course, the only limitation here is, this is effective only for a small area.
07. Avoid Using the Stove and Oven
Cooking with a stove or an oven can warm your kitchen up, making hot summer days in your kitchen even hotter. Stick to making foods that you don’t have to heat up, such as sandwiches, wraps, and salads. If you absolutely need a hot meal, considering investing in a grill. This keeps the heat outside instead of in your home.
Plugging any appliance into a socket produces heat. Hence unplug all unnecessary appliances or electronic gadgets when not in use.
08. Avoid Artificial Light
09. Cool Down Your Bed
Use seasonally appropriate linens, such as ones made from a breathable material like cotton or bamboo. Avoid fabrics such as silk, flannel, and fleece that trap the heat. If you are aware of cooling mattress pads, you might be wondering if they keep you cool on hot summer nights! The answer is yes; cooling mattress pads can help in keeping most people comfortable during the summer. However, you should still try to pair them with other cooling techniques such as breathable linens and fans.
Also Read: How to Improve Your Bedroom Space?
10. Vetiver or Khus Khus Curtains
Vetiver curtains are highly suitable for summer. They are used for windows and balconies. They are natural and eco-friendly cooling curtains. They are economical and they have an inbuilt cooling quality that keeps the place cool. Moreover, they carry good fragrances which make the atmosphere of the surrounding area pleasant.
These curtains have a dark brown colour which indicates the high quality of roots. They are comparatively easy to maintain. Water should be sprinkled on them for keeping the room cool. But here, one needs to constantly keep on sprinkling water on the curtains which ultimately can turn into a tedious task. Nevertheless, it is one of the oldest and most popular methods used.
11. Cross Ventilation
Cross ventilation allows the static hot air to get replenished and allows fresh air circulating throughout the building. As stated by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, use smaller window openings for the inlets and larger openings for the outlets. This increases air speed and improves the cooling effect.
Also Read: Types of Ventilation for Your House
12. False Ceiling
False ceiling has become much popular in the recent times. It serves two good purposes. The false ceiling not only gives modern look to the house but is also used for thermal insulation. False ceilings are suspended a few inches below the ceiling on a metal framework which is made from lightweight materials like wood, plaster of Paris, plywood, and gypsum. The air filled in the gap between the two layers of ceilings cools the room. There is a gap between these two layers, hence the air within gets trapped. Air, being a poor conductor of heat, does not allow the heat to flow into the room. Thus, it also helps to reduce electricity bills. Further, if the material of the false ceiling is thermal insulating type, it will further reduce heat and hence inside temperature.
Also Read: Home Interior: False Ceiling Types!
13. Thermal Insulation
Thermal insulation material can also be laid either over the slab or below the slab, underneath the false ceiling. This reduces top heat considerably. Cavity wall also act as a thermal insulator in home. To get more information on cavity wall, read here: Cavity Wall: Its Purpose, Advantages & Disadvantages
14. Use of Heat Reflective Paint
Heat reflective paint is used as a heat insulating coating on the terrace and rooftop of buildings. Its application reduces the temperature of the roof or slab thereby correspondingly reducing the room temperature. They are called High Albedo Paint but they are very costly. According to Akbari et al. in USA, the use of reflective roof coatings reduced the need for space cooling by about 20% to 70%.
15. White Lime Washes on Terrace
White lime wash layer acts as a reflective layer on the terrace. It helps to keep underneath cool throughout summer. This gets washed away in rainy days; hence it is required to be done every summer. However, compared to High Albedo Paints, they are very cheap. It is the oldest technique.
Also Read: White Wash: All You Need to Know
16. Terrace Gardens
The mud is used to grow plants which act as an insulator for the direct heat, thereby keeping the terrace slab cool. Use of plastic gardening sheets will also help to prevent water leakage if any.
17. Use Light Colour
The colour selection can also affect the temperature of a house. The dark colour of walls and furniture inside the house can further lead to absorption of heat. Hence use of light colour is recommended for the protection against heat. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, white exterior walls absorb less heat than dark colour walls.
18. Vent and Insulate Your Attic
Attics tend to trap the heat, which can make your entire house feel warmer. This is because roofing materials absorb heat. Attach gable-mounted fans to your existing attic vents or install a roof-mounted fan to draw some of the heat out of your attic. Attic insulation, such as foam, fiberglass, or cellulose, also helps to create a barrier that prevents heat from escaping into the rest of your house.
19. Hang Out in the Basement
Normally underground basements tend to stay cool in the summer months. If you’re lucky enough to have a basement, turn it into a fun area where you can hang out during the day. Basement areas can be made interesting and it can help you stay cool. For that, get rid of unnecessary junk, add some furniture, throw some rugs down, and add some form of entertainment. Even if it isn’t well-furnished or decorative as the rest of your house, it will still give you a nice place to retreat to during summer.
20. Unclutter Your Room
A cluttered room feels hot hence remove unwanted curios, furniture, books, newspaper and magazines from the room to make it airy. Pack off all synthetic drapes and thick woolly carpets that give warm feel and look. Instead, put in thin rugs made from jute and hemp that look good and gives a cooling effect.
Also, replace centerpiece that gives a soothing effect and creates a feeling of cool calmness. Take a bowl or any other glass vessel and fill it with cold water. Then put in some flowers, pebbles, seashells, and fresh leaves. This not only gives relaxation to our eyes, but generates tranquility around and helps in reducing temperature of the surrounding.
Are you trying to beat the heat without an AC? Yup, it is not impossible! Though, none of the methods will chill a house as an AC does, but they will certainly help in keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. While we make necessary changes externally to beat the heat, it is equally essential to keep our body cool from within. Ensure to keep yourself cool. Drinking plenty of water and wearing lightweight cotton clothes is recommended during summers.
Thus, if you are someone who is not in favour of installing AC, your home can still stay cool by making a couple of changes therein that will help to keep house cool without AC. The above tips will certainly help to beat the heat without AC during summers.