How To Stay Cool Indoors Without Air Conditioning
Portland’s mild summers make air conditioning an option rather than a necessity. Many homeowners in Oregon do without the convenience of AC. Saying “no” to AC saves money and electricity.
For ten months out of the year, living AC-free in Portland seems like a wise choice. But, when hot weather hits, many Oregonians suffer. We’re not used to the heat. Often, we don’t have strategies to keep cool.
For those who do choose air conditioning, the jump in summer energy bills can be a jolt. Check out these ways to stay cool indoors without air conditioning. They’ll help you sidestep the high bills and energy consumption of air conditioning.
Window Film Keeps A Home Cooler
Closing the blinds keeps out the sun. It prevents your home from heating up. But, it also makes you feel like a troglodyte. Who wants to spend time in a dark, depressing home?
To preserve natural light and a view, install solar window film. You don’t need dark tints to block heat. Most films are nearly invisible. If you have questions about how window film looks, we’re happy to provide samples of our products. See for yourself how window film will appear in your home.
Homes with lots of windows can get hot even in early spring. Window film eliminates overheating by reflecting heat. Your house stays cooler with tinted windows, particularly in rooms that face south.
Window film can block up to 70 percent of the solar heat shining through your windows. Film controls heat in problem areas, reducing the need for AC. The film also protects you and your home from the damage caused by ultraviolet light. Window tinting blocks 99 percent of the rays that fade furnishings and harm skin and eyes.
A Few Fans Can Work Wonders
Have you ever felt a breeze on a sunny day? Chances are you felt comfortable or even cold as the air moved over your skin. Air movement is essential when a house gets too hot.
Use ceiling fans and floor fans to keep air moving. If you have a ceiling fan, set it to blow air downward in heat and upward in cold weather.
Floor fans are great when you need targeted cooling. They have the advantage of being portable. Rather than getting a fan for every room, have a couple and place them where needed.
In extreme heat, you can use a fan to enhance the effectiveness of air conditioning. Place a floor fan near the AC unit or a vent. The fan will help circulate air and cool your home.
You don’t need a strong wind to cool your home. With adequate air circulation, your home will be habitable. A breeze as slight as one mile per hour can make a room feel four degrees cooler.
Take Advantage of Cool Nights
Be strategic with open windows and screen doors. Keep windows and doors closed during the hottest part of the day. In the evening, when temperatures drop, open the windows and doors.
Take advantage of crosswinds when possible. Often, just by opening windows, the air in your home will circulate and keep the house cool. Close the windows once the sun comes up and temperatures begin to rise.
One word or caution here: Keep safety in mind when you open windows. If you have young children, make sure they can’t get near the open windows or doors. Screens aren’t sturdy enough to keep kids safe.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using window guards. These attach to windows and keep kids from climbing or falling out. Learn more about making your home safer for children here.
Turn Off Lights
Turn off lights you aren’t using. If you have window film, you won’t need to close blinds and drapes, and your home will fill with natural light.
Old incandescent light bulbs heat up a room. Switch bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs. Not only will you keep your home cooler, but you’ll save on your power bill.
Change Your Cooking Habits
Light fare is refreshing during hot weather. Now’s the time to eat main dish salads, fresh fruits and other no-cook meals. If you want to cook, take it outside and use your grill.
Don’t turn on your oven. If you roast a chicken during a heatwave, you’ll soon feel as hot as the succulent bird browning in the pan. The stovetop is an improvement over an oven, but it too generates heat. Use a microwave if you need to heat up your food.
Make Your Bed a Haven of Coolness
Many people can’t sleep when temperatures rise. Use cotton sheets and blankets on your bed. Flannel and fleece are too warm. Use blue ice or a hot/cold pad wrapped in a pillow case. Keep the pad at the foot of your bed, and place your feet on it when you start overheating. Use an overhead fan or a floor fan directed toward the bed.
Updated March 14, 2017. Originally published July 17, 2013.