Learning how to cool down a room without AC has its many advantages come summer. For all the outdoor fun we can have in them, heatwaves do have their disadvantages – especially if your home is prone to overheating, you don't have AC, or it isn't quite up to the job.
So, if you find yourself facing a heatwave, or even just a particularly hot day, it is perhaps inevitable that you will wonder how to cool down a room.
While some methods of keeping a home cool in a heatwave can work in the long term, some quick fixes will lead to faster relief in the hot weather. Here, the experts offer solutions to keep your space cooler throughout the entire season.
How to cool down a room – to maintain a comfortable climate
Whether you're using your rooms as therapeutic spaces or for a hive of social activity this summer, it's essential to keep them cool. These are the quick and long-term solutions the experts advise.
How to cool down a room – quicker fixes
1. Emulate an AC unit with a fan
If you do not have AC, one solution is to place blocks of ice in bowls of water in front of a conventional fan. This method draws from the old-school method of keeping food cold. The ice blocks cool the air around them and the fan will redistribute the cold air around your room. This neat hack will allow you to feel the benefit of if you are seated nearby and, if you are trying to cool down a bedroom, this will help you to sleep more easily.
2. Unplug unused electronics
One of the most underestimated ways of cooling down a room is by unplugging unused electronics.
Electronics such as your TV and chargers generate heat even when not in use and can contribute to an already hot room. Unplug anything that is not in use to help eliminate an unnecessary source of heat.
3. Use your attic strategically
If you are lucky enough to have an attic in your house, consider opening up the attic hatch and any attic windows to allow excess heat to escape - especially at night. Because heat rises, allowing this escape route for hot air will help to regulate the temperature in the rest of your house.
It is best when it is hot to avoid spending too long in your attic bedrooms, as this tends to be the warmest area of the home.
4. Close your windows in the daytime
Although closing your windows on a hot day might seem counterintuitive, it can help to keep the hot air out of your home and, in turn, keep it cooler.
Where possible, open your windows and internal doors at night when the air tends to be cooler and close them again first thing in the morning before the external air heats up. This method traps the cooler air indoors and prevents hot air from entering. Try to only open your windows if there is a cool breeze, or airflow is needed within the home.
How to cool down a room – long-term solutions
1. Invest in sun reflective film
Home Economics expert Joseph Marini (opens in new tab) explains that one of the effective ways to cool down a room is to apply a sun reflective film to your windows.
'This will keep your room cool without completely darkening it with heavy drapes or blinds,' he says. If you want to take this window treatment idea a step further, Joseph recommends working with a professional so that you can benefit from its power for several years.
If you do not have time to wait for the reflective film to arrive and need a quick fix in the meantime, try taping tin foil to the outside of your windows. Whilst it is not the most attractive solution, it will do the job in a pinch. Make sure to attach the foil to the exterior of your windows, however, as placing the foil on the inside can superheat the glass windows and possibly cause them to crack.
2. Block the sun from the outside
When looking for ways to cool down your room, it can feel natural to change something on the inside. However, Joseph suggests starting outside for the most potent results.
'Create shade outside of your room's windows by planting shade trees to block or filter the sun before it enters your house,' Joseph says. '[An] effective option is to install fixed awnings on the exterior of your house – over the windows – to block out the direct sun. This also allows you to forgo using heavy drapery on your windows inside to block the sun and, consequently, make it cooler.'
This will be important if you want to keep your pets cool at home in a heatwave, too.
3. Experiment with white
If you're flirting with white living room ideas, then Joseph's advice may be the solution you're searching for this summer.
'White does not absorb heat, so don't just think white walls. Think of a white room. Paint the ceiling in a flat finish, the walls in an eggshell, the trim in a semi-gloss, and the floor in a durable high-gloss finish,' he says.
Joseph suggests creating a 'subtle nuance in-depth and texture by incorporating different finishes on the walls, trim, ceiling, and floors' that will keep the room feeling light, airy and cool throughout the hot months.
4. Check your air quality
Florida-based home expert Kevin Busch (opens in new tab) suggest investing in a dehumidifier, such as this one from Amazon (opens in new tab) that will prevent hot, humid air from dominating your room.
'Humid air feels hotter. If you have high humidity in a room, it's likely to feel warm – even if the temperature looks good on the thermostat. Installing a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air will make the room cooler and more comfortable without cranking the AC,' he says.
5. Invest in eco cooling methods
Eco cooling is touched upon above and tends to cover anything that doesn't involving cranking up the AC, such as natural ventilation, where windows at the opposite ends of rooms are opened to create through-drafts.
However, that doesn't mean eco cooling isn't technology-free. From investing in the best fan to opting for an evaporative cooler to swapping to a heat pump, there are many ways to improve cooling if you are remodelling.
‘Ground source heat pumps are more energy efficient than traditional central AC systems,’ says Technology Manager for Home Performance with Energy Star. ‘They can operate in any climate, because of the earth’s constant temperature underground (ranging from 45º to 75ºF depending on location). GHPs can cut energy bills by up to 65 per cent compared to traditional HVAC units.’
How can I keep a room cool?
If there is no air conditioning, keeping windows on opposite sides of the house open at night but shut and shaded during the day will help fill your living room with cool air in time for morning. This does, of course, create security issues. Another option that can help limit the use of AC is to run it at night when you need to sleep, then turn it off but keep windows shut but shaded in rooms you are not using.
You can also try the viral window hack for heatwaves that is currently dominating TikTok. This clever tip suggests that you should close all of the windows on the south side of your home, and only open the windows on the north side of your home. This will help circulate cooler air inside your property.
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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