How to cool a room with fans – 5 tips for instant, effective relief from the heat

Fall is on our minds, but the heat endures – here's how to beat it without upgrading the air conditioning in your home

Old fashioned fan sat on a desk, surrounded by books and artwork
(Image credit: Little Greene)

Summer might be drawing to a close, but the need to know how to cool a room with fans remains ever-present. 

Around the world, countries have endured record-breaking temperatures throughout the season – but none more recently than in the US – where Californian residents are currently battling a heat dome. This Labor Day weekend, two Bay Area cities recorded the highest-ever temperature in the region – and a severe weather warning remains in place for another two days. 

Whether you live on the West Coast or you’re looking for ways to accelerate your best fan’s power elsewhere, these five tips will make the instant difference you desire. 

How to cool a room with fans – 5 tricks for quick relief

If you're looking for how to keep a home cool in a heatwave, these five tricks are an effective place to start. Here's what the experts want you to know. 

Fan in a darkly lit room, surrounded by plants

(Image credit: GettyImages)

1. Create a cross-breeze 

The only thing better than one fan? Using two fans to cool down a room rapidly. Beatrice Flores, a home care expert from Living Pristine, recommends placing your two fans in opposite windows to create a cross-breeze. 'This will direct the airflow from both fans across the room, cooling the air quickly,' she says. 'Additionally, the fans will help to circulate the cool air throughout the room, ensuring that all areas are evenly cooled.'

2. Play with strategic placement 

Alternatively, Beatrice suggests placing a fan in your window and another in the door to pull cool air into the room and push hot air outwards. 'It will also help to reduce the humidity levels in the room, making it more comfortable to be in,' the expert says. 

However, she adds that it is important to be careful that the fans are placed too close to each other as they can cancel one another out. It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with how much it costs to run a fan to avoid any unexpected electricity bills amid the heatwave. 

Fan alongside a pile of books in a study

(Image credit: Little Greene)

3. Pair a fan with large furniture

The placement of your fan (or multiple fans) has a significant impact on your room's airflow – so how else can you accentuate its power through its position? By pairing it alongside your large furniture. 

'Placing a fan in front of a large piece of furniture will help to circulate the air more effectively and keep the room cool,' Beatrice says. Similarly, placing a fan near an open window will help to bring in cooler outside air and keep the room cool. 

4. Hang wet towels near your fan

If you're working with one fan, you can still accelerate its power with homemade remedies, such as wet towels (or sheets). 

The expert suggests hanging the wet towels near your fan, where the water will evaporate and help to draw heat away from the air. 'It is worth noting that fans do not actually lower the temperature of the air, but they can make it feel cooler by creating a wind chill effect. As such, they are most effective in rooms that are already relatively cool,' Beatrice adds. 

Air con

(Image credit: GettyImages)

5. Use ice to cool the room further 

Similar to the wet towel trick, ice is another expert-approved way to cool your room effectively.  

To do so, Beatrice explains that you should place a bowl of ice in front of your fan. 'The air will circulate through the ice, and as it does, it will pick up the cold temperature of the ice,' she says. This, in turn, will cool your space. 'Additionally, the evaporating water from the melted ice will help to add humidity to the air, which can also help to cool things down.'

Do you put ice in front or behind a fan?

You should put ice in front of your fan. Alongside its approval from Beatrice, Oleg Stepanchukovski, an interior design coordinator and home expert at Patio Productions, adds that this technique will offer relief from high temperatures quickly.  

'If you're looking for relief from the heat, it's best to put ice in front of a fan, not behind it,' he says. 'When this happens, the cold air from outside will enter through the open window, causing air pressure that pushes hot air out of your house naturally.'

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. 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.