Home Garden

How to Make a House Cooler Without an Air Conditioner

Getting through the summer without an air conditioner can help you save a lot of money on your energy bills, but it can also leave you with a stuffy and uncomfortable indoor atmosphere. You don't need to rely on fans only, though. By adopting passive cooling techniques, you reduce the amount of heat that enters your home and benefit from naturally occurring cool breezes. Consider your home's heating needs before using permanent fixtures to block the sun, and consult a professional contractor to evaluate the best strategies for your home's structure and location.

Things You'll Need

  • Solar screens
  • Reflective window film
  • Light-colored drapes
  • Awnings
  • Attic fans
  • Soffit vents
  • Reflective roof coating
  • Trellis
  • Vines
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  1. Windows

    • 1

      Replace your screens with solar screens, which block direct sunlight without reducing air flow.

    • 2

      Cover the interior side of east- and west-facing windows with reflective film. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends silver films as opposed to colored versions.

    • 3

      Hang two layers of light-colored drapes, with their edges pushed tightly against the walls on either side of the windows.

    • 4

      Install light-colored awnings at a 45-degree angle above your exterior windows, leaving a gap between the interior edge of the awnings and the side of your house. The awnings reduce heat gain by 77 percent on east-facing windows and by 65 percent on southern windows, according to the Federal Citizen Information Center.


    • 5

      Open windows at night when the outdoor temperature is cooler than the indoor temperature. Shut them in the morning and keep them closed throughout the day so the cooler air remains inside.

    • 6

      Open windows facing a breeze as well as windows on the opposite side. This brings the cool air in and pushes the hot air out.

    • 7

      Install attic fans as well as soffit vents in the roof. Use a turbine vent if you live in a windy area.

    Home Exterior

    • 8

      Paint a flat or low-slope roof with a reflective coating. The light color reflects UV rays to reduce heat gain. Use this method when the roof has little insulation.

    • 9

      Opt for light-colored exterior decoration, such as white siding and paint.

    • 10

      Plant deciduous trees due east or west from glass windows and doors.

    • 11

      Install tall trellises, leaving space between them and your house to allow for air circulation, and plant vines such as ivy at their bases.