Updated: Mar 14
Summer temperatures have arrived, and whether you have a high-powered air conditioner or not, keeping rooms cool during the summer is on everyone's mind. Here are some easy ways to chill out all summer long.
Reverse your ceiling fans
While ceiling fans can't make indoor air any cooler, they can help move cooler air more efficiently when used correctly. Fans running counterclockwise pull cooler air towards the ceiling to add a more complete cooling sensation in your living spaces. Because hot air rises naturally, cooler air is pushed down to lower levels. Drawing cooler air to the ceiling with a ceiling fan helps replace the lingering heat with cooler airflow. Reversing your ceiling fans is easy, too — just look for a switch near the fan motor and give it a flip!
Watch your windows
Windows can play a huge roll in indoor climate control all year-round. No matter how new (or old) your windows are, the sunlight they let in will naturally heat your living spaces to some degree. Actually, according the The Family Handyman, as much as 30% of ambient heat entering your homes comes from your windows! Keeping binds and shades drawn during the sunniest times of day will help block some gradual warming, but you can take it a step further by adding subtle, easy-to-install window tinting. Planting trees or other foliage outside of windows to help block the sunlight is another great way to filter ambient heat, and keeping windows closed during the hottest times of day is always a must. Once the sun goes down and outside temps begin to fall, open as many windows as you can to create a natural cross breeze. Supercharging a natural cross-breeze with a whole house fan will cool your living spaces exponentially faster than Mother Nature alone, cooling every surface and level of the home.
Change your habits
Everyday tasks like showering, cooking and even exercise add ambient heat to your living spaces. Instead of forgoing these tasks altogether — who's not going to cook or take a shower for the whole summer? — pick the optimal times to do them, like early in the morning or in the evening after the sun goes down. Oven and open-flame stovetop cooking should be avoided as much as possible during the hottest days — but outdoor grills can be used for most any dish instead. For showers and baths, running a bathroom fan when things start steaming up will pull the hot air from your living spaces, but your best bet may be to embrace the cold shower movement. Cold showers won't produce any steamy or humid air, it's great for your skin and will lower your overall body temperature for quick heat relief.
Optimize your airflow
Keeping rooms cool in the summer is all about airflow. More specifically, moving hot air up and out of your home and replacing it with cooler, more comfortable air. Most mainstream home cooling systems, like central air conditioning and evaporative coolers, are designed to condition and recirculate the air inside your home. They do a great job at that, but sometimes there's just too much hot air for these systems to condition without running for hours on end. Hot attics are among the most-common reasons existing home cooling systems can't cool the upper levels of a home. As hot air rises throughout the day it gets trapped against your roof and begins filling your attic space. Once your attic is full, that hot air begins seeping back into your living spaces and creates a never-ending battle with your home cooling system. Optimizing your home cooling system with attic fans, vents, or a whole house fan provides an affordable and permanent fix. These fans and vents are designed to expel hot air from your home and attic, allowing your other home cooling systems to run more efficiently and provide the desired results.
Affordable and eco-friendly home cooling
It should be clear by now that running your AC all day long isn't a viable solution to cool rooms during the summer. It's expensive and not so great for the environment, either. Whole house fans, ductless mini-splits and even duct-booster fans can cool every room in your home more efficiently than central air conditioning, and in some cases work even better than AC! Whole house fans cool rooms with a comfortable breeze, pulling fresh, cool air from outside and expelling hot air out through the attic. Ductless mini-split systems operate much like an AC/whole house fan hybrid — absorbing ambient heat from the rooms in your home, conditioning it with refrigerated coils and releasing it back into the room once cooled. They also work in reverse during the winter as a heating alternative. Portable AC units and evaporative coolers are another affordable options to cool individual rooms, but using them intermittently only when needed (when you're in the room) is important to prolong the life of the unit and reduce energy consumption.
D-I-Why didn't I think of this before?
Sometimes, installing a new home cooling system or upgrading an existing one just doesn't fit in the budget, but that doesn't mean you have to sweat the summer out in a hot, stuffy room. Positioning a bowl of ice or a steady mist of cool water near a box fan can replicate the evaporative cooling effects of more expensive systems without breaking the bank. We've even seen "homemade whole house fan" systems employed by savvy DIYers, even though we do not recommend altering the structure of your home or using any mechanical fans outside of their intended use. Even a cool, wet towel on your neck or a frozen baseball cap can work when the summer temperatures spike!
Keeping rooms cool in the summer may seem like a constant battle, but it doesn't have to be. Once you find a solution that works it can make a world of difference in your home comfort and energy savings.
Colorado Home Cooling & Daylighting is Colorado's top-rated home ventilation and daylighting providers, offering unmatched customer service, quality and craftsmanship since 2003.