14 Tips to Cool Down at Home Without Cranking Up the A/C

14 Tips to Cool Down at Home Without Cranking Up the A/C

We love summer.

The endless hours of sun during the day has us making excuses for trips to the beach, barbecues, and backyard fun. But in Southern California, it can get a little too hot. 

Between you and the rest of the family, there’s a constant queue to the thermostat to crank up the A/C and gain some reprieve from the heat. And if you’re not careful, that can lead to a ballooning energy bill at the end of the month. Or worse, an overheated air conditioning unit that breaks down on you when you need it most.

You’ve got to have a plan.

It’s all about taking small steps that add up to major savings, without completely altering our lifestyle. No chance we’re doing the laundry at 4am to save a few bucks on our energy bill. We’re trying to run an efficient home, not end up on TLC’s “Cheapskates.”

Here’s 14 tips to cool down at home without cranking up the A/C. Because implementing even a handful of these ideas can keep your home, and your mental sanity, nice and cool this summer in Southern California.

Keep Sunlight Out

Draw the shades. Shut the blinds. Keep that warm air out!

You’re at work for most of the day and the kids are off at school. Take advantage of it by closing up any area of the home that is prone to natural light poking through. Light means heat, and heat means you become uncomfortable. 

Your home will feel far cooler when you return without having to run the A/C while you’re gone.

Close Doors

If you do work from home and choose to run the A/C during the day, close the doors to all of the rooms you do not use or won’t need for a while.

No one has stayed in your guest bedroom for months and you only use your own master bathroom. Close the doors to these areas even if you are home and let your A/C focus on the areas where cool air is needed most. Open doors mean more spaces to heat, forcing your A/C to work harder and for you to pay more.

Smart A/C Unit

We promised tips that didn’t break the bank. And while this may seem to break that promise, there are plenty of affordable smart thermostats out there that can make your energy saving goals easier to reach.

Smart thermostats like Nest and Ecobee provide real-time data on your energy usage, so you are alerted when you’re draining your A/C too much. You can even set times when you would like the A/C to cool off or warm up, saving you time and headaches. Use your home’s usage statistics to adjust accordingly and get the whole family on the same page with efficiency.

Change Out Bedsheets

I love a good fleece sheet in the winter months.

But in the summer? When you’re looking for a reprieve from the heat and sweat? Fleece ain’t cutting it.

Switch out those fleece sheets for a thinner, more practical option in the summer. And buy an extra set or two. It’s good practice to frequently change them out, but the fresh feeling of clean sheets naturally leads to a cooler space.

Stay Out of the Kitchen

Think about where all of the major appliances live inside your home. 

The oven. The dishwasher. The microwave. The air fryer.

All of these energy vampires produce excess heat in the home. So if you’re looking to keep cool in the kitchen, it’s best to stay out of it.

Enjoy the gorgeous summer sun on the back patio while firing up the grill. And if your patio lacks shade, get an awning to cover a space for you to sit and grill. And be sure my steak is medium rare.

Change A/C Air Filter

Did you know you should be replacing your air conditioner’s filter at least every 3-4 weeks?

Yeah, us neither.

But even if you don’t suffer from common household allergies, it’s still good practice in order to do so. A/C units with a clogged or dirty filter will need to work much harder in order to efficiently cool your home. That hard work leads to more energy usage and, you guessed it, a higher bill for you. 

Give your A/C unit the relief it needs by switching out those filters.

Inspect the Attic

If you don’t have an attic ventilator, get one.

Your attic can get up to 150 degrees in the heat of summer. And while you might not spend much time up there, that heat eventually makes its way down to you and your family in the main floors.

While you’re inspecting the attic, check the status of the insulation. Most folks only think of insulation to keep warm during the winter months, but a home’s insulation also works to keep the cool air inside of a home during the summer.

Become a Plant Parent

When temperatures rise, plants release water. That process of transpiration naturally cools the areas around those plants.

That’s why a lawn under a tree feels more comfortable than a cement slab under a lamppost. 

Take that idea inside your home by adding some plants into the mix. They’ll cool off your office, help purify the air, and give you that awesome, natural look for a space.

Open Windows at Night

I know, we just told you to batten down the hatches and close the windows and drapes during the day.

But at night?

Pop those windows open and let the cool breeze in. 

Your home needs the air flow to get that “stuffy” feeling out, and the cooler temperatures outside can act as natural A/C for your home. 

Just remember to close them up after the morning sun.

Spritz the Curtains

An oldie but goodie.

Spritz the curtains of the window with a dash of water. Open up the windows in the early morning or late evening and let the breeze come through. As that wind passes through the lightly spritzed curtains, you’ve got cooler air flowing in.

It’ll feel silly the first time you do it, but this tip is beloved by the budget-minded community.

Laundry Room Well-Insulated

I used to live in a 2 bedroom apartment with the laundry in-unit next to the kitchen and living room. If you didn’t close the doors to that room with the dryer running, you’d be sweating through your pajamas while trying to watch a documentary.

If closing the door works to keep things cool and the dryer on, that’s perfect. 

But if heat still flows into the rest of the room?

You’ll need to check to make sure all vents are functioning properly and the insulation is well-spaced.

Switch Out Your Light Bulbs

If you have any sort of incandescent bulbs inside your home, get them immediately switched out for LED bulbs.

You’ll save money since they are more energy efficient, and they give off almost no heat. A no-brainer to get done this weekend.

We’re not saying that you have to live without the air conditioning being on for the majority of the summer. But by making simple, everyday changes, we can all drastically reduce our energy use and bills at the end of the month. 

Without making any sacrifices to our comfortability, even in the heat of summer. 


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