How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Air Conditioning

Summer is almost upon us! With it comes the hot, dry season in the Pacific Northwest, and many older homes in Oregon do not have air conditioning. With temperatures often climbing past 90 degrees in July and August, what is an AC-less person to do? With a little planning, you can spare yourself some of the misery of excess heat by keeping your house cool.

One of the most effective ways to cool down your home in the summer is to keep an electric fan in an open window. During the hottest parts of the day, have the fan blow out the window to keep air moving and the hot air out. Once the sun has been down long enough for the air to cool down, turn the fan around to bring fresh air in.

Speaking of windows, block the sun from turning your home into an oven by keeping blinds closed tight or investing in blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are made from a heavy fabric that works double duty; it insulates against both heat in the summer and cold in the winter.

Another sun-blocking option is planting trees or shrubs for shade. Azaleas and rhododendrons are popular in Oregon, and rhododendrons can even grow up to 20 feet tall, providing plenty of shade for a window in the summer. Plant these bushes on the east and west sides of your home for maximum effect. As an added bonus, these plants provide a pop of color that brightens up your yard and adds to your home’s curb appeal.

What we do in our home affects the temperature, too. Running the stove or oven to cook can make a hot day unbearable in the kitchen. Try preparing meals that don’t require much heat, if any, like salads, sandwiches, and cheese plates. Snack on fresh fruits. Another simple solution is doing your cooking outside. Fire up the grill in the backyard and let all that cooking heat stay outside where it belongs!

If you’ve tried all of the above and still absolutely must take more action to escape the heat, portable air conditioners are becoming more popular as growth in technology makes them more affordable. They can be found at home improvement stores, hardware stores, some big-box stores, and even online. Keep these in mind as a last resort, as they can consume quite a bit of electricity. Make sure to close doors to any rooms not in use when running a portable air conditioner to conserve the cool air.

The heat of summer is inevitable, but your discomfort doesn’t have to be if you take a few steps to keep your house cool.