From WikikHow: Cooling Your House
Close the blinds. Shutting your blinds and curtains during the day will help block the sun’s heat. As soon as the sun hits your building in the morning, close all windows and keep exterior doors and windows closed throughout the hottest part of the day. Do this until night falls and it’s cool enough to open the windows for the night.
- For even better protection, get aluminized blinds, insulated curtains, or window tint film (which, like car tint, looks like a dark or shiny part of the glass itself: shrink-wrap temporary insulation is different and more for preventing conduction of heat out to very cold outdoors; in summer, solar radiation, blocked by the color or shine, is more important than conduction blocked by the bubble.) Or, for a quick fix use removable sheets of reflective bubble insulation, or cardboard cut to size and covered in foil. If possible, go around the outside of your house and clip sheets over the outside of the house, especially on the south side (or north side if you live south of the equator). These exterior curtains you rigged up will keep the sun’s heat from getting anywhere near your window frame, but still let a breeze through. You can even rig a temporary “porch” awning out of broomsticks and sheets.
Open the windows at night. Open strategic windows so that cooler night air is blowing in throughout the evening. Leaving all interior doors open (including closets and kitchen cabinets) helps, too. If you leave them closed, they store the daytime heat and your house won’t cool off so quickly at night.
- Be sure to get up and close the windows and blinds as soon as the sunlight hits your house. This can be as early as 5 or 6am in some areas.
- Try cross ventilation. Open the house in the cool of the morning. Close the curtains on the hot side of the house. Crack the windows less than an inch from the bottom on opposite side of the house for a draft to help keep cool.
Cool down your house with fans. Position a ceiling fan, an upstairs window fan or an attic fan to draw off the heat collected in upper rooms and push the heat outdoors. Set up your portable fan so that the fan sucks up cooler air from the floor below, and blows hot air upwards towards the ceiling.
If you live in an apartment, use a combination of fans to create good air circulation. Blow hot air out by positioning a powerful exhaust fan near a window – but not so close that rain may damage the fan motor. Also, use oscillating fans placed near other windows to blow in fresh, cooler air. Use this fan combo only when outside temperatures are cooler than the inside of your apartment. This tends to be during the night or on overcast days
Make a do-it-yourself air conditioner. Put a metal bowl of salted ice in front of a fan, and adjust the fan so that the air is blowing over the ice. Or, use one or more 2 liter bottles and fill them mostly full of water (70%) and rock salt (10%). Leave 20% of the volume empty for expansion. The salt lower the temperature at which the water freezes, allowing you to make the ice super cold. Freeze the liquid in the bottles, then place them in a large bowl (to catch dripping condensation). Position a fan to blow on them. As the salty ice in the bottles melts, the air around them cools and the fan will blow that air at you. The water and salt in the bottles can be refrozen every night and used repeatedly.
- You can also turn on your stove ventilator hood fan or open up your chimney flue. These will also draw hot air out of the house and pull cooler evening air into the house.
Turn off all heat sources. Don’t use the stove or oven for cooking. Eat cold food, or use the microwave or an outdoor grill when cooking your meals. Incandescent light bulbs also give off heat. Switch to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Turn off your lamps and your computer when you’re not using them. You should also turn off your TV since it gives off a lot of heat and take the power off of non-essential plug-in power adapters (transformers).
Avoid steam. Don’t take a hot shower, wash dishes, wash clothes or cook until after dark. Make sure your pot lids are tight-fitting. Make sure the door gasket seals on your oven, washer and dishwasher are in good shape and have no breaks or rips.
Adjust your pilot light. If you have a gas stove with pilot lights, make sure they are set correctly. If they are set too high, they will produce excess heat.
Put smooth white fabrics over anything in your house that’s fuzzy. For example, you could cover corduroy pillows with white satin pillowcases for summer, put linen slipcovers over wool sofas, or just throw white sheets over furniture. Light-colored fabric will reflect heat instead of absorbing it, and the smooth texture will give you the look and feel of coolness.