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The Home Depot

10 Great Ways to Keep Your House Cool

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Energy Efficiency > 10 Great Ways to Keep Your House Cool
10 Great Ways to Keep Your House Cool

No matter if you live in a warm climate or one with just a few seasonal hot spells, keeping your home cool can be the key to enjoying your summer rather than just suffering through it. While you will need to use air conditioners to reduce the temperature in your home, your cooling costs will be reduced significantly if you implement a few other lower cost strategies.There are a number of steps you can take to cool things down and maintain the temperature inside your home, and most deliver the added benefit of improving energy efficiency.


Insulation and Weatherproofing

The fundamental purpose of house insulation is to maintain the temperature inside the home. The greater the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the more insulation it takes to maintain the indoor conditions. So regardless of whether your goal is to improve heating or cooling, insulation can help the inside of your home reach the desired temperature quicker and can maintain it longer without the assistance of a heating or cooling system.

  1. 1.Insulate Your Attic

    There are several types of insulation that are simple for homeowners to install, and the easiest place to start in most finished homes is the attic. Excessive heat in the attic can warm the living spaces below, making it hard to keep them cool. Adding insulation to the attic floor can help isolate that space from the floors below. Insulating HVAC ducts can also improve cooling effectiveness and efficiency by helping maintain the temperature of cooled air between the central air conditioner and the vents in each room.

  2. 2.Weatherproof Your Home

    Weatherproofing goes hand-in-hand with insulation and can help reduce the amount of warm air infiltrating the home. Closing gaps by adding or replacing weather stripping on doors and windows, caulking around them, and improving the seal around window air conditioning units can also help keep things cool inside.

Creating Shade

Minimizing the heating effects of sunlight can go a long way toward keeping indoor temperatures comfortable.

  1. 3.Shades, Drapes, and Blinds

    Closing shades, drapes, and blinds during the heat of the day can reduce and even block sunlight, but if you would rather not lose visibility and natural light, reflective window film, solar screens, and even indoor shutters can reflect or filter the light to allow some in while still reducing its effects.

  2. 4.Window Awnings

    Yet another way of ensuring that less heat enters your home is to put up window awnings. This will prevent the sun’s rays from directly falling on your windows, deflecting the amount of heat entering your home. When installed over an adjacent deck or patio, a large awning can help create a more comfortable outdoor living area as well.

Air Circulation

Whether to help bring in cool air, to improve cooling system efficiency, or just for the comfort of a breeze, improving the circulation in your home can be an important part of your cooling strategy.

  1. 5.Standard Fans and Ceiling Fans

    Standard fans can help draw cool air in and push warm air out while the windows are open, just position them appropriately for best results. For example, a box fan pointed outward in an upper level window can help draw in cool air from an open window on a lower level. Simple table or stand fans, or ceiling fans turning counter-clockwise, can create a cooling effect by pushing air directly at the occupants of a room.

  2. 6.Whole-House Fans and Attics Fans

    On a larger scale, a whole-house fan can draw in large volumes of outdoor air very quickly, accelerating the cooling process. These large fans are typically installed in the ceiling of the home’s highest level and pull in outside air through the living space from open windows. The cool air pushes warmer air up to the attic where it escapes through roof vents. Even installing attic fans that ventilate the attic can help maintain cooler temperatures inside the living space.

Bringing in Cool Air

One of the simplest ways to cool a house is to take advantage of the natural temperature shift outside.

  1. 7.Ventilate at Night

    As evening falls and the temperature drops, there’s no need to fight the outdoor temperature, so open the windows in your home and let the cool air flow in and replace the hot air. If you can, leave the windows open all night, but be sure to close them early in the morning before things start to heat up so you can trap all that nice cool air inside. With a little experimentation you should be able to figure out a very effective system for replacing the air; rather than just opening all the windows, it may actually be more effective to open a select few on opposite sides and/or levels of the house.

  2. 8.Plants

    Plants absorb the light and heat from the sun and convert it into energy for growing and propagation. Additionally, during photosynthesis, plants release water into the air, thereby cooling the surrounding air. Having many plants around your home can reduce the amount of heat that enters your home. Additionally, you can also plant shade-giving trees around your home to further reduce the amount of heat that can reach your home in the first place.

Central Cooling Systems

Sometimes, the most effective approach to overcome oppressive heat is to install a central air conditioning system, or in dry climates, an evaporative cooler.

  1. 9.Clean Your Air Conditioner

    If you already have a cooling system in your home, be sure to keep it in good working order by having it professionally serviced before every cooling season and stay on top of basic maintenance tasks like changing filters and doing routine cleaning. If you don’t have a central system and it isn’t practical to retrofit your home with one, a number of alternatives exist, from ductless mini-split systems to window, wall, and portable air conditioning units. No matter what type of system you choose, be sure it has the capacity to cool the room or home it will serve. An undersized air conditioner will use more energy and have a shorter life than one that is suited for its application, since it will have to run for long periods in order to reach its set temperature.

  2. 10.Close up the Home

    Another simple way of keeping your home cool during summer is to make sure that you close all the windows during the hottest part of the day. By preventing hot air from entering your home and cool air from leaving it, you will be able to reduce the time that the air conditioner has to work to lower the temperature of your home.

Regardless of the size, style, and age of your home there are several steps you can take to help make and keep things cooler during the hot summer months. So look around for improvements you can make to keep the heat out!

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