How to keep your house cool without A/C

We're having a heat wave! And most of us in the PNW don't have air conditioning!

June 18, 2018
Woman cooling off with a fan

© Raquel Liz Lopez |


We wait for this weather every year, then we complain about the heat.

Well let's not hear any of that. This is the most epic, beautiful, breathtaking time of year in the Puget Sound area, and for all the whining we do all winter long, we have to take the occasional heat wave along with the blue skies and low humidity that make summertime so perfect here.

But, that said, most of us don't live in houses equipped with air conditioning. Not a problem most of the time, but then we have the inevitable week of 80- and 90-degree days every year, and we kick ourselves for not buying one of those window A/C units in January when they were plentiful and cheap. So, in the likely event that you don't get to enjoy the luxury of air conditioning, here are some tips on keeping your place cool during these sweltering days and nights, thanks to a story on HuffPost called 15 Brilliant Ways To Keep Your Home Cool Without Air Conditioning.

  • The best tip I've found is number one on this list, too -- keep your blinds or curtains closed during the day. Our house in West Seattle has a wall of windows that face west. When that sun comes blasting through those windows in the late afternoon, our living room feels like a convection oven. Closing the blinds and curtains makes a big difference.
  • Blow a fan across a big bowl of ice. I was skeptical, but this one really works. It might actually be worth a trip to the convenience store to buy a big bag of ice. Dump it in a big wide bowl, set it on the counter in front of the fan and it's almost as good as A/C. Almost. (But a lot cheaper.)
  • Set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise. I sure had no idea about this, but in the summer you want to make sure that thing's spinning in the right direction for maximum cooling. Maybe take a peek at the owners manual? Sounds crazy, I know, but it might be useful.
  • Instead of cooking inside, grill outside. If you need to cook, don't add even more heat to the inside of your house by running an oven. Do everything outside, on the deck, on the grill, and the heat all stays outside where it belongs. Plus, BONUS!!, you're going to need a gin and tonic to keep cool while you watch the stuff cook.

Check out the full story for more great tips. Stay cool!