When temperatures rise outside, home interiors get hotter, too. Stifling-hot rooms are miserable and can mean sleepless nights. A whole-house air conditioning system may sound good. But you need faster, less expensive cooling solutions that help you cool down a room fast.
Fortunately, there are a number of cooling methods that take between a few minutes and an hour to employ. With any or all of these methods, soon you'll cool down a room fast to more manageable temperatures.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
Consider yourself a smart energy user if you've been using your ceiling fan in the winter. During the cold months, ceiling fans on the clockwise setting better distribute warm air. But this is exactly what you want to avoid during the summer.
If you've ever wished that there was a magic "On" switch for misbehaving appliances or stalled cars, there is one, of sorts, for your ceiling fan. In the summer, your fan should be running counter-clockwise. Changing the direction is as easy as flipping a switch.
Ceiling fans reverse in any number of ways, so check your product instructions. Some fans have the reverse setting conveniently on the remote control. Other fans will reverse direction by flipping a switch on the side of the fan or by pulling the chain.
Cover the Windows During the Day
Windows are always a compromise between energy efficiency and the basic human desire for natural light. Hot outdoor temperatures are best controlled inside by blocking the heat and direct sunlight.
In that sense, a room with no windows or small windows would be ideal. But nobody wants to live in a cave-like room. You can achieve the same effect by installing thermal curtains over the windows. At the very least, close the drapes or the blinds.
If you need a fast solution, drape thick, soft materials like bedspreads or lightweight down comforters over the windows during the day when the heat is at its peak. The thicker, the better.
Dehumidify the Air
One trick of air conditioners is that, in addition to delivering chilled air, they remove moisture-laden air from the room. You can duplicate the latter with a dehumidifier. High-quality dehumidifiers can remove as much as 70 pints of water per day from the home.
Open the Windows at Night
After the sun has set, temperatures outside usually will dip lower than temperatures inside. If this has happened, remove the covers from the windows and open the windows as far as possible. If you have double-hung windows (windows with two sashes, one on top and one on the bottom), you might not be aware that most modern double-hung windows' top sashes can open, too.
Promote a Cross Breeze
Letting in the air at night is good, but keeping the air moving is even better. If you have two windows that are in line with each other or even positioned diagonally, make sure that both are open.
You can further encourage the air to move through your room by placing a fan in each window. One fan blows in air from the outside, while the other window is reversed and blows air outside.
Skip Using the Hot Appliances
Most appliances give off some residual heat. Then there is that other appliance category designed for the sole purpose of generating massive amounts of heat, namely the clothes dryer and the oven.
For the clothes dryer, consider substituting with an indoor drying rack. As for the oven, a microwave is a definite improvement, but even that generates some heat. Leave the cooking for another day and instead stay cool by exploring the possibility of delicious no-cook dinners.
Trying to sleep in a sweltering bedroom can be the absolute worst. You feel bad at night, then you feel even worst the next day. But there are a few ways to make your bedroom cooler:
- Heat rises, so try lowering your sleep area. Place the mattress on the floor or find a lower place in the house to sleep.
- Purchase a cooling pillow specially designed to draw heat away from your head.
- A chilled or frozen water bottle or gel cooling packs in the foot of the bed will help your entire body feel cooler, not just your feet.
- Use lighter weight covers and 100-percent cotton sheets. If you still like the feel of heavier covers, but don't want the heat, switch to weighted bed covers.
Close Unused Rooms
Rooms that you aren't using seriously impede your cooling efforts. Veritable saunas, they waft unwanted heat from one room to the next. By closing the door of unused bedrooms or by keeping the bathroom door always shut, you effectively trap that heat and keep it out of the way. However, before closing off a room, shut the curtains tight and even cover windows with a thick bedspread or comforter.
Shut off Incandescent Lights
Incandescent lights, which produce a significant amount of heat, have largely been phased out in the United States in favor of cool CFL or LED lights. Does this mean that you don't have any of these bulbs anymore? Not necessarily.
Not all types of incandescents have been banned. For one, your home's ceiling may have energy-gobbling incandescent recessed lights or your home may still retain those older, phased-out bulbs, especially in out-of-the-way areas such as ceiling light fixtures or in closets.
Install a Small Window Unit Air Conditioner
It might seem obvious to state that installing a window unit A/C will cool down a room. But if you have avoided purchasing and installing one because you think they are too expensive or difficult to install, you may need to reconsider.
Window unit A/Cs are less expensive than ever before, thanks to the global marketplace and online shopping. Most home centers carry stacks of room cooling-sized units during the summer, and you may be able to have one shipped to you in a day or two.
Window unit A/Cs can be considered eco-friendlier than whole-house central units because they spot-cool a room rather than wastefully broadcast-cool the entire house.
As long as you purchase a unit that is appropriately sized for your window—and you have an assistant—installing a window unit A/C doesn't need to be a difficult project.