AC-Free Ways to Stay Cool This Summer

Want to save on air-conditioning? You can still keep cool when the weather heats up. Stephanie Sisco, associate home editor at Real Simple magazine, talks about the best ways to cool yourself and your home.


  • It's all about the windows. When it comes to cooling the home, start with the windows. "Close your curtains and blinds, ideally with a sun-deflecting white on the window side," Stephanie explains. "That will actually help reduce the amount of heat that passes through your home by up to 45 percent." Another great tip comes from rangers in Death Valley, Calif. "Hang a damp sheet across an open window, so that when the breeze comes in, it will cool you and your entire home," she adds.


  • Air-dry everything. "Machines use so much heat, and during the summer, you just don't want to add that to your house." Stephanie says. Instead, let dishes air-dry after running a wash cycle, and hang your clothes on the line after doing a load of laundry to avoid the excess heat from the dryer.


  • Beware of unexpected sources of heat. You're probably not thinking about the fireplace in the summer, but, Stephanie says, " make sure that you close the damper before the summer starts." Leaving the damper open can suck hot air into your home as opposed to pushing it out.

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  • Put your computer to sleep. Laptops are always warm, so if you're going to be away from your computer for more than 10 minutes, set a timer for sleep mode. "If you're going to be away for any more than 10 minutes, just power it down completely," Stephanie says.


  • Water is your friend. Keep hydrated and "stay away from beverages that include alcohol, excess sugar, and caffeine," she says. Another great tip? Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator, and spray the inside of your wrists when you get warm. It cools the blood running through your veins and encourages thermal regulation.


  • Dress the part. Sweat-wicking clothes worn by athletes and other clothes made of lighter fabrics can help you avoid feeling sticky in the summer. "Choose something that's thin, lighter-colored, and more loose and flowy," Stephanie says. "That allows the air to kind of flow next to your skin and evaporate that moisture to keep you cool." Lose the shoes to cool your body from the bottom up.


  • Eat right. There's a reason why people gravitate toward salads and lighter foods in the summer. "Look for items that contain a lot of water like fruits and vegetables," Stephanie says. Hydrating foods will help cool you from the inside out.