Keeping the House Cool

Updated on July 05, 2012
S.A. asks from Cheyenne, WY
23 answers

Good gravy its been hot hasn’t it? Where we live the summers are normally pretty mild, but like the rest of the country its been hotter than normal here and we have no AC in the house, Lots of fans but no AC. My husband and I have talked about getting a few window units but all the stores are sold out and my husband rely doesn’t want to by a used one.
The front of the house faces north and the back faces south. The Hubby and I have been talking about the best way to keep the house cool with just the fans. But have differing opinions about the best way to do this. He thinks its best to keep the box fans in the windows all day. Where as I thing its best to keep the windows and drapes closed when the sun in on whatever side of the house its on.
Hehe. Its a good nature argument between us but I was wondering who’s Idea y’all liked best. Also I am open to any other ideas on things we could do to keep the place cool with out buying Ac or swamp collars. We are hopping to be living over seas but next summer so I have given up the fight on buying one of those.
Thanks for your Help!!

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So What Happened?

oh hehehe side notes. Yes er have Animals, a dog, a cat, 2 rats, a fish, and a Partridge in a pear tree lol. And yes we have an up stairs. Another point in my favor is that I have Asthma and we live in Cheyenne Wyoming. Right now we are between 2 big fires. The Waldo Fire in Colorado, and there is another fire burning on the other side of Laramie Wyomung and all teh smoke in teh are is bothering me a bit.
Point in his favor is that if we go live over seas we cant take an AC with us and he doesnt want to spend that kinda money on something we will only use for a few months!
Thanks so much for all the help ladys!!! Keep those Ideas coming. I am eating them up

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

Fans and windows at night... And after the house heats up to ambient outside temp.

Fans in reverse order. Some blowing out to clear hot air, some blowing in to bring in cold air.

Fans blowing hotter air in are known as HEATERS.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

You are totally right. With fans in all day, you're just blowing the hot air around, not cooling it off. Put the fans in in the evening when the air gets cooler. Then close up in the morning to trap the cool air in the house and keep the sun out.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Billings on

We open up our entire house and blast it with fans on high in every window all night long. Then close up the whole house in the morning. it's the only way to have any reprieve from the heat.

I've never tried this, but in the old days, the pioneers, etc. used to hang wet sheets in the windows and all over the house so that the slightest breeze would help cool things down.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

The best way to keep the house cool is to open all the windows around 10pm and put fans on high in every window. As soon as you wake or before the sun hits your house you need to close the windows and blinds. You can slowly do this if you want, but if any hot air comes into the house or any sun you have lost your battle at keeping the place cool.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

When it gets really hot or expected to be, I leave the windows open or cracked (whatever you feel comfortable with) all night long, then as soon as the sun starts coming through the windows then I shut the blinds and block out the sun. The sun coming in the window can make the house heat up fast! So we try to block it out as best as we can.

We also try and get a cross breeze going so that helps too.

If you want to buy an air conditioner you can see if another store that has one can ship it to a store near you and then go buy it at your store.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I like your idea. Our bedroom gets direct hot sun in the morning and if I keep those blinds closed it stays SO much cooler.

I'm thinking if you lose (lol) and have to keep the fans in the windows all say, then using them pointing OUT is the way to go. Upstairs, if you have an upstairs.

It's been SO hot here as well and I thank God for AC. If I were you, I'd buy a used unit or two in a New York minute!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

I have a dinosaur of an a/c if the unit comes on the lights dim... so we rarely ever use it.

What I do and it seems to make a difference... what ever the side of the house the sun is shinning on we keep the curtains closed so no sun light can some in.

On the shady side of the house we have fans blowing the cooler air in the house.

As the sun moves around the house we change the curtains/ fans to the oppisite side of the house.

Around 11am-1pm when the sun is pretty much over the entire house we have all of the curtains closed.

Good luck and I hope you can stay cool!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Do you have access to a store that sells whole house fans? The beauty of the whole house fan is it pulls the warmest air out of the house and pushes it through the attic pushing out the crazy hot air up there.

The air is pulled in through the windows.

I would much rather run my AC but they can cool the house even in 85 degree weather. At least that is the hottest I have ran it.

Oh with just using box fans you want to pull cold to hot. So put the box fans on the north side pulling in and the south pulling out. What you don't want is all the fans pulling air in because the air just pushes back out the windows that are pulling in and the air pushed out tends to be cooler than what is in the interior.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

On cool nights and mornings, we open all the windows to get as much cool air inside as we can, to "store" some for the rest of the day. Then when it gets hotter outside(over 77 for us), we close all the windows, blinds, curtains, or shades to keep it cool inside as long as possible. I think it works to have the curtains and windows closed, because when we were away for a couple of days it was 96 outside but stayed around 85 inside.

You can create better whole house air flow by sending air in from the lower part of the shady side of the house and out the top of the hot sunny side(because heat rises). But the air you are pulling in will be just as hot as the temp outside in the shade.

To win your argument, ask which would be colder- a cooler with the lid closed or a greenhouse with the door open?

To keep our house cool, we have added solar screens, thicker curtains, reflective barrier on the underside of the roof, garage door insulation, ceiling fans, cooler type of light bulbs, and planted trees.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I also close up the house during the heat of the day and leave the windows open throughout the night. The coolest wind comes through my daughters window, so when the temp outside reaches lower then the temp in the house (around 6pm or so for us) I pop open all the windows we can (many are broken or without screens so we have limited options) and put fans strategically through the house to push the air from my daughters window to the rest of the house.

A fan directly in her window, a fan in the hall from her room to the rest of the bedrooms, to help circulate, a fan at the door to our bedroom to help push the cold air from the hall into our room since our bedroom has non functioning windows etc...

Then at about 10am, when the heat outside can definitely be said to be greater than the temp inside (you can feel it blowing onto you) I shut all the windows and draw the shades to keep the radiation of the sunlight outside. The light is heat.

We usually spend the day downstairs where it's cooler then move upstairs when we can throw the windows open again.

My husband and I had a similar argument about fans with a slight variation. He understands that it gets hotter inside the house with the windows open during the heat of the day. What he does on a constant basis that drives me nuts is leave a fan on in an empty room. It is his belief that turning a fan on in a closed up room prior to going into a room "cools" it down.

I tried to impart to him how fans work. They are not like air conditioning. If you turn air conditioning on in a room and leave the room, when you come back the room will be markedly cooler than when you were there last. A fan in a closed room will only circulate the air that is already there, not reduce its temperature. The only thing that makes the air feel cooler in a room with a fan is the fact that YOU are in there to feel the breeze against your skin. If you are not in the room and are letting the fan run, you are wasting electricity. Like leaving the light on when you leave when no eyeballs are there to make use of the light.

If you put a fan in an open window to push colder air form the outside to the inside, yes... leaving a fan on in an unattended room WILL cool it down. But never in a closed environment with no one there to enjoy the breeze. He was in the habit of turning all the fans in the house on during the day when everything was closed up. I asked him if at night he liked to turn on all the lights in the whole house as soon as the sun went down, including rooms that no one was in at the time. He thought that idea was stupid but didn't understand that the same concept applied to the fans.

I think he finally understands the logic after explaining it to him various ways, but still, it was a very frustrating few days of back and forth about it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

For allergy issues, invest in air purifiers and have your vents cleaned out often. This may sound crazy, but try it. At night, when its cool, turn a couple fans facing outside, on the other side of house face fans in so the air thats cool outside sucks into the house, and the hot air is blown out. Before the day gets hot, close all windows, close drapes and seal out the hot air. If you have a attic fan use it, hot air rises.
Hope this helps!
If your near thornton colorado i have a 12,000 btu window air conditioner i used for 3 months last summer, sitting in storage, i could rent it to you with signed agreement that you return in same excellent condition at summers end. Seven two owe two nine eight nine five nine eight. $30 a month. Ten percent of the cost of the unit. Hope your summer gets cooler!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I lived in NC without A/C, and I can tell you you want to keep the sunlight out of you house. I went so far as to craft these units that I could put into my windows, kind of like a removable frame. I used wood and duct tape mostly. You would of thought a vampire lived with me, but it kept the bulk of the heat out.The more sun that gets in the hotter it will be, and leaving a window fan on like your husband wants is just going to blow the hot air around. Trust me it will not help. If it's safe to do so, leave all of your window open all night long with the fans in them. Try to get it as cool as you can overnight, then block out the sun for the day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We have a whole house fan. We turn it on at night when the outside is cooler than the inside by 10 degrees. We leave them on at night until the house gets cool or until the dawn starts. Then we close all the windows during the day.

We live in southern California and haven't had to turn the A/C on yet this year.

If your house is not well insulated then it will get warm on the inside during the day. If that is the case with you, I'd get a small window A/C and close all the windows where you put the a/c. I bought one window a/c and it kept a large livingroom very cool to cold. We then put the window fan in the doorway to cool the rest of the house until night when we turned on the attic fan.

We were comfortable and the 5000 btu a/c.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I grew up in the South with no AC, and I think that it is much better to close the sun and hot air out during the sunny part of the day and use the fans to move the air around the house a bit. Open everything up and turn the fans on in the windows full blast in the early morning and in the evening once the air outside has cooled. Set them up so that one side of the house has fans pulling air in and the other side of the house has fans pushing air out.

A get cool quick trick - set a fan on the table. Set a large bowl full of ice cubes in front of it so that the air blows across it. Sit yourself in front of the bowl and enjoy a face full of cool air for a little while.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I grew up without AC and was amazed how cool our house stayed bc my mom kept the blinds drawn on the hot side of the house during the day. So my vote is with you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

you are the right one for this argument!

we have A/C but it doesn't work very well. and I hear you on the smoke -we're on the west side of Denver - won't be opening up the house tonight - can't see more than a mile right now. ugh! the last three summers I haven't run the A/C more than 5 days total - I'm probably at 10 days and counting this year! we turn it off at night and need it about noon-1 with these 100 degree days. that's to keep the house at 78 or so. but we also have a giant maple on the east side and a giant honey locust on the west side - they help a ton! do run room fans - we have a tower fan that follows us around all day.

close up the house about 7 am - as soon as the temperature starts to rise in the morning. and I mean close it up - pull the fans out of the windows and close the windows. draw the blinds whenever the sun is coming through the windows (i.e., east side in the morning, west side in the afternoon). and then when outside matches inside in the evening, open back up again and put the fans back to work. works best to have some fans sucking in and some on the other side of the house sucking out to draw through the cool air.

other thoughts - do not use the dryer. line dry as much as you can. I still put underwear and socks in the dryer - but it takes 3-4 loads of colors and whites before there's enough to run the one load. if you must use the dryer, do it in the evening.

do not use the oven. I have a toaster oven that doesn't heat up the house. before I had that I used the crock pot a lot (even figured out meatloaf -well in our house it's lentil loaf). do not run the dishwasher until evening.

I have resorted to a wet towel hung in front a fan - it helps if you're near the fan. your own little mini evaporative cooler!

good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well my first thought would be to close up the house totally during the day, as you said, but at night open the windows and put in the fans. But, I say that not knowing how hot it will get inside your house all day...eeek! If you have pets, that could be tricky, of course it wouldn't be pleasant for you and the kids either, but I would worry about a dog.

Can you order a window unit on line? It might cost more but I don't think July and August are going to be ANY cooler? Or could you put yourselves on a wait list at a store near you, presumably they are getting more in sometime soon?

Try and stay cool!!! ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

When I was young and growing up without AC (didn't have it until I was 30) we would face the box fans out of the windows during the day (keeping the blinds closed as well). And then face them inside at night. Set them up to get a good cross breeze through your house that will help.

I wouldn't spend the money on an AC if your summers are normally mild. The heat wave won't last forever.



answers from Dallas on

My mom used to try to keep the doors open and the fans going when it was 100 degrees outside and that was crazy cause we had central air. She just didn't want to jack up the electric bill. Unless there is a breeze blowing I would not think the best thing to do would be opening the windows even with fans. I would close them all up tight and cover them with dark material that wont let the heat in. And keep shopping around for an AC unit.



answers from New York on

You have no airconditioning?? Not even 1 unit?? Ok, first off, you need to find a place that sells them. They sell them everywhere, even the supermarket. Keep the windows open at night. Then in the late morning, close them and draw the shades to keep it dark during the day. Who wants hot air blowing around during the day?


answers from Norfolk on

You might want to see about having some heat blocking film installed on those windows - it can make a big difference.
They sell some do-it-yourself stuff at Home Depot and Lowe's.



answers from Austin on

As far as buying a used one, don't worry too much about it. Our central AC compressor died 3 1/2 years ago, and all we did was buy 7 used window units for use throughout the house... we spent maybe $300 on all 7 of them. We now cool only the areas of the house we are using, instead of the whole house, the entire time.

If you are looking at used ones, turn it on and make sure it blows cool air.

Frankly, you probably won't need it for very long, unless you plan on using it other years. Especially since you say you might be going overseas... you don't want to make a big investment.

Used ones should work just fine for what you need.

If you don't get a window unit, you need to block the sun from coming into the house... so.... the windows/doors on the south side need to be kept covered when it starts getting hot. Keep the blinds closed, or drape towels over to block the sun even more.

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