Air conditioning is a luxury everyone enjoys, but not all homes are retrofitted with. Your city may be one of them, and we feel you. Sometimes we sneak off to the mall just to sit in the cool air, too.

Central air conditioners are expensive, and portable A/C units are always an option. They can go in any room as long as their exhaust tube is connected to the outdoors, and they’re easy to install. Plus, if your homeowner’s association outlaws wall units, these ones sneak by without breaking any of the rules.

Sweaty Couple in Summer Heat

But sometimes only your fan and your wits are all you have, and if they are, here are ten hacks to stay cool as temperatures rise.

1. 100% Cotton Sheets

If your sheets are synthetic or not 100% cotton, switch them out immediately. No matter how much you love them. 100% cotton sheets are more breathable and comfortable when the heat comes. For an added bonus, pop them in a ziplock bag the freezer an hour before you go to sleep so they’re nice and cool when you turn in.

White Cotton Sheets

2. Sleep With Ice

While your sheets chill, throw in a water bottle or ice pack with them. Then, sleep with it next to you. It’s like sleeping with a hot water bottle when it’s cold, but with the opposite effect.

Ice Pack

3. DIY A/C

A/C doesn’t have to be expensive; you can DIY it yourself. One great way to beat the heat without air conditioning is to place a wet sheet over an open window or a shallow tray of ice in front of a fan. It will cool the air circulating in your room.

Woman in Front of Fan

4. Basements Cool Without Air Conditioning

If you can, sleep on the first floor or in the basement. Why? Heat rises, so the higher up in the house you keep your bed, the warmer it will be.


5. Less Lighting Or Low Heat Lights

Electricity generates heat, so keep as many lights off as you can. The same goes for keeping unnecessary items plugged in. This will cut down on your energy bill, too! Consider changing your lightbulbs out to LED that produce less heat. Less heat means less cooling is needed – and thus easier to get by without air conditioning.

Turn Off Light Switch

6. Grill Outdoors

Cooking in your kitchen heats it up. A lot. So when you can, for whatever you can swing, cook outside on a grill or try some no-bake recipes.

Father and Sons Grilling

7. Eat Light

Believe it or not, eating a heavy meal will actually increase your body temperature due to the energy it takes to digest. Try to stick to light, easy to digest foods like salads and fruit.

Eating Salad

8. Window Practice

The time of day when you open and close your windows matter. Keep them closed and shaded during the day to keep the sun and ambient heat from warming up your house, and open them at night to let the cool air in and hot air out. Installing blackout curtains for daytime will provide extra shielding from the sun’s heat.

Closing Curtains

9. Spray Bottles

Keep a spray bottle in the fridge and use it to mist your face and pulse points (back of knees, wrists, inside of elbows and neck). This will reduce your body temperature and feel refreshing.

Woman Spraying Face

10. Hydrate

Drink lots and lots of water to keep hydrated! Nothing is worse than battling dehydration symptoms during a heat wave, so try to drink at least two liters of water a day. More if you can! For an added chill, add fresh mint from your garden to your water.

Ice Water With Lemon

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About the Author: is a full-service home remodeling and construction general contractor serving the greater Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego area. Home improvement is hard, and we make it easier for you every step of the way. That starts by understanding your goals, whether it’s making a space more livable, expanding your home, repairing damage, adding room for relatives, or something completely different. We’ll work with you to ensure you’re happy with the project from start to finish.