If you open two windows, the cooler outdoor air can enter more easily because the hot indoor air will be mostly exiting through the other window. You can also place a box fan, like the one pictured above, near one of the open windows and facing outward so that it’s blowing hot air out of your room.
Another option is an evaporative cooler, such as this NewAir 300-square-foot model ($182). Evaporative coolers work by passing air over a water-soaked pad, which humidifies the air and lowers the room temperature. There are caveats, though. They work well only in dry environments. Even indoors, you generally have to live where the humidity is low to get the most out of these machines, although you can use them outdoors when the humidity isn’t too high.
If you haven’t already replaced your old-fashioned filament-style light bulbs with LED bulbs, do it for the sake of keeping cool. Energy-efficient LED bulbs generate far less heat than incandescent bulbs, and they’ll lower your electric bill. You can pick up a 12-pack of GE Soft White LED 60W-Equivalent Light Bulbs ($8) to replace all the bulbs in your house.
You can also use blackout curtains ($30) or thermal curtains. Yes, it’ll be dark inside, like a cave, but it’ll also be cooler. Even regular curtains, which allow more light in, will reduce some heat as long as they’re room-darkening and not sheer. You can also try applying solar film to your windows, such as this Gila Glare Control Window Film ($22), to block some of the UV radiation and heat of the sun.
If you can handle the heat during the day but must have a cool bed at night, the BedJet 3 ($399) is a favorite of ours. It’s pricey, though. If you’re spending hundreds of dollars, you may just want to give in and buy a window air conditioner unit (we have several recommendations here).
Percale bedsheets are crisper than typical sheets, and because of the way the sheets are woven, some people perceive them as feeling cooler. We like Nautica’s Percale bedsheets ($44), which are 100 percent cotton and feel great for the money. Like all percale, they’ll soften up with subsequent washes.
Wait to run household appliances until the cooler parts of the day, such as the early morning or after sunset. Dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and ovens all generate heat that spills into the rest of your home.
Lastly, keep your indoor air inside your home by sealing it against leaky drafts. There’s no point in cooling it down if you’re just going to let it flow outside. Many of the tips in my How to Winter-Proof Your Home guide are just as useful in the summer. Buy a Newborn 960-GTR Caulking Gun ($21), some hybrid silicone-acrylic caulk ($11), and an Allway 3-in-1 Caulk Applicator ($7) to seal up the edges of your floors and around windows.
Lower the Humidity
Reducing your indoor humidity won’t make the room temperature any cooler, but it will make it feel cooler and improve your body’s ability to manage the heat. The ideal indoor humidity level is between 40 and 50 percent, but it’s not uncommon for rooms to reach 70 percent in more humid regions of the US.
Keeping the humidity lower will not only make you more comfortable, but it’ll also protect your belongings. Damp air can encourage mildew growth, curl books, knock stringed musical instruments out of tune, and cause wood furniture to swell and split.