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Five DIY Alternatives To Running An Air Conditioner

Don’t have an air conditioner and can’t take the heat? Don’t want the huge electricity bill that might result from using AC all-day long? Whatever your motivation, here are five DIY ideas to stay cool this summer.

Title photo courtesy of Becca Schall.

Create A Makeshift Air Conditioner

If you don’t have an air conditioner, chances are you have a fan. On its own, though, a fan isn’t always sufficiently cooling. If your home is a hot air trap, blowing that hot air around isn’t going to help much. Instead of just running the fan and hoping for the best, take a shallow bowl and fill it with ice. Place the bowl in front of the fan and as the ice evaporates, it will cool the air.

Cool Your Drapes

If it isn’t hotter outside than it is in your home, you’ve probably cracked a window already to at least cool things down a little bit. If you’re finding an open window isn’t sufficient, spray a sheet with cold water and use it to cover the window’s opening. As the breeze passes through, the cold and damp sheet will cool it bringing in chilled air and further helping to reduce the temperature in your home.

Schedule Your Windows

If all you have are windows to work with, you can still use them to your advantage. While the difference is more significant in arid environments, the temperature outdoors cools at night, and that’s the air you want to let into your home. If you keep your windows closed while the sun is up and open them while the sun is down, you can trap the cooler air in your home and keep the temperature a few degrees lower. Even better: Set up a couple of inexpensive box fans in windows on opposite sides of a room to create a nice through-breeze.

Make Your Own Air Conditioner

Sometimes the best alternative to an air conditioner is an air conditioner, especially when you can make it yourself on the cheap. And what could be cooler than a portable USB air conditioner made from a water filter?

Do Nothing

Much of the heat in your home comes from heat-generating sources within it. If you avoid generating large amounts of heat you won’t have as much need to cool down. Air drying your clothes, skipping the dry cycle on your dishwasher and turning off your computer(s) when they aren’t in use are all good ways to keep the temperature down.

Want more tips for staying cool this summer? Check out an earlier Ask Lifehacker post on how to beat the heat, and share your extra tips in the comments.