Master how to cool down a room without ac quickly and efficiently with these simple hacks.
We've pulled together the best, tried and tested, ways to cool down a room without ac and looked into all options; so whether you're in a room without windows, or don't have a fan to hand, there will be a solution you can try below to bring down the temperature of the room you're in as quickly as possible.
If you're worried about the warmth in your bedroom in the evening, you can also take a look at our guide to how to sleep in the heat for expert-led solutions for slumber during the hot summer months.
How to cool down a room without ac
1. Put ice in front of a fan
If you don't have ac but you do have a fan to hand, you can try creating a DIY ac with this handy hack.
Putting ice in front of a fan is a tried and tested technique (we should know, we've tested it) that does help to cool down a room. Simple yet effective, this idea is especially handy for a cooling a room without windows where you don't have the added benefit of natural airflow.
When you place a bowl or container full of ice in front of a fan the ice cools the air, creating a cooler breeze, rather than just circulating hot air around the room. Just be sure to place a plate under the bowl to catch any droplets of water.
Alternatively, try freezing two or three small plastic drink bottles filled with water and then positioning the frozen bottle in front of the fan. Spread them out so that they don’t block the fan’s air stream, and switch off your fan’s oscillation setting so that the fan is pointed directly at the bottles. This will have the same effect as the ice cubes.
When the ice melts, just freeze the bottles again – if you have the freezer space, keep multiple bottles prepared so you have a ready supply. You can also add two or three tablespoons of salt to the water before you freeze the bottles, which will lower the freezing temperature of the water and make the ice even colder. This won't work with your best water bottles made of stainless steel, so it's best to opt for plastic if you can in this instance.
2. Keep curtains and blinds drawn
During the summer months, it’s a good idea to keep your curtains or blinds closed during the day to block out sunlight, which can increase the room’s temperature.
"As simple as this one may sound, keeping your blinds closed throughout the day deflects the sun’s powerful rays from heating your house," says Ben Gallizzi (opens in new tab), energy expert at money.co.uk. "Just open them up in the evening and let the cooler air fill the room."
This simple hack will help cool down a room without ac, especially if you do as Ben suggests and open windows in the evening once the sun has set and the heat of the day has worn off, allowing cool air to circulate around the room.
Blackout blinds, curtains, or solid shutters are another longer-term option to think about, as these are designed to block outside light completely and keep bedrooms dark and cool in the summer while insulating against the cold when temperatures drop over the winter months too.
3. Use fans more effectively
While any type of electric fan can be a great relief when it’s excessively hot, using them strategically can increase their benefits no end. If you have a ceiling fan, make sure that it is set to rotate counter-clockwise, this ensures that the blades push air down and create a cool breeze. And turn it off when you leave the room because ceiling fans cool people, not rooms.
When it comes to table or floor-standing fans, make sure yours is pointed in the right direction to get maximum airflow. The corner of a room is a good position so that more of the room can be covered evenly. And choose a spot where there are no large items of furniture to block the flow of air. Tower fans are a good option as they cover a larger area than rotary fans and create a sheet of air rather than a tunnel effect.
Creating a cross-breeze in your living room or bedroom will allow some extra relief when it's very hot. A cross-breeze occurs when there is an entry and exit point for air. In bedrooms with two windows, aim a fan out one window while allowing fresh air to flow in through the other. In rooms with only one window, keeping the door open allows a cross breeze to form from elsewhere in the house. Fans with added air purifying benefits (such as the Blueair Blue Pure Purifying Fan) are the best for those who suffer from hay fever, as the fan will help to filter out the pollen.
"When selecting a model, air circulation is key, so consider a fan that oscillates both horizontally and vertically," advises Dennis Wessels, from air treatment experts Duux (opens in new tab). "Opting for an adaptable, portable fan, that can be effortlessly changed from full to table height, allows for greater flexibility between rooms and positions."
4. Improve the air flow by opening windows
To cool down a room without ac, try to create a cross breeze by opening two windows on opposite sides of a room, or alternatively, opening windows in adjacent rooms and keeping the doors open to allow air to flow through your home.
"Maintaining airflow is important to displace warm air, so when the outdoor air is cooler than indoors, opening multiple windows will help create a breeze through the home," says Stephen Beresford, from window experts REHAU (opens in new tab).
Heat rises, so if you have a loft or an attic, opening windows or hatches will allow rising heat to escape and it's also a good idea to prioritize opening windows upstairs for this same reason. Not only will it give hot air in the house somewhere to escape to, but it will also bring down the room temperature in the bedrooms before you need to try and sleep.
5. Create exterior shade at windows
Another effective tactic that will keep downstairs rooms cool is to create shade outside the windows, especially in rooms where you are likely to relax during the hottest parts of the day.
Consider moving the garden parasol or gazebo to a position directly outside the windows to shelter rooms from the sun bearing down on them, causing rooms to feel hot and humid. Of course, window treatments such as curtains and blinds do the job indoors, but it's more effective when you reduce the sun exposure further by blocking direct sun from the outside, too.
6. Hang damp sheets in front of the windows
An instant cooling home hack when it's really hot outside is to hang damp sheets from the curtain poles in front of any open window, especially at night. The moisture from the sheets will help to cool any incoming breeze from outside.
Using the same principle you could alternatively try spraying curtains with a mist of cold water, keep the water in a bottle in the fridge so it's refreshingly cold.
7. Close doors to keep out the heat
This simple tip quite literally shuts the heat out and traps the coolness in. If you're using cooler rooms during the hottest points of the day, a benefit of any north-facing rooms, it's an idea to shut doors to stop the hot air generating from other rooms.
"Closing doors in rooms that you’re not using can help trap cooler air in the rooms that you’re in," explains Ben. "If you don’t shut off certain areas of your house, it allows the cool air to dissipate and every room will end up at a similar temperature." And if that temperature is hot, your room will not stay cool for long.
And if you have doors with gaps, especially those that lead outside, putting down towels at the doors will help to keep the cool air in, acting as a simple and inexpensive form of insulation.
8. Switch off electrics
Aside from obvious appliances like ovens, any electrical devices, such as laptops, TVs, and lamps, give off heat and contribute to the overall temperature of a room. So if you don't have ac, switching devices off when you're not using them is a great way of reducing unnecessary extra heat fast and effectively.
You should also avoid having these electrical items too close to you. For example, don't sit in bed with a laptop on your lap as this will raise your body temperature and make the room feel warmer.
Also, turn off all the plug sockets you can to help keep things cool because electrical sockets kick out a surprising amount of heat. Being conscious and turning off power sources can also save some energy at the same time.
9. Reduce heat in the kitchen
Cooking outside if you have the space is an easy way to help reduce the heat in your home by reducing your use of appliances such as ovens, gas hobs, and kettles which all produce heat and will increase the temperature of a room when used.
If you haven't ventured outside since last summer, make sure you know how to clean a BBQ first, to prepare for a season of alfresco cooking.
10. Bring in plants and greenery
Welcoming the outside in is a key interior design trend for 2022, but did you know it is also a great hack for how to cool down a room too? "Bringing nature inside is a great way to not only cleanse the air in your house but also to help circulate cooler air," says Ben Gallizzi.
"This works when certain plants such as weeping figs, snake plants, rubber plants, and Chinese evergreen to name a few, absorb warm air. Through the transpiration process, they release oxygen and cool moisture as a byproduct into the room. Not only this, but they look great too."
All the best places online to buy plants will be able to advise on the most suitable houseplants for your room, depending on light quality and whether or not you have pets – because there are certain plants that are poisonous to pets.
11. Change the lightbulbs
The lightbulbs in a room can contribute to its overall temperature, as explained by Ben, an energy expert: "If you still have incandescent bulbs in your light fittings at home, and haven’t already made the switch to LED light bulbs, then it could make a difference."
"Incandescent bulbs waste around 90% of their energy by emitting heat and could limit you if you're trying to decrease the temperature of a room." Not to mention saving energy in the process, a small step towards more sustainable living at home.
Head to your local hardware store to pick up some new bulbs, a relatively small price to pay to quickly help cool down a room without ac.
Lisa is a freelance journalist who has written about interiors for more than 25 years and has worked on all the major homes titles, primarily Ideal Home, but also including Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Style at Home, Livingetc, Woman & Home, Easy Gardens and Good Homes magazines. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person, as well as being a serial shopper/bargain hunter.