Whether you’re trying to save on energy costs, reduce your carbon footprint, or use your air conditioning less often, there are lots of relatively simple steps you can take to keep your home cool without cranking the AC. Here are 6 tried-and-true favorites.

1. Cover your windows
It seems simple … and it is. According to the Department of Energy, keeping your windows covered (either with awnings, light-blocking shades, blinds, drapes, curtains, or reflective films) on hot, sunny days can reduce your overall solar heat gains dramatically, keeping your home significantly cooler.

2. Hack your fans
Cool off relatively small spaces (like an office or bedroom) by placing a bowl of ice in front of a portable fan (make sure the fan won’t hit it). As the fan blows air over the ice water, it’ll send a cold blast in whichever direction the fan is blowing. At nighttime (when the air outside is cooler than the air inside), a fan that faces a window will help blow hot air out of the room, while letting cooler, night air back in.

3. Cool down beds with cotton sheets
Natural fibers like cotton are the way to go for hot summer nights. They’ll wick away sweat and keep you cooler and drier than their synthetic counterparts (polyester blends, satin, and silk, to name a few). Choose light-colored sheets  they’ll do a better job of reflecting the light that comes in through uncovered windows, while darker sheets may absorb it.

4. Set up an outdoor kitchen
No one wants to stand over a hot stove or crank the oven on a hot summer night. Cooking outside, either at the barbecue, the rotisserie, the pizza oven, or even the camping stove, can be fun for the whole family, making summer dinners instantly more comfortable. Your outdoor kitchen can be as basic or as elaborate as you’re inclined to make it, but the general idea is to move the parts of your cooking that require a lot of heat to the great outdoors. (Just have a professional do the installations!)

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5. Use CFL or LED lights
Replacing incandescent lights (which actually generate heat as they generate light) with compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs will not only reduce your energy costs, but it’ll also reduce the amount of heat radiating into your living space. 

6. Plant shade trees
This might seem like playing the house-cooling long game, but it’s worth considering, especially if you intend to be in your home for awhile. Planting deciduous trees with dense canopies on the east, south, and west sides of your home can give your patios, yard, and house much-needed summertime shade. In addition to saving on energy bills, trees help absorb greenhouse gasses and clean the air we breathe.

Now that you’ve cooled down a bit, make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect your home (and your stuff). Get a fast, free quote today.

Homeowners insurance policies underwritten by Esurance are available only in certain states. Esurance Insurance Company and its affiliates: San Francisco, CA.

DIY hacks | Home and garden

about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.