Tried and true: keep cool like it’s 1959

Before smart thermostats, our parents and grandparents kept cool the old fashioned way. IMU offers these tips from Popular Science magazine and the U.S. Department of Energy that can lower your home’s temperature and keep your family more comfortable without spending a dime.

Manage indoor airflow

Install a fan in an attic or top-floor window and position it to blow outwards. Then open any doors or vents that can increase airflow to that area. The hot air in your house will rise and get pushed outside where it belongs. You can also use the built-in fans in your bathroom or above your kitchen stove to suck hot air out of those rooms. These fans use far less electricity than even the smallest air conditioners.

Set up a “cool room”

If there’s no efficient way to keep all your living areas cool at once, focus on one and do what you can to isolate it from incoming heat from the rest of the house.. Maybe you work from home and spend a lot of time in your home office during the day - you might only need one fan, one lamp, etc. Families might tweak a basement rec room to make it more appealing for everyone to spend time in when it’s too hot to be in the living room or outdoors.

Isolate the heat

Turn off your oven and any unnecessary electronics that produce heat, like lamps with incandescent bulbs. This will help you use less power and avoid the warmth they can add to your living space. If you must turn on the oven or stove, isolate its ambient heat if possible by closing your kitchen off from the rest of your home.

The dog doesn’t need to watch TV

If you’re heading out, turn off everything you can at home before you leave. There’s no point leaving lights, fans, a TV, or a computer running when you aren’t there to use them. Power down or simply switch off these electronics when you leave the house.

Shut out the sun

Open your windows to cool air at night, then close and cover them during the day to keep sunshine and hot air outside. Regular curtains might not do the trick—if the sun is still seeping in, invest in blackout curtains or hang heavy blankets against sun-facing windows.

Empty your outlets

Unplug anything you aren’t using. Even empty phone and laptop chargers draw a small amount of electricity from the outlets they’re plugged into—and the same goes for your toaster, kettle, video game console, and more. It adds up!

Seal the gaps

If your home feels chilly in the winter and hot in the summer, it may have small structural imperfections that are letting the elements outdoors sneak inside. Gaps around your windows, uninsulated walls, and other small openings can all have this effect.

Made for the shade

This might seem counter-intuitive, but our parents remember the value of good old-fashioned shade and an evening breeze. If you don’t have a covered porch, consider setting up some chairs under a tree or investing in an outdoor dining canopy. Early morning and mid-evening hours offer outdoor respite from intensely warm days. Feeling really old school? Keep a supply of hand fans or battery-powered personal fans. Some even come with water reservoirs so you can spray yourself with a light mist as well!

Slip, slide, swim

On those really hot days, set up a homemade water feature in the yard. Wading pools, sprinklers, even just a bucket of water with some small toys for the kiddies. Staying wet equals staying cool!

Let it all hang out

Clothes dryers use a huge amount of electricity. In fact, they can consume as much power as a fridge, a washing machine, and a dishwasher combined. Summer is the perfect time to forego your clothes dryer and hang your laundry outdoors to dry instead. Bonus: sheets dried on the line are one of life’s simple pleasures!