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Reducing Inside Temperature Without Air Conditioning

I am seeking advice on cooling. I know that in the northern hemisphere you are approaching winter, but here in the southern hemisphere, Australia, we are coming on to summer, and they can be ferociously hot.


I'm looking for suggestions on keeping my place cool in summer, and hoping some who experience hot summers there, may have ideas I haven't thought of.

I live in a second floor rented apartment, no structural changes can be made, ie., installing an air conditioning unit. The windows are large and face east which gets all the morning sun, and west, which gets all the afternoon sun. Of course I draw the curtains against the sun, and have simple fans, which however when it's very hot just blow warm air around by day end.

I would be grateful if anyone has any further suggestions on how I can beat the heat. Thank you.

By Ellie

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October 24, 20100 found this helpful

If there is any way you can shade your windows, (such as awwnings, or some sort of outside curtain), that would go a long way toward preventing your apt. from becoming a greenhouse. In the US, we can get freestanding "portable" air conditioning units, that have a large hose that vents to the outside by way of a window (no permanent installaton).

If you can, go to your hardware store, and ask if there is a reflective film you can apply to the window to keep out the sun before it comes in. If not, and you don't mind the look, cut some pieces of cardboard to fit up close to the window panes, and put aluminum foil on them. Place them in the windows early in the morning so that the sun can't come through the glass at all. You can take them out later in the day once the sun isn't hitting the windows any more. When you just close the curtains (especially if they're dark), the sun will come in and heat things up even if they're closed).

If it cools off at night, open up as much as you can, and try to get the place cooled down, using fans to move the air through.

Hopefully some others will have ideas, as well!

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October 24, 20100 found this helpful

I like to hang plastic sheeting over windows to keep the sun out. There are solar sheeting to put over windows for this but most of them are too thin and tear easily. I go to the hardware store to get the plastic sheeting and I get a ton of it for six dollars and some change. You can use a pressure rod, and tape the plastic sheeting over the rod and then hang it up. The same idea works in the winter to keep out the cold.

Also, when the house heats up, face the fans toward the open windows so the hot air will be forced out the windows. When the house is not really stifling, then turn the fans back around facing away from the window.



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October 25, 20100 found this helpful

Your landlord, if there is one involved and this why you can't make structural changes. May be interested to know that running an energy efficient window unit air conditioner cost very little, like $35.00 US a month. By installing some of the new fangled tinting for windows it can help save on heating costs too.

We have Home Depot here or Lowe's, but if you can find a store offering energy saving home installations for windows, doors, insulation, appliances etc. you could then approach the landlord equipped with the information for a fight for some changes. One that will save you both some money.

In the U.S. we get tax deductions for updating our homes for energy conservation.

If none of the above applies. A good heavy drape, not a curtain will do wonders to block out heat and sun. Be sure to look for ones with a backing on them. And be prepared for some extra cost to your wallet. They can be expensive.

Good Luck and stay cool!

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October 25, 20100 found this helpful

Simple changes in decor can help, take up all the rugs for a bare floor, white covers on furniture, even old sheets will create an appearance coolness. They can also be easily washed to keep them smelling fresh and clean. Before we had AC, I would spend time at a shopping mall just to cool off. If it is really terrible, put your mattress on the floor for the summer. Remember that hot air rises and cold air sinks. If windows permit, open them top and bottom. I live in the Midwest and the heat and humidity here fight to see which be the highest. The answers above have some of the same things I have used.

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October 26, 20100 found this helpful

I have used wide aluminum foil taped on the west windows, which will reduce the heat tremendously. I use masking tape to tape the foil to the window as it is easy to scrape off the windows with a razor blade and there is no structural damage done to window or sill when you are ready for the winter sun to warm your rooms. I also suggest you keep the drapes or shades pulled on the west windows after taping the aluminum foil to the windows.

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October 28, 20100 found this helpful

Covering the west windows all the time during the summer will help, unless the scenery is worth the heat.

I lived 3 years in Tucson, and got used to having the windows open all night, then closing them in the am trapping in the cool air. We had AC, but I didn't turn it on till afternoon.

If there is a way to find a swamp cooler, they are marvelous. They use a straw base for the cooling water that you pour in, then it condenses in a pan under the unit. You use that to keep the plants cool, or reuse it the next day. They don't need to sit in a window, so there is one solution.

If you have the fan, do turn them during the day as the other poster suggested. I have gotten so desperate that I have sat a big plastic bowl of ice cubes in front and then refrozen the water over and over, recycling the resource you have so little of down there.

Cool or cold rags soaked in water in the fridge help to wipe down the face and arms during the day, too.

I hope all this helps.


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October 28, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you so much for your suggestions. Some things I can't apply, ie, taking up rugs as the rooms have fitted carpets. The windows are sliding windows, not top.bottom openers, Usually they are closed on the hottest days, and opened at night, but believe me, sometimes the nights are barely less hot on the days. One good thing, last year our landlord had roof insulation installed.. had lived here for 12 years with no insulation, so that may help to keep things cooler this summer. Thank you all again.

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October 28, 20100 found this helpful

I got my idea from the good people here on the forum. I live in southwest Florida right on the Gulf coast and it gets brutally hot here, too. I put up bubble wrap on my windows. It's easy to do, just buy a roll of bubble wrap, cut to the size of your window, spray the window with water and stick the wrap on the window. When it's time to remove it, you just peel it off the window.

With my patio sliding door, I not only did bubble wrap, I then went out and bought a very inexpensive shower curtain liner. I bought a pack of small suction cup hooks and hung the liner over the bubble wrap for extra cooling protection.

Has all this worked? A year ago our average electric bill would be $200 a month. This summer our highest bill has been $134 and our most recent one was $128. I make it a point to never turn on the air conditioning until at least noon. It goes off at night and we use fans.

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October 29, 20100 found this helpful

Can you buy a portable air conditioner? All you need to do is open a window a crack so that the vent pipe can hang outside and remember to empty the water tank in the unit.

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April 10, 20110 found this helpful

I don't recommend a portable air conditioner unless it is butted right up to a sliding door or a hole can be put in the wall directly behind the unit and the unit flush to the wall. I bought one last year and had to take it back, because the more length of exhaust hose the more heat is generated indoors. The hose gets hot and my room actually did not cool at all even though cold air came from the unit. Too much hot hose and it can not keep up with cooling.

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