How to cool your house naturally

Apr 29, 2013 at 12:48 p.m. ET

Despite what most people think, heat is not the enemy, it is just something we like to avoid at all costs — "costs" being the key word. In these tight financial times, air conditioning can get expensive. However, there is hope, a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. What if I told you there were ways that you could keep your house cool, all while giving your wallet a much-needed break? Well, buckle up and get ready to save some money!

 How to cool your house naturally

Step 1: Seal cracks

If you're wondering why your air conditioning bill is so high, and why you run the AC constantly but your house never seems to cool down, you probably have cracks in your house that are letting the hot air in and the cool air escape. It's time to grab a caulking gun and go to town on those cracks. If you do this properly, you should see a significant difference within hours.

Step 2: Keep the shades drawn

Most people don't like to feel like they're living in a cave, but sometimes compromise is necessary. If you have blackout shades, that's great, but any type of shades will work. Simply pull the shades during the day to act as a heat shield. This is probably the best way to keep the heat out, short of spending thousands of dollars on new tinted windows.

Step 3: Don't use unnecessary appliances

When you use your dishwasher, what, besides the soap, is cleaning the dishes? When you use your dryer, what is being used to dry the clothes? That's right — heat! If you're trying to keep your house cool without using the AC, then using appliances that require heat to function is probably not the best idea. Try hand-drying your dishes and wait to do your laundry until the heat of the day has passed.

Step 4: Plant shade trees

In hot climates it is nearly impossible to keep all the heat out of your house. This is when you can let nature provide a cool oasis for your home. If you plant trees in the front yard, it may take a while for them to grow, but once they do, the payoff will be well worth the wait. When the trees are fully grown, they will block the sun from entering through the windows and heating up your house.

Step 5: Let the cool in

It's no surprise that it is much cooler at night, so why do we keep the house closed up then? It's time to open up those windows while you're sleeping. If you keep the house opened up during the night and let the cool air in, you can trap it and keep your house cool the next day. It is important to close up the windows early in the day before the weather starts heating up because all the cool air from the night will be cancelled out.

Other tips on keeping cool

Creative ways to keep things cool outdoors
The best products and tips to keep your pets cool this summer
5 Inexpensive ways to cool down your home