12 Ideas to Keep Your House Cooler in the Summer

Updated: Dec. 17, 2023

AC not quite cutting it? Here are 12 ways to help keep your home cool when the temperatures rises.

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Dusty Ceiling Fan
Ally Childress for Family Handyman

Install Ceiling Fans

It’s no secret that moving air makes you feel cooler. By installing ceiling fans, you can create air movement that will help you cool down while avoiding the cost of dropping the thermostat temperature any further. In summer months, run your ceiling fan counterclockwise to draw the cooler air upwards. Additionally, you can run your bathroom exhaust fans during the summer months which will help expel the rising warm air to the exterior of your home.

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sun streaming through window blinds

Close the Blinds

If you have windows that receive direct sunlight at any part of the day, you’ll benefit from keeping the blinds closed or curtains drawn for at least the sunniest part of the day. For rooms on lower floors, try turning your blinds upwards to prevent rays (and heat) from sneaking through.

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heat reducing window film
Family Handyman

Apply Heat Reducing Film

With roughly 30 percent of ambient heat coming into your home through the windows, one quick and easy fix to keep your home cool is to apply a reflective, heat-reducing window film to regulate the temperature. As a bonus, it even works in reverse, keeping more warm air inside during the winter months — and it’s quick and easy to install!

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programmable thermostat
Family Handyman

A Programmable Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat can help keep your home cool and save a bundle on energy costs. If you’re out of the house all day, your thermostat can be programmed to reduce the temperature a few degrees before you come home, so when you arrive it’s comfortably cool without wasting energy all day. If you want to save energy, then here are a few ways to cool a room without AC.

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FH14OCT_552_06_024 ductbooster
Family Handyman

Give Your Ducts a Boost

With its easy plug-in-and-power-on design, installing a duct booster fan can draw more cool air into a room that’s too hot. Simply choose the design that’s right for you, place it in the register vent and plug it in for a quick and easy way to cool your space.

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Family Handyman

Use Portable A/C

A portable air conditioning unit is an excellent solution for cooling the most used areas of your home. Because they can easily be moved from room to room, you’ll have cool air wherever you need it most. Another alternative is a seasonal window unit which can be installed in a main room to get the most bang for your cooling buck. Find out if a dehumidifier cools a room.

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mini split air conditioner

Install a Mini-Split

Popular in Europe, a mini-split air conditioner is a mix between a built-in unit and a wall unit. It provides whisper-quiet operation, and its compact size won’t detract from your decor. A mini-split system can be mounted anywhere, an economical alternative for ductless homes. Here are a few tips for cleaning air conditioners.

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house in the woods how to make your house cooler
somsak suwanput/Shutterstock

Plant Foliage

Though the payback on this may take a few seasons, planting shade trees and foliage around your home can help stop heat from seeping in through the windows and roof. And the result is pretty, too!

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open window at night
Vasilyev Alexandr/Shutterstock

Open Windows at Night

Take advantage of those breezy summer evenings. Open your windows at night to promote a cross-breeze that will help you and your family sleep better. The cooler air will circulate all night, allowing you to start fresh with a cool home in the morning.

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grill hot dogs and vegetables

Grill More

Now this is one home cooling tip most homeowners can get behind. When temperatures soar, step outside and grill your meals instead of using the oven, which can raise the temperature of your home considerably. From pizza to roast beef, there are numerous ways to cook a meal on the grill. So get outside and experiment with the best meal options summer has to offer!

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keep interior doors open teal wall

Keep Interior Doors Open

Leave your interior doors open, particularly if you lack an open-concept living space. This simple step is critical to keeping your home cool. Open doors allows air to circulate freely, eliminating hot spots and regulating the temperature within your home.

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clean air conditioner
Family Handyman

Maintain Your A/C Unit

Even if you’ve got a built-in air conditioner, it may not be working at capacity if it hasn’t been maintained every season. Check out our A/C maintenance inspection checklist to make sure your unit is doing its best to keep your family cool and comfortable. Before you move ahead, get to know whether you can leave your air conditioner on all day.