Top Tips to Keep Your Home Cool with an Efficient Cooling System

As the scorching heat of summer arrives, maintaining a cool and comfortable home becomes a top priority. Living and sleeping in an overly hot home is uncomfortable and distracting. The rising temperatures can be challenging, but you can create a cooler home with the right strategies. From optimizing your air conditioning system to incorporating energy-efficient practices, you can take steps to maintain a cool space even during a heatwave.

Key Takeaways

  • Investing in a smart thermostat can help regulate your home’s temperature efficiently.
  • Regular maintenance of your AC system is crucial for optimal performance.
  • Window treatments can significantly reduce heat transfer into your home.
  • Window treatments can significantly reduce heat transfer into your home.
  • Ceiling fans are an effective way to enhance air circulation.
  • Proper insulation helps to keep the cool air in and the hot air out.

1. Smart Thermostat

The convenience of a programmable smart thermostat allows you to have complete control over the system with little effort. Instead of forgetting to adjust your AC one day and letting it needlessly cool the home when you’re gone, you can program it from your phone and get on with your day. Smart cooling will adjust to your schedule so you reduce energy consumption while staying cool. Additionally, you can set your system to begin cooling your home while you’re on the way back, ensuring your home is at a comfortable temperature upon arrival.

Benefits of Smart Thermostats

  • Maximizes comfort and efficiency
  • Reduces energy consumption
  • Provides remote control via smartphone

How to Choose a Smart Thermostat

  1. Check compatibility with your HVAC system.
  2. Look for features like remote control and programmable settings.
  3. Consider energy-saving capabilities and potential rebates from utility companies.

Installation Tips

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Ensure the thermostat is placed away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Consult a professional if you are unsure about the ac installation process.

2. Regular AC Maintenance

To ensure your air conditioning system operates at maximum cooling capacity, it is essential to schedule regular maintenance. If your system is dirty or inefficient, it won’t cool your house properly. Regular check-ups not only save you money in the long run but also prevent breakdowns and help your home stay cooler more easily without needing costly AC repair services.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

It is advisable to schedule professional air conditioning maintenance once a year. Technicians will evaluate your system and perform the necessary tune-ups to keep your air conditioning running smoothly. They will check airflow, ducts, refrigerant, and more for signs of wear and damage. This comprehensive evaluation helps your AC stay efficient for the best possible cooling.

Clean Your AC Filters Regularly

Clean Your AC Filters Regularly
If your air conditioner isn’t working as effectively, it might be time to change the air filters. A clogged or filthy air filter makes your AC work harder and impacts your indoor air quality. Therefore, you need to clean your AC’s air filters every two weeks and replace them every four months as a rule of thumb. You can also take preventive measures to avoid ac system replacement.

3. Window Treatments

To keep your home cool with these window treatments, consider various options that can significantly reduce heat gain and improve comfort. Window treatments are essential for maintaining a cool indoor environment, especially during the hot summer months. Here are some effective strategies:


1. 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.

2. Install Thermal Curtains

Thermal curtains are designed to keep the light and heat from coming through. This could mean having a thicker curtain versus something sheer. Thermal shades and blackout curtains are also effective options.

3. Apply Heat-Reducing Film

Window films are an easy DIY project, and there are a ton of options to choose from based on your needs. These films can significantly reduce the amount of heat entering your home.

4. Use Reflective or Insulated Curtains

Reflective curtains and insulated curtains are more expensive options but can provide substantial benefits. They can help reduce up to 20% of your cooling bill.

5. Install Awnings or Plant Shade Trees

Two exterior options to consider are installing awnings or planting shade trees. These can provide additional shade and reduce the heat entering your home.

4. Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a cost-effective and energy-efficient way to enhance air circulation and create a comfortable indoor environment. Ceiling fans can decrease your cooling bill by up to 15 percent. To maximize their effectiveness, ensure that your ceiling fans are rotating counterclockwise during the summer months. This rotation pushes cool air down, creating a wind-chill effect that helps keep you cool. While ceiling fans do not lower room temperatures, they are excellent for creating gentle breezes indoors. By strategically using ceiling fans, you can save money and energy.

5. Insulation

Ensuring your home is well-insulated is essential for maintaining a cool indoor environment. Quality insulation helps your home remain cool in the summer and warm in the winter. With a solid layer of insulation, the air is less able to travel in and out, making your cooling system more efficient and reducing energy costs. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Attic Insulation

Check your attic insulation — you might need to update or add insulation to keep your house cool. Attic insulation reduces your AC unit’s energy usage, making it more cost-effective to cool your home during the summer.

Sealing Gaps and Cracks

Check windows, doors, garages, and walls for gaps and cracks. Use caulk and weather stripping to seal any air leaks you find. This will prevent cool air from escaping and warm air from entering.

DIY Insulation

Insulation is also a pretty inexpensive and simple solution, and you can also try DIY insulation for further savings. Before insulating, seal around recessed lights, vents, and plumbing and lay down a 6-mil polyethylene vapor barrier. When insulating, place boards across the tops of the joists to walk on, and as you insulate, don’t cover or pack insulation around a bare stove pipe, electrical fixtures, or any other equipment that produces heat, unless the fixture is labeled as suitable for direct contact with insulation.

6. Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a cool and comfortable home environment. Effective ventilation helps to remove hot air and replace it with cooler air from the outside, ensuring a consistent and pleasant indoor temperature.

Get Airflow

Fans and open windows are essential for providing much-needed airflow, especially during hot weather. Strategically placing fans in combination with open windows can significantly improve cross-ventilation, enhancing the cooling effect throughout your home. To maximize airflow, position fans facing outward in windows on one side of your home, and open windows on the opposite side.

This creates a path for the hot air to be pushed out while drawing in cooler air from outside. Ceiling fans can also help circulate air more effectively. Ensure that your ceiling fan blades are rotating counterclockwise during the summer months, as this pushes cool air down.

Additionally, consider using standing fans or box fans to direct airflow to specific areas of a room. By experimenting with different fan placements and window configurations, you can create a comfortable and well-ventilated environment that helps you beat the heat.

Give Your Ducts a Boost

If you have a room that’s consistently too hot, even with your air conditioning running, installing a duct booster fan can help draw more cool air into that specific space. Duct booster fans are designed to fit easily into your existing ductwork, typically at the register vent.

These fans feature a simple plug-in-and-power-on design, making them a quick and efficient solution for cooling a problematic room. When choosing a duct booster fan, consider factors such as the size of your ductwork, the square footage of the room, and the fan’s CFM (cubic feet per minute) rating.

A higher CFM rating indicates a more powerful fan that can move a greater volume of air. Once you’ve selected the appropriate fan, installation is straightforward – simply place the fan in the register vent and plug it in. With a duct booster fan in place, you’ll enjoy improved airflow and a more comfortable temperature in the targeted room.

Make Use of Exhaust Fans

Exhaust fans are particularly useful for cooling rooms that don’t have windows, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, or some kitchens. These fans work by pushing hot air out of your home, creating space for fresh, cooler air to enter from other areas.

When the inside temperature is higher than the outside temperature, running an exhaust fan can help equalize the temperatures more quickly. To get the most out of your exhaust fans, make sure they are properly sized for the room.

A fan that is too small will be ineffective, while one that is too large can waste energy. Additionally, clean your exhaust fans regularly to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency. When using an exhaust fan to cool a room, it’s a good idea to open a window or door in an adjacent room to promote better airflow throughout your home. This allows the cooler outside air to be drawn into the room more effectively as the hot air is expelled.

7. Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is an essential tool for maintaining a comfortable home environment, especially during the humid summer months. By reducing humidity, a dehumidifier helps your body regulate heat better, making your home feel cooler even when temperatures are high. The ideal indoor humidity level in summer should be around 40% – 50%.

Benefits of Using a Dehumidifier

  • Reduces humidity levels, making the air feel cooler.
  • Helps your air conditioner work more efficiently.
  • Prevents mold and mildew growth.
  • Improves overall air quality, allowing you to breathe easier at home with clean, cool, dehumidified air.

Energy Efficiency

Modern dehumidifiers are engineered to be significantly more energy-efficient than older models. On average, they consume about 20% less electricity while still effectively removing excess moisture from the air. This is achieved through advanced features and improved designs.

One key aspect is the use of sensors that continuously monitor the humidity level in the room. When the desired level is reached, these smart dehumidifiers automatically shut off, ensuring that no energy is wasted by running unnecessarily. They will then periodically check the humidity and turn it back on only when needed to maintain the optimal level.

Many energy-efficient dehumidifiers are also equipped with adjustable humidistats, allowing you to precisely set your target humidity percentage. By dialing in the perfect setting for your space, you can avoid using more energy than necessary.

Compared to older dehumidifiers that run constantly, these sensor-driven models can result in significant energy savings over time. Additionally, Energy Star-certified dehumidifiers have been independently tested to meet strict efficiency standards set by the EPA. By choosing one of these models, you can be confident that you are getting top energy performance.

Additional Tips

To get the most out of your dehumidifier, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind. One clever hack is to use the water collected by your unit to water your indoor or outdoor plants. Most dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and collect it in a tank that needs to be periodically emptied. Rather than just dumping this water down the drain, put it to good use by recycling it for your thirsty plants. This can help conserve water, especially in drier climates or during summer months.

Another tip is to strategically place your dehumidifier in the areas of your home that tend to have the highest humidity levels. Basements, bathrooms, and kitchens are common culprits due to the presence of moisture-generating activities like showering, cooking, and washing. By targeting these problem areas, you can more efficiently remove excess humidity at the source.

If you have a particularly damp basement, consider setting up your dehumidifier near the center of the room for maximum coverage. For bathrooms and kitchens, position the unit near the source of moisture if possible, such as by the shower or stove. Just be sure to maintain enough clearance around the dehumidifier for proper air circulation.

Additionally, remember to regularly clean your dehumidifier’s air filter to maintain optimal performance and energy efficiency. A clogged filter makes the unit work harder, consuming more energy. Most models have a removable and washable filter that should be cleaned every few weeks, depending on usage.

8. Exterior Shade

Creating exterior shade around your home is an effective way to reduce indoor temperatures and enhance comfort. Strategically placed shades can significantly lower the amount of direct sunlight entering your home, thus reducing the need for air conditioning.

Plant Foliage

One of the most natural and aesthetically pleasing ways to keep your home cool is by planting shade trees and foliage around the exterior. Strategically placed trees, shrubs, and vines can provide a natural barrier against the sun’s harsh rays, preventing heat from seeping in through windows and the roof.

Deciduous trees are an excellent choice for this purpose. During the summer months, their lush canopies offer ample shade, blocking sunlight and keeping the surrounding area cool. In the winter, when the leaves have fallen, the bare branches allow sunlight to pass through, providing warmth when it’s needed most. This seasonal cycle makes deciduous trees an energy-efficient choice for home landscaping.

In addition to trees, climbing vines and trellises can be used to shade walls and windows. Planting shrubs and bushes near the foundation of your home can also help insulate against heat transfer. As a bonus, this extra foliage can enhance your home’s curb appeal and provide habitats for local wildlife.

Install Awnings

Awnings are a practical and stylish solution for providing shade to windows and outdoor living spaces. These exterior coverings can be either fixed or retractable, offering homeowners flexibility and convenience in controlling the amount of sunlight that enters their homes.

Fixed awnings are permanently attached to the home’s exterior and provide consistent shade throughout the day. They are typically made from durable, weather-resistant materials like canvas or metal, ensuring long-lasting protection against the elements. Fixed awnings are an excellent choice for windows that receive direct sunlight for extended periods, as they can significantly reduce the amount of heat that enters the home.

Use Outdoor Shades

Outdoor shades are an effective and versatile solution for keeping your home cool and comfortable during the hot summer months. These exterior window coverings come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors, allowing homeowners to choose the best option for their specific needs and preferences.

One popular type of outdoor shade is the roller shade. These shades are made from a durable, weather-resistant fabric that can be rolled up or down to control the amount of sunlight and heat entering the home. Roller shades are easy to install and operate, and they can be customized to fit the exact dimensions of your windows.

Another option is the exterior solar screen. These screens are made from a mesh material that blocks a significant portion of the sun’s heat and glare while still allowing natural light and visibility. Solar screens are particularly effective at reducing the amount of heat that enters through east- and west-facing windows, which receive the most direct sunlight throughout the day.

9. Close Off Unused Rooms

Shutting off vents and closing doors in unused rooms during the day can significantly improve the efficiency of your cooling system. Restricting AC to main rooms helps reduce waste and cool air loss. By keeping cool air from flowing into unwanted spaces, you can redirect it back into the rooms where it’s needed most. This practice not only enhances comfort but can also save you money on energy bills. Whether you’re working from home or simply want to keep the main house as cool as possible, sending AC where it’s needed prevents it from spreading out and dissipating without cooling effectively.

10. Cooling Curtains

Cooling curtains are an effective and often overlooked method to keep your home cool. These curtains are designed to block out sunlight and reduce the amount of heat that enters your home, making your cooling system more efficient. Here are some tips on how to use cooling curtains effectively:

To maximize the effectiveness of your cooling curtains, it’s essential to choose the right style and installation method. Opt for curtains that are sized appropriately for your windows, ensuring that they provide full coverage when closed. Consider installing the curtains as close to the window panes as possible to create a tight seal and minimize heat infiltration.

One of the key features of cooling curtains is their ability to reflect sunlight. Many of these curtains are made with light-colored, reflective materials on the exterior-facing side, which helps to bounce the sun’s rays away from your windows. This reflective property can significantly reduce the amount of heat that penetrates your home, keeping your interior spaces cooler and more comfortable.

In addition to their reflective qualities, cooling curtains also provide excellent insulation. The materials used in these curtains often have insulating properties that create a barrier between the warm air outside and the cooler air inside your home. This insulation helps to prevent heat transfer, maintaining a more stable and consistent temperature indoors.


Keeping your home cool during the summer months doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By implementing a combination of smart cooling strategies, regular maintenance, and energy-efficient practices, you can create a comfortable living environment while also saving on energy costs. From using a smart thermostat and scheduling regular AC maintenance to enhancing insulation and improving ventilation, each step plays a crucial role in maintaining a cool home. Remember, small changes like using fans, treating windows, and reducing indoor heat generation can make a significant difference. Stay proactive and enjoy a cool, comfortable home all summer long.


Q: What are some simple ways to keep your house cool in the summer?

A: Close blinds during the day, use fans, open windows at night, and avoid using the oven. Insulate your home and seal air leaks.

Q: How can I keep my home cool without running the air conditioner constantly?

A: Use ceiling fans, close curtains on sunny windows, open windows at night for cross ventilation, and use a programmable thermostat to optimize AC usage.

Q: What temperature should I set my air conditioner to for efficiency and comfort?

A: Set your thermostat to 78°F (25.5°C) when you’re home and a few degrees higher when away. Every degree above 72°F saves 3% on cooling costs.

Q: How do ceiling fans help keep a room cool and save energy?

A: Ceiling fans create a wind chill effect, allowing you to raise the thermostat 4°F without sacrificing comfort. They use less energy than air conditioners.

Q: What are the benefits of using a programmable or smart thermostat?

A: Programmable and smart thermostats automatically adjust temperatures when you’re away or asleep to save energy. Some models learn your preferences and optimize your cooling system.

Q: How can I make sure my home’s cooling system is running efficiently?

A: Schedule annual maintenance, change air filters regularly, keep the outdoor unit clean, and seal ductwork leaks. Consider upgrading to an energy-efficient system.

Q: What are some cost-effective ways to cool your home without central air conditioning?

A: Use window units in frequently used rooms, install ceiling fans, apply heat-blocking window films, and create cross ventilation with strategic window placement.

Q: How can I keep myself cool during a heatwave without overworking my air conditioner?

A: Wear loose, light-colored clothing, stay hydrated, take cool showers, use fans, and avoid strenuous activities during the hottest hours.

Q: What home improvements can I make to reduce my cooling energy costs?

A: Add insulation, seal air leaks, install energy-efficient windows, plant shade trees, and upgrade to Energy Star-certified cooling equipment.

Q: Can using a ceiling fan or optimizing my thermostat settings save me money?

A: Yes, using ceiling fans allows you to raise your thermostat to 4°F, saving about 8% on cooling costs. Programmable thermostats can save up to 10% on heating and cooling.