6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Having an air conditioner is a near-must in climates where months-long heat waves are a summer norm. And with that comes an equally scorching energy bill. Even in regions with gentler climates, homeowners can still experience enough hot days in a row to nearly go mad. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Whether you want to save money by running your air conditioner less or brave the heat without one, here are six ways to cool off without air conditioning.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

SALA Architects

  1. Block the Sun From Reaching Your Windows  Energy-efficient houses depend on well-designed shading systems because the best way to avoid summer heat is by blocking the sun’s rays from ever reaching the windows. It’s a simple concept that we regularly employ with beach umbrellas to protect our skin and carports to shade our cars. Yet when it comes to houses, for some reason people tend to believe that interior drapes are as effective as exterior shading. It’s simply not true.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

The Landing Company

The more shading you can include on the outside, the better. If you can’t afford a new matching set of shutters, consider a simple overhang made with brackets and timber slats to block your windows from the intense summer sun.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Sun Control of Minnesota

Solar-control window films can offer UV protection and reduce the amount of heat gained from solar radiation. Compared with some elaborate shading systems, these could be a less expensive alternative.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

CMB Construction

Even simple and very inexpensive bamboo blinds can block a good portion of sunlight without completely sacrificing daylight.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning
Charles Di Piazza Architecture

I can’t stress enough that the best way to beat the heat is to block the sunlight before it reaches your house. Whether you do that by hanging shades, installing awnings, or even planting trees, the most effective use of the funds in your home-cooling budget is in this first step.

When you’re planting trees for shade (or installing any kind of shading), think about the sun’s path through the sky. It may help you to check out an app called Sun Surveyor (or a similar one) that can help you track the sun’s path and how its rays hit your house.

Sarah Dippold Design

  1. Add Interior Drapes, Blinds, or Shades  Once the heat from the sun’s rays passes through the glass of a window, that heat is in the house and will need to be ventilated to escape. To keep your floors and walls from soaking up that heat from direct rays and emitting it throughout the day, it can help to add another layer of protection between the window and the main thermal mass of your home. Sheer window treatments are a nice way to mitigate direct sun rays to the floor but maintain soft, natural daylight. Plus, white reflects sunlight better than colors.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

MSiegel Design

There are a couple of tricks that you can employ with sheer drapes that you can’t pull off with interior blinds or shades.

My favorite thing to do is throw my sheer drapes in with my laundry the night before a really hot day. (They don’t take up much room, because they are super thin, but you could just as easily dunk them in a bucket of water and ring them out.) I set my machine to finish about the time I get up in the morning, and I put four or five drops of tea tree oil in with the load. When I get up in the morning, I take the drapes directly from the washer (still damp) to the rod and clip them in place. The open windows let the morning breeze pass through the drapes, cooling the air before it reaches me and filling it with the fresh smell of tea tree oil.

By the time the drapes have dried out, it’s about time to shut my windows anyway, before the intense heat of the day starts. You could do the same routine in the evening, but I wouldn’t recommend the washing machine version because of the heat it generates (see No. 4).

Allen Construction

  1. Get the Air Circulating  Air will flow only if it is forced (via a fan of some sort) or if there is a large temperature difference with a neighboring body of air. Night cooling is a great way to naturally decrease the temperature in your house and exchange hot interior air for cooler outdoor air. As I mentioned before, I have my windows open only in the early morning, at night, or late in the evening when it is cooler outside than my ideal temperature indoors. You may need to do some testing to see what works best for you, depending on your climate and the orientation of your house toward the sun. For this to work, there needs to be a substantial difference in temperature between the inside of your house and the outside. Once the outdoor air starts to heat up, I close my windows to try and keep as much of that heat out as possible.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Jette Creative

Ceiling fans and standing fans placed near windows at night can help force air movement when there is no breeze and a small temperature difference. During the day the added air movement from fans can help the perception of heat, which is tied to humidity.

Peter Dolkas

The reason everyone loves misters in the summer is not for the humidity of the water in the air, but for the evaporative cooling effect of water being lifted off the skin. In fact, I always keep a couple of plant misters around the house, hidden near the fans, for a quick spritz as I pass by (our dog loves it too).

Another evaporative cooling tip, borrowed from history, is to set a big chunk of ice (or ice packs) in front of a fan with a tray underneath to catch the water as it melts. It makes for a really cheap and fairly effective DIY air conditioner for small rooms. I recommend closing off the space as much as possible, so you don’t lose that great cool air.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Adams + Beasley Associates

  1. Turn Off Major Appliances During the Day  To help maintain those cooler temperatures during the day, reduce anything that generates heat in your house or apartment. For example, don’t use the dryer or oven and try not to open the fridge too often. The more you open it, the more the motor has to work to cool it down again, and the heat generated from that work will be released back into your apartment.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Steve Masley Consulting and Design

Try fresh summer salads to avoid using your oven and stovetop.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Kasha Paris

  1. Transition Your Bed Into Summer Mode  I don’t know about you, but I feel summer heat the most when I’m trying to sleep. Reduce the amount of bedding you have and stick to natural fabrics like linen or 100 percent cotton. Synthetic blends don’t breathe enough to release all the heat we generate during the night.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Michael McKinley and Associates, LLC

Sleep on the porch or balcony. “Outdoor sleeping has come to stay, so let us recognize the fact and build our houses accordingly.” This declaration appeared in the magazine Decorative Homes of Moderate Costs in 1921, responding to the widespread fad of sleeping on screened porches. Sleeping al fresco was considered, in the time of diseases like tuberculosis, to be a reasonable health measure. As such, for many years, sleeping porches were an integral part of home designs.

Depending on your home or apartment and security concerns, you may have a little exterior screened-in space that can be used like a sleeping porch. You could have a little daybed with light linens for nights when it’s comfortable enough to sleep in the open air.

6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning

Phi Builders + Architects

Or, hey, forgo the linens altogether and sleep in a hammock for the summer!

Beckwith Interiors

  1. Stay Hydrated  Everyone knows that staying hydrated in summer is extremely important. But did you know that drinking water also helps regulate your body temperature?

by Mariana Pickering  July 27, 2022, Houzz Contributor; Owner/CEO of Emu Building Science; LEED AP BD+C. After spending many years as an architectural designer in the high-efficiency residential Italian market, I now run a company that specializes in advanced construction science and Passive House design. We are located in Denver, Colorado, and Northern Italy, and we work internationally with builders, designers, and manufacturers of high-performance projects and products.

Premier Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

For high-end home design, build, and remodeling in the greater Phoenix area that reflects your vision, Homework Remodels will help you love your home again. Start your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or email steve@trilitebuilders.com to discuss your remodeling project.  We offer no-obligation in-home consultation. Our NARI-certified award-winning designers and craftsman are eager to work with you to make your vision for your home a reality!  See our portfolio here.

Find more informative blogs and articles on HOUZZ and on our website www.trilitebuilders.com

Pros Share 6 Must-Have Kitchen Design Features

Design and remodeling pros recommend focusing on these must-have kitchen design features to create a functional and stylish kitchen

Countless decisions go into designing a beautiful and functional kitchen — so many that it’s hard to know what to focus on. We asked several design and remodeling professionals what they consider the must-have kitchen design features, and the following elements came up again and again. Give these areas adequate attention when planning a kitchen and you’re almost guaranteed to end up with a space that makes you happy.

must-have kitchen design features

Stonington Cabinetry and Designs

1. The Right Storage

Your kitchen cabinets make up the bulk of what you see in your kitchen, so your choice of cabinet color and style is a major, consequential decision. But the components inside your cabinets are equally important, if not more.

Your storage solutions determine how functional your kitchen is. When you’re at the peak of cooking a large meal, you care less about the look of your cabinets and more about the ease of grabbing the right tools, spices, pots, and other supplies.

A kitchen designer will often take an inventory of all the utensils, dishes, small appliances, and pantry items in your kitchen to figure out the right storage components for you. Pullouts, rollouts, and swing-outs will efficiently organize your stuff and make things easier to find and grab.

“When budget allows, we always, always recommend drawers or pullout shelves on the lower cabinet level,” designer Lisa Janzen of KC Interior Design says. “There is nothing worse than having to get on your hands and knees to see what is shoved to the back on your bottom shelves. Drawers make it so much easier to access and more efficient use of space.”

The New York kitchen shown here by Stonington Cabinetry & Designs is a good example of how hard your kitchen cabinets can work for you.

must-have kitchen design features

Yancy Interiors + Home, LLC

“I always recommend custom cabinetry with pullouts, built-in cutting boards, etc. to keep the jumble of everyday life to a minimum,” designer Yancy Dearinger Bonner of Yancy Interiors + Home says. She included a pullout cutting board next to the range in the kitchen shown here.

must-have kitchen design features

Innovative Construction, Inc.

must-have kitchen design features

BSW Design

2.  Hardworking Sink

Designers often recommend giving extra consideration to elements that you interact with the most. In a kitchen, that can be a lot of things, but the kitchen sink is one area that always sees a lot of action. So it makes sense to put a little more effort into designing the sink area and choosing components. These days, many sink manufacturers offer designs called workstations, which feature add-ons such as cutting boards, strainers, and prep bowls. “I always recommend a sink with gadgets,” designer Brittany Steptoe-Wright of BSW Design says. “For example, the sink in this project [shown here] is a single, large under-mount sink, but it has a colander, cutting board, and drying rack that sit inside on a small lip and provide so much function. It’s a game changer.”

must-have kitchen design features

Kitchen Design Gallery

The Galley Workstation shown here is a popular hardworking sink that includes several inserts for prepping and cleaning.

must-have kitchen design features

KE Interior Solutions

3.  Layered Lighting

Different tasks in a kitchen call for different kinds of lighting. Cooking at the stove, chopping vegetables, washing dishes, chatting with friends, doing homework, displaying collectibles — these all require a specific light source. “I recommend layers of lighting and multiple fixtures to cover every area,” designer Debbie Turner of Debbie Cahill Turner Design says. This might include recessed ceiling lights for ambient light, spotlights to illuminate important work areas like the sink and range, pendant lights to light an island or peninsula, and windows to let in natural light during the day. Designer Donna McMahon of KE Interior Solutions used a layered lighting approach in her own kitchen in Denver, shown here. Several recessed ceiling lights provide overall lighting, while undercabinet lights help with cooking tasks. McMahon even installed light strips below the base cabinets to create ambient lighting at night.

must-have kitchen design features

Ourso Designs

This New Orleans kitchen by Ourso Designs is another example of good lighting design. There are recessed ceiling cans, a pendant over the sink, pendants over the island, under cabinet lighting, and sconces over the floating shelves flanking the range hood.

must-have kitchen design features

Stonington Cabinetry & Designs

Of course, you shouldn’t forget to factor in natural lighting whenever possible. Architect Chris Dorman of Dorman Associates recommends that homeowners consider reducing the number of upper cabinets if needed to allow room for more windows to bring in natural light. “The kitchen is a place where people can spend hours, so maximizing natural light is key,” he says.

must-have kitchen design features

Wills Design Associates

4.  Island   

Perhaps no design feature in recent memory has changed kitchen design more than the island. Indeed, it’s hard to deny the benefit of a kitchen island. It adds an extra countertop surface and storage and creates a spot for conversation, homework, and meals. It can be a location for a cooktop, a dishwasher, or a prep sink, and it often provides that crucial touch point that completes an efficient work triangle. An island is a must-have kitchen feature for builder Kenneth Keating of Camlin Custom Homes. “A large kitchen island is a fantastic gathering place in any open-plan kitchen and gives the homeowner a flexible space to use for dining, entertaining, or cooking,” he says.

must-have kitchen design features

SV Design

An island is also a favorite feature for designer Tina Rodda of Eyder Curated Kitchens. “My must-have amenity is a workstation on the island for food prep and serving and a large butcher block at the end for carving and serving fabulous roasts,” she says.

This Boston kitchen by SV Design shows an example.

must-have kitchen design features

BASCO Builder’s Appliance Supply Company

5. Quality Cooking Appliances 

A kitchen is meant for cooking. And your range — or cooktop and oven — will be the most important component for cooking meals. Think about how often you interact with a range and how its function affects the quality of your meals and the ease with which you create them. That’s why many pros suggest you don’t skimp on quality when it comes to selecting a range and other cooking appliances. Designer Karen Parks of Associate Interiors puts a lot of focus on selecting high-quality ovens and cooktops. Shown here is the GE Cafe series.

must-have kitchen design features

Dorman Associates, Inc.

“I think that having a good stove is critical,” architect Dorman says. He used a Monogram Pro range in this Northern California kitchen.

must-have kitchen design features

Julia Chasman Design

Designer Julia Chasman makes vintage stoves a key component in her kitchen designs. For her own kitchen, shown here, she used a vintage O’Keefe & Merritt stove built in 1952 that provides function and style. “I have often used vintage stoves in homes of different eras,” she says. “They require some extra love and care. This one needed to be converted for use with propane gas as well, but the amount of charm and warmth they provide is incalculable. I also find them to be excellent stoves to cook on — perfect for cooking meat. It’s become one of my signature looks, and when I’m asked to source a vintage stove I know exactly what to look for to find one that will continue to serve its owners well for another 25 or 30 years.”

must-have kitchen design features

Julie Rootes Interiors

6.  Custom Vent Hood 

A ventilation hood removes cooking odors, steam, and grease from the air in your kitchen. But because the appliance sits at or just above eye level, it’s also an important visual element in the space. Many designers take it as an opportunity to create a stylish focal point, and going custom is often the way to go.“I am a big fan of a custom metal hood,” says designer Julie Rootes of Julie Rootes Interiors, who used a custom hood in the San Francisco kitchen shown here. “There are so many details you can pull in. It is one of the most important features of an elevated kitchen design. It’s like the jewelry of the kitchen.”

must-have kitchen design features

Heritage Homes of Jacksonville

Designer Jason Ulm of Heritage Homes of Jacksonville created the custom maple hood shown here in a kitchen in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Arched molding coordinates with the arched mullions on the cabinet doors to create an alluring focal point.

Written by Mitchell Parker, Houzz Editorial Staff. Home design journalist writing about cool spaces, innovative trends, breaking news, industry analysis, and humor.

 

Premier Home Remodeling in the Greater Phoenix Area

For high-end home design, build, and remodeling in the greater Phoenix area that reflects your vision, Homework Remodels will help you love your home again. Start your project by calling us at (480) 895-3442 or email steve@trilitebuilders.com to discuss your remodeling project.  We offer no-obligation in-home consultation. Our NARI-certified award-winning designers and craftsman are eager to work with you to make your vision for your home a reality!  See our portfolio here.

Find more informative blogs and articles on HOUZZ and on our website www.trilitebuilders.com

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