How to Keep Cool Without Cranking on the AC

Finally we have come across some great weather here in the Pacific NW.  We haven’t had a lot of super long stretches of heat, so that helps cooling the house without using the AC.

It’s funny, I have always done this and it seems easy and makes sense, but my husband just can’t seem to figure it out.  I open up the house in the evening when everything has finally cooled off.  Because our house is a 2 story I have windows that I can leave open all night long without fear of anyone getting in.

When I get up in the morning I can have the house cooled to about 66-70 degrees.  I have the whole house closed back up by 9-10am.  As soon as the sun starts coming in the windows I close blinds and curtains.  I follow the sun all day.  Right now my dining room curtains are closed and in about an hour I will open up my dining room curtains for light and then close my living room curtains before the afternoon sun starts to beat in.

With the days getting as hot as 80 degrees or more I can go the whole day without running AC, as long as I keep on top of the opening and closing of the windows.  I am so frugal that I don’t mind following the sun around all day.  I would rather not have a huge AC bill.

By the end of the day my house will get around 75-78 degrees.  One other tip that I learned years ago was running your AC at 78 degrees instead of 75 saves a ton of money.  So, if I can keep my house at 75-78 degrees it makes me happy, because I wouldn’t be turning on the AC anyways.

What are some of your tricks for keeping your house cool?  Do you do it because you don’t have AC or because, like me, you don’t like having an AC bill?


  1. We do the same as you do, close the windows and blinds during the day as the sun comes over and open everything again at night. We forgot to do this the first hot day last week and really heated up the house!

  2. We do that in March, when the days are around 80º. Sometimes weget to do that in April, too, but usually by April we turn on the a/c. It only cools off to 104º outside in the middle of the night here, and it’s around 116º during the day, so going without a/c is not something you want to do here (we had ours break 2 summers in a row, and it was 99º inside the house when the a/c didn’t work. At that point the window joints come apart and the kitchen and bathroom cabinets come apart).

    Something that helps us is to be certain to turn off the ceiling fans in the rooms that we are not in. We used to run all of the fans in the house, but that isn’t neccessary. By doing that one little thing, we saved $150 in amonth off our electric bill. (Electric bills here can run $600-$1000 a month for 5-7 months of the year because of the heat).

    But as far as opening the wndows if it’s cooler where you are–you can also open the windows in the morning. This also helps to air out the house as well, making the whole house smell fresher.

  3. We spent a few years in Arizona, so I know what you mean. You have those few short months that you can actually pull it off, but never for the whole summer. Here in Oregon I think people are surprised at how hot it can get and how many homes actually do have AC. It is a must, even if for a short time. I just put it off as long as possible.
    Thanks for the tip on ceiling fans. It’s amazing how much you can save from something so little.

  4. My air conditioner died a few weeks ago so we’ve been doing the same thing with the windows/curtains. I have to admit, I prefer the air conditioner…

  5. This is what I should be doing, but I love to have fresh air from the fans all day long, so I keep the windows open anyway. My husband never minds the heat anyway. It’s in the 80s here and no A/C. I love ceiling fans and am sad this rental doesn’t have them. Maybe we’ll try shutting the windows one day and see what difference it makes.


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