How to cool a house on a tight budget

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Cooling a home on a tight budget can be a challenge, but it’s definitely possible, even in financially difficult times. Cooling a home on a tight budget is something I know about as I’ve been living it for the past several years.

My backyard used to have a huge oak tree that kept us cool, its shade preventing the house from getting overly hot. Unfortunately, it had to be cut down. After that, the back part of the house became a nightmare, baking anyone who dared to live in those rooms. Out of necessity, I had to learn to cool a home on a tight budget.

The first thing to do is weatherstrip and insulate your home, including doors and windows. If you’re low income, utilize services from utility companies. Many of them will get your home up to date for free. This is a benefit for both cooling and heating a home.

One of the best ways for cooling a home is to have efficient windows. If your tight budget doesn’t allow for weather-efficient windows in your entire home, choose two windows with a cross wind to replace in the room you spend the most time in. Having two windows work together allows air to be pulled through the room, versus air just sitting and stagnating.

Those on a tight budget should consider installing ceiling fans. Cooling a home is much easier with ceiling fans that forces air to circulate. There’s nothing worse than sticky air hovering over you, so use fans to get that air moving, cooling you and your home.

Try window tints. These films are placed over the outside of your windows. They aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but they inexpensively get the job done.

Solar sunscreens are awesome. They come in 70 to the optimum 90 degrees of protection. It’s the size of the spaces between the threading that makes the difference. Sunscreens eliminate a few degrees of heat and are far less expensive than windows.

If a tight budget means no budget, cooling a home is possible in a number of ways.

Open two windows that have a good cross wind between them. In one window, place a portable fan facing inside and turn it on. In the other window, place a portable fan facing outside and turn it on. The first fan will pull cool air in, while the second fan will force hot air out. This works great for earlier in the day before it really heats up, or later in the evening when it has cooled down outside.

Place a wet towel or rag over your portable fan to cool the air. Be careful of using this option if you’re near electronics and computers as condensation from wet materials can hurt your equipment.

One of my favorite ways for cooling a home, and myself, is to keep a spray bottle of cold water nearby. A sprits of water in front of the fan does wonders. I recommend dabbing your head with water, or even spraying your entire body. You can remain cool a long time by doing this.

Another hint for cooling a home on a tight budget is to keep the blinds shut. It may be a little dark inside, but it will keep the cool from the night in and the heat from the sun out. If you need light, use a blanket to cover up part of your windows, so that you’re only letting in a small amount of heat.

Still another trick is to use cold bags or wet towels. Place them around your neck as you’re relaxing, or on your lap or feet while sitting.

On days when it’s so hot that cooling a home means turning on your A/C, close the vents to the rooms that aren’t being used. That will help direct the cold air to rooms where you are living; in doing so, you won’t need to keep the A/C on as much.

Cooling a home on a tight budget is doable. A big part of it is keeping yourself cool; hopefully, the above suggestions have given you a few ideas that you can use to survive the cruel heat of the summertime.


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