How to Keep Your House Cool In the Summer Without Air Conditioning

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Follow these tips to keep your house cool in the heat of summer without air conditioning – even while you’re canning and preserving the harvest…

The heat of summer has arrived, and sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend all day over a hot stove canning, pickling, and preserving your harvest – especially if you live off-grid or without air conditioning!

So what is a homesteader to do?

When the sweltering days of summer make it feel like you’ll melt away if you have to stir one more kettle of boiling tomatoes, peach preserves, or pickle brine, there are a few things you can do to keep both yourself and your house from feeling like a blazing inferno.

Here are 5 ways to help naturally cool your house in the summer without air conditioning, according to the Pioneering Today podcast:

    1. Block the windows.

      It’s always cooler in the shade and same thing goes for your house, especially on southern exposure windows. Close blinds and curtains in the morning. You may also want to look into black out curtains (we use these in our bedroom).

    2. Plant deciduous trees strategically.

      This one is going to take some time to pay off and needs to be done with thought. I say deciduous because you don’t want an evergreen tree blocking the sunlight in the dead of winter when we actually want the heat of the sun to warm our house (especially true if you have solar panels or plans of going solar in the future). Take care you’re not planting the trees too close to the house where you’ll have the potential for limbs, roots invading the foundation or septic system, and leaves clogging the gutters. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t plant in a spot that would block sunlight to your garden. Most fruits and vegetables require at least 8 hours of full sunlight a day for optimal production.

    3. Open the windows at night.

      Let nature cool off your home for you. As soon as the sun begins to fall behind the horizon, monitor the outside temp with inside and when it’s the same or cooler, open all those windows. In the height of summer we generally open our windows and sliding glass doors at 7:30 pm and leave them open overnight until about 7:30 am the next morning. (We have a guard dog and other home security measures in place).

    4. Cook Outdoors.

      I use our Sun Oven (solar oven) a lot in the summer to put that heat and sunlight to use. Fire up that grill or cook over an open fire. We do a lot of grilling and Dutch oven cooking and baking during the summer months. Not only do we enjoy it, but it keeps the house cool while still allowing me to bake all of our favorite goodies and dishes. This is especially helpful during power outages and a skill set we use all year long.

    5. Create a Summer Kitchen.

      This is an old practice when a separate building was used to cook and preserve foods during the heat of summer. Another variation of this is a dog trot house, where an open breezeway connected two separate one story structures, one side was used for sleeping and main quarters, while usually the other was for cooking and the kitchen.

      We take the same idea here on our homestead and create an outdoor summer kitchen. We have a permanent fire pit for an open fire and to set our Dutch ovens in, with another pit that’s waist high with a grate over it for frying or roasting, with an accompanying long counter next to it. I also use this same area to install an outdoor canning kitchen with a two burner propane stove.


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