How to make fan cooler?

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I was pulling into my driveway the other day when the DJ came on the radio and announced that her air conditioning in her home had gone out right in the middle of a heat wave.

But to make matters worse, the repair company couldn’t make it out to her home for almost 3 weeks because of the number of broken air conditioners they had on their schedule.

Which led me to think, how did people once live without air conditioning? But also, how would my family keep our home cool?

See, in our new home, we don’t have the typical HVAC unit which can create a challenge of keeping our home cool enough during really hot temperatures, but we also don’t have a very high electric bill either.

So this is a tradeoff I’m willing to handle, but by a number of people calling into the radio station, keeping our homes cool when the air-conditioning is on the fritz (or there is none at all) is a challenge we all seem to face at one time or another.

How to Cool Down a Room

Here are a few tips to help you beat the heat and keep your home cooler when the air conditioning is not working well enough or has gone out completely:

1. Close the Windows

When the air-conditioning is on the fritz you should keep the sun from coming through your windows. If you use blinds, they can help you with this tremendously.

But you’ll need to keep the blinds closed. Some people roll them up to keep the sunlight pointing up and out of your home. While other people close them downward because it creates a darker atmosphere. This is really a personal choice of which you think works better.

2. Close the Doors

You would be amazed at how much heat travels through your doors. Even if you have a screen or storm door in place.

Basically, light can equate to heat. So you need to keep your home dark and the doors closed up tight to keep that excess heat out of your home.

3. Ice and a Fan

This is an old school trick that people once used years ago when most people did not have air conditioning. They would put ice in a large bowl.

Then they’d place that bowl in a location where the fan would blow across it. This creates a cool, misty breeze that feels great on hot days.

4. Cotton Sheets on the Bed

When we moved into our new home, not having a traditional HVAC unit took some getting used to. I was accustomed to having a house that was too cold, not too warm.

But the first thing I did to make my bedroom a little more comfortable was rolling back my comforter at night and made sure we used only cotton sheets. Cotton breathes where other materials don’t and this can cause your nights to be a lot hotter.

5. Use Those Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a tremendous help in keeping your home cool enough. They keep the air moving constantly which obviously cools your home down.

But be sure that the fans are rotating counter-clockwise during warm weather. This helps your house cool better.

6. Focus on You

Sometimes when you can’t get the room temperature down, you can still get your body temperature down. You can do this by consuming cold beverages, applying a cool cloth to your neck or wrist area, and by putting on cooler (and breathable) clothing.

But also try freezing 2-liter bottles with water in them. Then place them under your feet. I do this to keep us and our rabbits cool. If it will help keep a warm-blooded rabbit cool, it should help you as well.

7. Use Your Exhaust Fans

Most people have exhaust fans in both their bathrooms and their kitchen. If you have them, then use them.

Basically, the way they can pull steam out of your home when cooking, they can pull heat out of your home too.

8. Whole House Fans are Amazing

Until we were home shopping, I had never seen a whole house fan. They are mainly in older homes, but after seeing one in use, I really want one in our home.

Basically, it is this vent (usually in a hallway) that you turn a knob, the vent opens, and the fan comes on. It then sucks all of the hot air out of your home. Here are some of the benefits of a whole house fan if you are interested.

9. Open Your Windows Strategically

In our old house, it stayed pretty cool, but I paid a high price for it when the electric bills came. Every summer I’d declare war on my electrical bill and would try different things to lower it and keep our home cool naturally.

So one of the things I did was to strategically open our windows. I’m an early riser, and I’m up when it is still cool outside in the mornings. So I’d open up the windows in the morning to cool the house down, then shut them when it got warm outside. That way at least our home would be at a decent temperature in the mornings.

10. Energy Efficient Bulbs

Regular light bulbs are not energy efficient, but they produce another problem as well. They radiate a lot of excess heat when they are producing energy.

Which obviously causes a problem if you have no air conditioning because it is just compounding the problem of heat. So switch to energy efficient bulbs. They don’t produce as much heat.

11. Cook Strategically

My mother-in-law taught me this tip on keeping your home cool when the temperatures outside heat up. You’ll want to either cook with your stove in the morning when it is still cooler outside or stop cooking with your stove.

But you can still cook by using other methods. You can use your crock pot, Instant Pot, your grill, a rocket stove, or cook outside to still have delicious meals without heating up your home,

12. Add Some Permanent Shade

If your home has no protection from the sun, then it will continue to beat directly down on top of it. This is a problem because it means your house will be super hot.

But you can fix this by adding awnings to your windows, covered porches which will help provide some shade, and even adding shade trees. The less the sun can directly hit your windows, the better off you will be, and the cooler you’ll stay.

13. Freeze Your Sheets and PJ’s

I read an article once that told all about how people once stayed cool before air conditioning. They did a lot of interesting things, like actually building their homes in a way that helped them stay cool.

But they also did basic things that we can do today regardless of how our homes are built. They would freeze their sheets and pajamas. It may sound crazy, but they knew the cooler their body temperatures stayed, the more comfortable they would be.

14. Freeze a Hot Water Bottle

This may sound backward, but the same way you can fill up a hot water bottle to help with aches and pains, you can also fill it with ice or cold water and freeze it.

Then you simply place it in the bed with you at your feet to keep you cool. This is a good option because of the material the bottle is made from. It won’t sweat and create a mess in your bed. But it will also take it longer to lose its coldness too.

15. Strategically Place Your Box Fans

A lot of people will pull out the box fans when the air conditioning goes out. This is a good idea, but there is a strategic way to use them.

You’ll want to place them in a window, but point them facing out of the windows. This will pull the hot air out of your home and blow it out of the windows. In turn, making your home cooler.

16. Sleep with a Wet Sheet

This may sound odd, but you can make a sheet or towel damp with cold water. You’ll then place it over you to keep you cool at night when you sleep.

But be sure to put a towel under you so it doesn’t cause your mattress to be damaged in the process. Remember, the cooler you stay, most likely the better sleep you’ll get.

17. Loose and Less

When it comes to summertime, hot weather, and no air conditioning it is important to remember two words: loose and less.

Basically, this means that you want to sleep in loose cotton pajamas that will actually breathe while you sleep. But also, you want to sleep in less. Go for shorts instead of pants, and a tank top instead of a full blown sleep shirt.

18. Create a Cross Breeze

Did you know that you can actually create your own cross breeze right inside your home? Well, you can with the use of box fans.

So all you’ll need to do is to place a box fan across from an open window. This will create a really nice cross breeze to cool your home down.

19. Use Your Pulse Points

If you can apply something cool to your pulse points your body temperature will drop much faster. Your pulse points are areas located on your wrists, neck, elbows, ankles, behind the knees, feet, and groin area.

So place an ice pack or damp cloth on any of those areas to help lower your body temperature and keep yourself cooler.

20. Sleep Solo

This may not work for everyone, but if you can stand to be apart from your loved one, then this will definitely help you to keep cooler.

Basically, body heat creates more warmth, which creates for a higher temperature. If you can sleep sprawled out and by yourself, then you’ll stay cooler.

21. Suspend Your Bed

If you are able to sleep in a bed that is above the ground, then you can have air flow all the way around you.

So if you have a cot or a hammock that you can sleep comfortably in or on, then this might be a good option while your air conditioning is out.

22. Stay Hydrated

If you notice, a lot of these tips are to help you while you are sleeping because that is a really difficult time to stay cool and our bodies sweat so much trying to keep our body temperatures lower.

So it is important to drink plenty of water before bed so you don’t become dehydrated by all of the sweating.

23. Take a Cold Shower

I was never a fan of a cold shower until it became really miserable in our bathroom to take a super hot shower (like what I once did.)

Now, colder showers feel wonderful. Just remember not to come in from being in really high temperatures and take a cold shower. This can cause you to potentially have a heart attack. So use good judgment.

24. Sleep in the Basement

If you don’t have a basement, then you’ll want to sleep in the lowest level of your house when the temps are hot and your air-conditioner is on the fritz.

So if you didn’t know, heat rises which mean if you sleep on the lowest level of your home, then the heat will rise above you, and you’ll stay cooler.

25. Put a Wet Sheet to Use

We talked about sleeping with a wet sheet over you, but you can use a wet sheet in a different form as well.

So you’ll want to wet a sheet with cold water, and then hang it over an open window. A breeze will blow through the wet sheet and create coolness in your home.

26. Cold Feet

Your feet have all kinds of pulse points on them, and so do your ankles. You’ll want to be sure to wash your feet first so you don’t create muddy water.

But once they are clean, place your feet in a bucket or bowl of ice water. This will help cool your core temperature down.

27. Try Out a Bamboo Mat

If you don’t have a way to sleep suspended to create air flow, then try subbing out your mattress for a bamboo mat.

Now, I know a bamboo mat is less comfortable than your mattress. But you also have to remember that it won’t hold heat like a thick cotton mattress will. Or you can purchase this mat to go over your mattress.

28. Ditch the Electronics

If you’ve ever touched an electronic after it has been on for a while, then you know how hot they can become.

So when your electronics are not in use, unplug them. This will help put a halt to excess heat being formed inside your home.

29. Rice

If you need a way to cool down but don’t have an ice pack or a hot water bottle, don’t fret. You can actually create your own.

So you’ll need to place rice inside a sock. Then you freeze it for at least an hour. After it is frozen, you’ll have a great little homemade ice pack.

30. Buckwheat

Did you know that buckwheat could be used for more than making really awesome pancakes?

Well, it can! In fact, you can use it to stuff your pillow when you are trying to stay cooler. The buckwheat will not absorb heat like other items used to stuff pillows.

31. Cover Your Doors and Windows

I know we discussed closing the doors and your blinds, but there are extra steps you can take. When my sister-in-law found out I was declaring war on my electric bill she passed this tip along to me.

She told me to use towels and blankets to cover my windows. Then roll up towels and place them at the bottom part of the door on the floor to keep heat from coming in and cold air from escaping. Your home feels like a dark cave, but it definitely helped in our situation.

32. Window Units

My mother-in-law never had HVAC in her home. She always used window units. They worked wonderfully if you used some of these other tips to keep the heat out.

Plus, they were cheaper to repair or replace. So if you’d like to have some type of air conditioning, but don’t want to spend a fortune, then consider adding a few of these to your home.

33. Ductless HVAC

This is what we have in our new home. It is a much less expensive alternative to the typical HVAC units. It is much more energy efficient as well (according to my electric bills.)

Basically, the ductless HVAC sucks in air from outside and transforms it into cool air or heat. It has a thermostat in the home to let it know how much to blow. However, you have to use fans to transfer the air through the home because there are no vents in the house at all.

Well, you now have over 30 different options to keep yourself and your home cool during the summer when you have no air conditioning.

As mentioned, some of these ideas can even be used to help you lower your cooling bill this summer. If you can keep your home naturally cool, then your air conditioner won’t have to work as much.

But I’d like to know how you keep your home and family cool during the summer. Please share your tips with us because I’m sure there are a lot of people that will utilize them in the future.

Just leave us your comments in the space provided below.

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When it’s hot and sticky, there’s nothing better than a gust of air. That’s why Argos sold 92,000 fans in one day at the end of June, and John Lewis sales of fans are up by 1000%!

But with temperatures excelling 30C, and the average British house not equipped with air-con, it’s a tough job for any fan. Instead of just dumping it in front of your bed at night, try these tips to crank up its cooling power:

Crosswind creation:
Get hot air out and cool air in by creating a crosswind. First, keep your windows, doors and blinds shut during the day to avoid hot sun beating down into your house. Then, during the evening, open your windows and place one fan facing out of your window, so it pushes the heat out. Use a second fan, placed inwards, to circulate cool air into the room.

MORE: YOUR SUMMER BBQ PROBLEMS SORTED!

DIY air-con
Use a bucket of ice placed in front of a fan as a homemade AC unit. As the air passes over the ice it will be chilled and will circulate refreshingly-cold air around the room.

Alternatively, the method favoured by the GHI’s consumer director is freezing an empty 4 pint or 1 litre plastic bottle, placing it on a tray and covering with a damp cloth. Position it in front of the fan so the breeze is cooled from the iced bottle and your room benefits from the cooler temperature.

MORE: ELECTRICAL WARNINGS YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE

Keep it quiet
Feel like you have to decide between cool but noisy, sleepless nights, or melting temperatures but blissful silence? QuietMark recommends the Dyson Cool Desk (249.99) and their Cool Tower Fan (£399) for quiet cooling. Or they also rate the MeacoFan Air Circulator (£99.99) as a cheaper option.

As summer starts to sizzle and temperatures continue to rise, our homes can offer little refuge from the oppressive heat and humidity. Sure, running the air conditioner—if you have one—will make you feel more comfortable, but at a price: It’s not unusual for homeowners to see their electric bill double—or even triple—during the summer.

So, I thought here are five effective and affordable ways to keep your home cooler this summer, without having to rely on a central air-conditioning system or window A/C units.

No. 1: Window Logic

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This may seem obvious, but the very best way to keep your home cool is to block the sun’s solar heat before it enters your home. And here’s how: In the morning, shut all the windows that face east and south; be sure to draw the curtains and lower the blinds, too. And then open all the windows on the west and north side of the house. That will help block out the sun, yet still allow fresh, cooler morning air to enter rooms.

Now, in the late-afternoon when the outside temperature drops below the temperature inside your home, reverse the morning routine: Open the windows on the east and south sides of the house, and close the west- and north-facing windows. This is important because once the outside temperature drops, all the solar heat that was absorbed by your home during the day will be released into the air.

No. 2: Overhead Insulation

Most everyone knows that a properly insulated house is critical to maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures all year round. However, you might not realize that the very most important place to install insulation is in your attic floor.

According to the Insulation Institute, if you live in the south, you should have about 14 inches of insulation covering your attic floor, and about 18 inches of insulation if you live in the north. And the reason attic insulation is so important in the summer is that it prevents hot attic air from warming the rooms below, which can keep the whole house cooler and more comfortable.

The easiest DIY way to increase the depth of attic insulation is to simply lay unfaced batts of fiberglass or mineral wool insulation right on top of—but perpendicular to—the existing attic insulation.

No. 3: Fantastic Ideas

Caroline Vamnes / EyeEmGetty Images

Ceiling fans are surprisingly effective in keeping rooms cool, and they use only about one tenth of the electricity of a typical air conditioner. And a breeze of just one mph will make you feel three to four degrees cooler and here’s why: Unlike air conditioners, fans cool people not the room air. Just check to be sure the fan is blowing air down; some models have a “winter” setting that reverses the blade rotation to blow upward.

Hunter Fan 90406 12 Hunter Fan Company amazon.com $72.44 Insulated Whole House Fan Tamarack Technologies, Inc. $605.00 115V Portable Air Conditioner LG $629.00 Cool Connect Smart Window Air Conditioner Frigidaire

And if you don’t have ceiling fans, try using portable box fans, which can make rooms feel more comfortable even during the hottest stretches of sultry weather. The most effective use of portable fans is to wait until the early evening, and then place one or two fans in east- or south-facing windows; be sure the fans are blowing air into the house. Then, place a couple of fans in windows facing west or north, so that they’re blowing out. That setup will quickly cool things down by exhausting hot, stale air out of the house.

No. 4: A Whole Home Solution

A whole-house fan provides one of the quickest, most efficient ways to exhaust hot, humid air from a house. A standard-size whole-house fan consists of two electrically driven fans set in a metal frame. There are louvers beneath the fans and a hinged insulated cover above them. The unit is usually installed in the ceiling of a stairwell or hallway.

To quickly cool down your house, especially in the evening, simply open several windows and flip on the fan. In a matter of minutes, the two powerful fans will draw hot air from each room and blow it into the attic where it’ll eventually flow outside through vents in the home’s soffits, ridge or gable end.

No. 5: Forego the Oven

There’s no surer way to make a kitchen unbearably hot than by a turning on the oven. So, when the dogs days of summer come, cook meals outdoors on the grill, use a microwave or crock pot, or even a toaster oven, which produces much less heat—and uses less electricity—than a full-size oven. If you must use the oven, wait until the late evening or very early morning, when the house is coolest.

And remember, most municipal electric companies will perform a free in-depth energy audit of your home, which can help you discover other ways to conserve energy, save money, and keep cooler this summer.

Bonus: Okay, Maybe You’ll Need an A/C

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Listen, with the planet warming on average, there are going to be blistering days when even the most cooling-conscious consumers will need to resort to some A/C relief. Here’s a list of our favorite window A/Cs, our favorite portable A/Cs (which trades energy-saving for convenience), and a guide to get your central air unit running a peak efficiency.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Window Fans

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Air conditioning is responsible for as much as one third of the electricity consumed in summer. These are energy-thirsty appliances, and energy ain’t cheap. That’s precisely why, instead of blasting the AC continuously, many switch to window fans when possible.

Though powerless against humidity, fans are much cheaper to run and on many warm-but-not-miserable days, they can make you considerably more comfortable. No, there isn’t really a wrong way to use a fan; any breeze helps. But these tips can help you use fans more effectively, reducing your reliance on air conditioning and lowering your summertime utility bills.

Here’s the key: To maximize air movement in the home, you need both in-blowing and out-blowing window fans. These are not the oscillating fans you might place on a desk or bedside table. If you do not own and would rather not buy a specially designed window fan (view an example on Amazon), a standard box fan (view an example on Amazon) does the trick—but you’ve got to set the unit securely into the window opening.

At minimum, you need two window fans: one whose blades are drawing air into the home, another whose blades are pushing air out. It’s not rocket science, but it is basic building science. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind as you plan and tweak your fan strategy.

Photo: .com

DO

Strength in Numbers. The more window fans you have working, the better. Aim to set up an equal number of in- and out-blowing fans. If you have an odd number, configure the extra one to pull air in. That creates a slight positive pressure indoors that may help discourage bugs from entering the space.

Prime Placement. Position inward-blowing fans on the shady side of your house, outward-blowing fans on the sunny side. Do this no matter how many stories your house is. But if there are multiple floors, the ground-level fans should pull air in, while the upper-level fans should push rising warm air out.

Size Matters. If you have a choice, always opt for the largest-size fans that can fit in your windows. Whether by fabric window treatments or panels of plywood, try to block the open-air cavities on either side of the fan unit (specially designed window fans come with integrated seals for this exact purpose).

The Stack Effect. Leverage what’s known as the stack effect. After sunset, set the ground-level fans to bring in cool night air, while trusting the upper-story fans to expel warm air. In the morning, when the house is at its coolest, remove the fans and shut the windows. The insulation in most modern houses can retain cool air for hours. Once the sun sets, re-open the windows and start your fans up again.

DON’T

The Nose Knows. Avoid situating in-blowing fans near waste bins or parking areas (your driveway included). That way, you won’t invite in unpleasant odors and toxic exhaust fumes.

Ups and Downs. Cooling with fans can lead to wide fluctuations in temperature, and in some cases such extremes can damage antique furniture or musical instruments made of wood. To be on the safe side, closely monitor items like this for signs of a problem.

There are always going to be days when air conditioning strikes you, not so much as an optional luxury, but more like a bare necessity. On other days, though, you may be able to get by just fine with the help of window fans, particularly if you position them strategically throughout your home. Stay cool out there!

The amazing ceiling fan trick you’re not using

Taylor Martin/CNET

Your ceiling fan is something you generally regard as something that is either on — and set to one of the three or so speeds — or off. It moves the air around your house to keep it from feeling too stagnant or to help cool you off without running your air conditioning too much in the summer.

What you may not have known, however, is that you can control the direction in which the fan rotates, which completely changes how the fan works. Here’s how and why you should change your ceiling fan direction.

Now playing: Watch this: The fanciest thing in the CNET Smart Home? The fans 2:22

Which direction should your fan run?

Just below the blades on your ceiling fan’s motor housing, you should see a switch. If you turn the fan off and flip this switch, the fan will reverse direction. This is so you can alter how the fan works at different times of the year.

If your fan has a remote, it might have a button to reverse the direction of the fan blades on the remote.

Summer

In the summer, the fan is meant to cool, so you’ll want it to push air down. This forces the airflow to hit you directly, causing a cooling, wind chill effect. For this to happen, the fan should be rotating in a counter-clockwise direction.

To check this, stand underneath the fan and check which way the fan blades are rotating. If they are rotating clockwise, turn the fan off, wait for it to stop spinning and flip the switch.

Winter

In the winter, you likely don’t want cold air blowing on you. A downward draft from a ceiling fan can make you feel up to 8 degrees cooler.

When you want a warming effect, you should switch the direction of the fan to clockwise. Instead of pushing cool air down, it pulls it up, which forces the warm air near the ceiling (remember, heat rises) back down.

For this, the fan should be rotating clockwise. Stand underneath to check the direction. If it’s rotating the wrong way, turn the fan off and flip the switch.

To be fair, this trick doesn’t specifically have to be used in the summer or winter. If you ever want to make a room feel warmer or cooler, reversing the direction of the fan will allow you to make small changes to the apparent temperature without relying so much on your expensive air conditioner or furnace.

Where to Put Your Fans for Maximum Effectiveness

July 16, 2018

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Summer is here, and that means heat. Whether it is caused by the sun or the sticky humidity, you can expect warmth as a near-constant companion over the next few months. On one hand, this weather is amazing because it means pool time, beach, or lakeside afternoons, and lots of days with the windows open. On the other hand, few people enjoy being too hot. Using a fan in your home can increase air circulation and help make your home feel cooler. When used with the air conditioner on a lower setting, fans swiftly move cold air room to room and help save on energy bills. Before buying a new fan for summer, read the following tips to ensure your fan will be used for maximum effectiveness.

Start with a Game Plan

Buying a new fan for warmer weather? Decide before you buy what you need from a fan, and where it will go in your space. Fans come in many shapes and sizes, meaning that it isn’t a one-model-fits-all mentality. Before you purchase a fan, take a moment to look at your room. How big is it? How tall is the ceiling? How many windows are there? Where do you want to set the fan – on the floor, in a window, or mounted on a wall? All of these factors can influence which fan you purchase. Spaces like living rooms, family rooms, and dens may benefit from a tower fan, pedestal fan, wall-mount fan, bladeless fan, or an air circulator fan. Bedrooms tend to be smaller, and have a variety of options (visit Choosing the Right Fan for Your Bedroom for more info.) There are multiple fans that can suit your needs, and placement is just as important as fan type or size. (For more info on the best types for hot weather, visit 5 Types of Fans to Use in Your Home This Summer.) Knowing where you want to place your fan can inform the fan you buy.

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Go for the Cold: High Ceilings Need a Powerful Fan

A basic science lesson is that cold air is naturally heavier than warm, meaning it will sink to the area near the floor while the hot air occupies the higher space. If you have a room with no breeze, this is how the temperature will settle 100 percent of the time. The good news, however, is that even cold air is relatively light and easily influenced by outside sources. Placing a fan in a room will disrupt that balance and can force the cooler air to go where you want it to be. However, fan placement matters. Place your fan so that it faces the opposite wall from where most of the activity takes place in your space. This approach will drive the air to the surface, where it will bounce off, mingling with the rest of the air and cooling the space. Ideally, if lower temperatures are your main goal, you may want to choose a fan that’s lower to the ground so that it scoops up all that refreshing chilliness along the way.

Place Your Fan in a Window

There’s nothing like a fresh breeze, but opening up a window for fresh air when it’s hot outside can be anything but pleasant. Too much heat, too many bugs, and too much noise can ruin the effect. A box fan or a window fan solves the problem. A box fan (like the Weather-Shield® Select 20″ Box Fan with Thermostat) can be used on the floor or in a window. Positioning the fan in a window circulates fresh air faster, and cools down the intense heat of a room. The quiet settings create a gentle white noise that can drown out street noise, and circulated air discourages bugs. Box fans with Weather-Shield® can be used rain or shine; these fans come with an isolated fan motor that protects from rainy weather. (Although it is recommended you move the box fan from the window during heavy rains and winds, since the wind can blow water into electrical components and damage your fan.) Window fans work even better at circulating fresh air from outside. Fans like the 16″ Window Fan with E-Z-Dial Ventilation

fit securely and tightly in the open window, keeping all bugs outside where they belong. A twin fan, like the Electrically Reversible Twin Window Fan with Remote Control, can simultaneously pull fresh air in while pushing out stale air, creating circulating air that’s crisp and clean.

Keep an Open Airway

The furniture in your space will help in determining where you should put your fan. Placing a table fan or a window fan will depend on the room’s décor and arrangement. Table fans will need a clean flat surface close to an electrical outlet to operate. If the cord of the fan impedes walkways or causes a tripping hazard, it’s not the right placement. Window fans should not be blocked by furniture, and cannot help circulate air if a sofa or curtains are in the way. Always point fans away from tables or desks with loose papers or light objects; picking up a mini-tornado of paperwork isn’t relaxing. Fans are most effective when they have an unobstructed pathway in front of their blades. A wall-mount fan is placed high above any air obstacles. Many come with a tilt-head feature (like the 12″ Oscillating Wall-Mount Fan with Anti-Rust Grills and the Air Flexor® Remote Control High Velocity Fan) so that the force of the fan can be pointed in the direction where it is most needed. Do your best to give your fan this path so that it may carry the air farther, increasing its effectiveness in your house.

Comfortable Living News … brought to you by Lasko Products, LLC, leaders in innovative, quality, high-performance home comfort products at a great value.

A question on Hacker News came to Quartz’ attention last week. A user asked, assuming that the inside of a room is about 30°C (86°F) and the outside is less than 20°C (68°F), “Do I place the fan so that it blows air inwards or outwards?” The lively discussion that followed inspired us to try to find an actual answer.

In this case, let’s assume that the question is about people trying to be comfortable (as opposed to keeping computers or other technology working, which is a direction the Hacker News discussion went). At 30°C, even in dry heat, it’s fair to assume that anyone would be sweating. Sweating, of course, is the wonderful thermal adaptation evolution has bequeathed us: We humans are the best at it on the planet, capable of secreting water and salts from glands all over our bodies in order to cool down. But much more comfortable is to use technology to avoid heating up in the first place.

In this case, you want to get the air in the room blowing on you. “The sensation of ”—that is to say, air blowing over you—”improves thermal comfort in a cooling situation,” says Andrew Persily, an engineer focused on indoor-air quality at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

When sweat evaporates into the air, it takes heat with it, he says, and we feel cooler. Even if we’re not sweating noticeably, our bodies are constantly generating small amounts of moisture to cool off. Air that moves over our bodies in any way—wind, an air conditioner, a fan—speeds up that evaporation process, making us feel cooler. (Obviously, there’s a limit, he says: if the air speed is too high, it can just be uncomfortable.)

Should a window fan blow into the room, or out of the room?

Fans blow air directionally, and take in air from behind them. The other way of thinking about how a fan can cool off a room, Persily says, is through heat removal. You could presumably place a fan so it blows out a window as a means of removing heat from the room. However, this only works if the hot room is connected to a cool hallway. By sucking out the hot air from the room, the negative pressure would pull in more air from wherever it could; assuming (as in this scenario) that the temperature outside is lower than inside, you may get some cooler air seeping in through the window, but majority of the air the fan would pull in would likely be from adjacent rooms or hallways.

Plus, fans, like any electronic device, generate heat as they run. If the fan’s power supply is in the room (which, if the fan is battery-powered or plugged into an outlet in the room, it is), it may be adding ever so slightly to the already stifling temperature, although likely not to the point where anyone would notice.

Ultimately, in this scenario, the best way to keep the room feeling cool is to open the window and put a fan in it facing the interior. The cooler air from outside would be blowing onto sweaty bodies, helping them evaporate sweat even faster.

How to maximize a fan on a hot summer day

If we change the scenario, and imagine, say, a warm home on a hot summer day, the answer changes a bit. In this case, the inside of the room is likely already cooler than the outside. Again, assuming the main concern is to keep bodies in the room cool, the most important factor to consider is how air movement may help sweat evaporation.

If there’s a breeze outside, opening the window would allow that breeze in, which would help with sweat evaporation and cool people down. However, wind is not usually constant, and you may end up letting out some of the room’s cooler air. One way to maintain more constant air movement is to combine an air conditioner and a fan. If you’ve got an air conditioner in one room (like your living room) and trying to circulate it to another (like your bedroom), ideally you’d put a fan in between the two rooms with the air blowing into the warmer one, Persily says.

In the absence of an air conditioner, it’s best to place a fan in a position so that it’s blowing on the people in the room, but with the window shut.

“ don’t cool the room; they cool the body because there’s more air movement,” says Persily. And specifically because they’re not cooling the room, it’s useless to leave them on when no one is occupying the space. In that case, the fan motor may actually just be adding to the heat in the room.

If nothing else, remember: cooling off isn’t necessarily about the temperature alone. Sometimes, all you need is a little air movement.

Illustration: Fruzsina Kuhári

Now that summer has officially started and the temperatures (and humidity) are getting up there, a lot of people are trying to stay cool. Sure, some can just turn on their air conditioning, but not everyone has that option. And even if you do, you might be looking to save some money on your electric bill or are worried about the environmental impact. So here are a few suggestions for staying cool, even without AC:

Take a cold bath or shower

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Taking a cold shower is probably more common (more on that later), but there’s something great about drawing a cool bath and lounging in your own private mini-swimming pool, conveniently located in your home. Start by getting your hair wet—you don’t necessarily have to full-on wash it, but getting your head cooled off first will feel good if you’re really hot.

Don’t be afraid to linger in the bath. You can even make an afternoon (or evening) out of it, bringing a beverage and a book with you and hanging out in the refreshing waters until you cool down.

Use peppermint soap or body scrub during your shower

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If you want to take your cold shower experience to the next level, you may want to invest in some peppermint products. You can’t go wrong with Dr. Brommer’s peppermint soap, as we’ve pointed out before.

Another option is making your own body scrub by combining Epsom salt, coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint oil. Slather that on and scrub. It’ll leave you silky smooth and the cooling feeling of the peppermint oil lasts longer than the shower.

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Drink lots of water

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No one likes sitting around being hot and sweaty and gross, and the first step to mitigating that is simple: Keep your body temperature down. And the most effective way to do that is to stuff your body full of cooling foods and fluids—way more effective than applying cold things to your exterior (which we’ll get to later.) We’ve talked about how much water you should really drink and busted some hydration myths, so feel comfortable drinking as much as you need to keep the heat at bay.

The CDC says you should think of your body as an air conditioner—so keep your water bottles topped off with chilled water. If you don’t think you have time—or don’t love the taste of water—there are plenty of ways to trick yourself into drinking more.

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Mix up your frozen treats

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Water isn’t the only cold thing you can stuff in your maw when things get a little too toasty. Crush some ice and make yourself a tasty slushie—they’re actually proven to boost your endurance on those super hot days, especially if you need to exercise, or think you might need to go outdoors.

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If you’re trying to get a little protein in your diet, try these protein-packed popsicle recipes to cool off and get the nutrition you need to hit your fitness goals. Either way, don’t limit yourself to just ice water, it gets boring—mix it up and try other delicious, icy, chilled treats that’ll also help you stay cool. Just try to stick to the treats that are more ice than cream, if you know what I mean.

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Build a fan fortress

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Fans don’t so much “cool” the air as they keep air moving around, which, as it moves over your skin and helps your sweat evaporate, makes you feel cooler than you would be if the air were still. Now that you know that, set up your fans in windows or hallways so you get an awesome cross breeze, drawing in cooler air from one part of your home (or outside) and pushing the warm air elsewhere. Think of your house or your room as a PC with a hot processor in it that needs airflow, and set up your fans accordingly.

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If you have ceiling fans, make sure to set them up to optimal cooling, and if you’re really enterprising, you can build your own temperature controller to toggle the fans on and off automatically depending on the temperature in your home.

Roll a DIY air conditioner (that actually works)

If you don’t have an AC or can’t have one (you live in a dorm, or you’re renting a room, for example), you can roll your own air conditioner to keep things cool. You just need to know which ones actually work, because they aren’t all effective, and you need to set your expectations accordingly.

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If you’re thinking you can throw together a DIY air conditioner and suddenly make your whole room cooler, you’ll be disappointed. You can, however, make yourself cooler if you sit next to it for a while after it’s been running.

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Make smart use of your fridge or freezer

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Your next biggest ally in the fight against heat is probably quietly running in your kitchen: your fridge and freezer. We’re not saying you should open it up and try to keep cool in front of it (that’s actually a terrible idea), but you should put it to good use while it’s running.

For example, make a little room inside for a couple of wet washcloths, or maybe a top sheet or fitted sheet. Your body will thank you when it’s time to get into bed at night. Stick with light, breathable linens as well—summer heat is not the time to try and snuggle under a heavy fleece blanket.

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Similarly, you could try the old “Egyptian Method,” which we’ve mentioned before. It works like this:

This old technique calls back to legends of how ancient Egyptians used to stay cool on hot nights. Simply soak a sheet or blanket large enough to cover you in cold water, then wring it dry so it’s damp and cool, but not dripping wet. Then just use it as a blanket. As the water evaporates, you get the benefit of staying cool but not wet.

There are a few more common variations on this theme, like the cold washcloth or ice pack on your head or wrists while you sleep, or going to bed with cool, damp (but again, not wet) socks on to keep your feet cool and you comfortable enough to fall asleep.

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Then, of course, you can stick clothing items in the freezer — like underwear or that shirt you’re going to wear tomorrow — for an extra burst of freshness as you’re getting dressed. This can be especially helpful for times when you get out of the shower and immediately start sweating.

Whatever you do, make sure to get your fridge or freezer involved. They can help you—and your stuff—stay cool.

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Invest in a Whole House Fan

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If you have the between $150 and $1250 necessary for a whole house fan, you could probably pick up an air conditioner—even a portable one—for the same amount. However, where the whole house fan wins is in ongoing energy costs. They’re much cheaper to operate than AC units, and of course, if you don’t live in a climate where you’d need an AC all the time, it might be a good option for those few weeks or months when it gets unbearably hot.

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Whole house fans have their pros and cons though. They can be really efficient and affordable to operate, and they’re even easy to install, but they obviously don’t dehumidify, and they can’t cool your home inside any lower than the temperature outdoors. They also move a lot of air and dust around your home, so they can make allergies worse, which is worth keeping in mind.

Keep the sun out, but let the heat out too

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One of the best ways to make sure your home stays cool in the summer is to keep the sun out and give the hot air somewhere to go. We mentioned that you should make sure your fans are set up for optimal cooling, but you should also consider some heat blocking curtains, whether they look natural, they’re the super futuristic type, or just something nice and heavy you keep closed when the sun comes up and the temperatures outside rise.

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Then, once the temps have peaked and it starts to get a little cooler outside, open those curtains and let the warm air out. It wants somewhere to go—preferably somewhere there’s a higher volume of cool air, and you get to benefit from thermodynamics in action. Cool air comes in, warm air goes out, and everybody’s happy. Just make sure to close those curtains again before it warms up again.

Get a cooling pillow or sheet set

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If you do have a little money to spend, a pillow or sheet set that’s designed to keep you cool can be a huge help when it’s hot outside (and inside.) We’ve covered a few, including the $22.99 Chillow and the previously mentioned $150 Technogel Pillow. We’ve also highlighted the $79 HIBR Pillow, which I still love and use today.

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In the sheet department, you can check out the $179 Sheex “Arctic Aire” bedsheets, which also promise to keep you nice and cool while you sleep. If those are beyond your budget, sticking with a classic cotton percale sheet is a great way to go. Target has a lot of great affordable options. Whatever you choose though, you have options to stay nice and cool, especially in bed, even when it’s hot both inside and out.

Learn Your Body’s Cooling Spots

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Whether you’re buying specialty sheets and pillows, or just tossing your own washcloths into the freezer, it’ll help you to know your body’s best cooling spots—draping a cool washcloth over your neck or wrists will help bring your body temperature down faster than trying to lay one over your forehead, even if it feels good to do so. This way you can target those cold compresses, damp towels, or ice packs so they’re as effective as possible.

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Get damp (and naked)

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Speaking of compresses and ice packs, never underestimate the power of getting naked, and getting just slightly damp. Combine a little naked dampness with a fan or a DIY air conditioner that you’re sitting next to, and you have a recipe for a relaxing retreat.

The key here is, of course, to make sure that it’s not too humid, or else you won’t get that lovely evaporative effect as you dry off under a fan, or as that damp towel on your head slowly dries. A quick cold shower and an afternoon with the curtains drawn and the fans in the house going—and maybe a few glasses of cold water and some slushies—and there’s no doubt you’ll be able to maintain your chill.

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This story was originally published on 6/25/16 and was updated on 6/25/19 to provide more thorough and current information.

Can’t sleep because of the heat? Try this clever fan trick

David Unwin/STUFF PNCC Eco Design Adviser Nelson Lebo gives tips about how to cool the house down at night.

This story was first published in February 2016. With the country about to experience record temperatures it’s a tip that may be worth trying.

People tired of battling the heat to get a good night’s sleep could take a tip from Palmerston North eco design adviser Nelson Lebo – turn the fan around.

Point it out the window to blow the hot air out, and open a window on the shady side of the house to draw the cool air in.

Murray Wilson/ Fairfax NZ Palmerston North’s John Hornblow took the advice of eco design adviser Nelson Lebo about how to cool the house down at night, and it worked.

“It really is the best, low-cost, highly effective technique to keep a home cool, but it is virtually unknown in New Zealand,” Lebo said.
He said people should set up the fan as soon as the outdoor temperature dropped lower than that in the house.

* How to keep the house cool
* 12 ways to keep your body cool on hot nights
* Paddling pool shortage forces DIY cool-downs

He recently consulted John and Jenny Hornblow about what they could do to relieve the upstairs heat in their Palmerston North home.

DAIVD UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ PNCC Eco Design Adviser Nelson Lebo about how to cool the house down at night.

As a start, he picked up the fan they had directed toward the bed, took it to another room, and pointed it out the window. A single open window in their room set up the through draft.
“It’s brilliant,” Hornblow said. “It dropped the temperature in our room significantly.
“We had a comfortable night’s sleep because we were getting the outdoor temperature in our room, not just circulating warm air. And it cost about 10c to have the fan running.”

Lebo said turning the fan around seemed counterintuitive to most people.

While it was true that air movement gave the illusion of cooling the skin, the fan was not cooling the air or drawing cool air into the house if used that way.

In a variation of fan theme, Lebo said sceptics could carry out a simple experiment.

After sunset, close the windows, except for one in the bedroom, and turn on the bathroom extractor fan.

“You will get the best night’s sleep ever.”

The theory was the same, whether it was using the kitchen extractor to remove cooking heat and smells, the bathroom fan to take away steamy air, or the fan in the window. Hot air out, cool air in.

The next trick was to delay the house from heating up during the day.

“Treat your house like a chilly bin.”

Having brought the cool night air in, try to keep it there. Keep doors and windows closed, otherwise hot air comes in. And close the curtains against the sun — on the east-facing windows in the morning, and on the west once the sun moves around.

The role of curtains reversed in summer. Instead of keeping warm air in at night, they should be used in the day to keep the heat out. Curtains long enough to sit on the floor actually worked.

Lebo said people put up a range of objections to his advice, and it was up to different families in different houses how to balance comfort against other priorities.

Open windows could mean inviting flying insects in, but screens were not expensive or difficult to install.

Security concerns could be overcome with safety catches.

And if teenagers wanted to close their doors and miss out on the cool draft, there should be a no whingeing rule.

However, cross ventilation could be achieved in any room that had two windows.

Lebo said basic fans were not expensive, and his own model made less noise than the fridge and freezer motors.

Keep cool tips:

* Turn the fan around to blow hot air out the window.

* Open a window on the cool side of the house to allow cool air in.

* Close doors and windows during the day to keep the heat out.

* Draw curtains to keep the sun out.

* Leave curtains not needed for privacy open at night to allow hot air to escape.

* Have your next curtains made to sit right down on the floor.

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5 Easy DIY Air Conditioners to Keep You Cool This Summer

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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You’re melting and you need to cool down. Your air conditioning is on the blink, or else you don’t have any (perhaps you live in the UK), and no way to deal with this ridiculous heat.

So, what can you do? The solution is simple: build your own air conditioner! Sounds too complicated? You’re about to find that it’s far easier than you think.

The following DIY air conditioner projects demonstrate how easy it can be to cool down your home and beat the heat this summer. It’s just one of the cool DIY automation projects 9 DIY Smart Home Automation Projects for a Shoestring Budget 9 DIY Smart Home Automation Projects for a Shoestring Budget DIY smart home devices can cheap with the right projects and instructions. These nine examples show you how. Read More you should try.

1. A Fan and a Tray of Ice

Okay, so there isn’t a great amount of DIY about this, but it is where the majority of DIY air conditioning projects begin: a fan, and some ice. Rather than blowing air around a room with a fan, it blows cool air.

Here, the ice is on a tray, in the form of cubes from your freezer. The fan is angled down slightly, and the air is cooled as it passes over the ice. But how well does this work?

Having given this a go myself, it has a few flaws. First, the ice cubes melt far quicker than a larger block ice, so you’re going to find you need an inexhaustible supply of ice. Second, a faster fan gives better results than a slower one.

Third, oscillation isn’t possible without missing the ice (unless you have a very long tray).

2. Plastic Soda Bottle

Here’s a slightly better alternative, and not too different to an project I’ve tried myself (see below). In this video, small soda bottles are strapped to the back of a fan using cable ties.

Inside the bottles, which have been peppered with holes thanks to a soldering iron, is the ice. Air is drawn through the bottles by the fan, and the air cooled by the ice.

This is a great low-budget air cooling conditioning solution, one that you can put together in just a few minutes! Check out the best soldering irons The 9 Best Soldering Irons for Beginners The 9 Best Soldering Irons for Beginners If you have an interest in electronics, you’ll need a soldering iron. Here are the best soldering irons for you. Read More to get started with it.

Or Use an Ice Block

Along similar lines, you could also use an ice block, the type often found in cool boxes. I tried this, using cable ties to attach a plastic net bag to the back of the fan. Into this, I slotted the ice block, and enjoyed around 30 minutes of cool air.

It’s a useful alternative that doesn’t have the problem of dripping water (which you might have when using soda bottles).

3. Cool Box Air Conditioner

Now this is an impressive build. Working with the same basic components (a fan, some ice, and a container), this cool box-based DIY air conditioner features some drainpipe tubing as an outlet.

Here, two circles are cut into the lid of the cool box. One of these is big enough to fit the fan, which is placed face-down into the box. The other is for the outlet pipe. In the box, which would normally store food or drink, is a massive piece of ice (although we expect you’d probably start off with a load of ice cubes).

When switched on, air is drawn in by the fan, cooled by the ice, and pushed out of the cool box to chill your room!

Note: A search of YouTube can reveal several variations on this project, all of which are worth checking out.

4. Convert Your Fan Into an Air Conditioner

So far we’ve only looked at projects requiring a fan and some ice. For a more authentic air conditioned experience, however, you can adapt your fan with some 1/4-inch copper tubing.

Mounted on the front of the fan cage, the tubing is then pumped with cold water using a fountain pump. The water runs through vinyl tubing first, then into the copper tubing, and back to the pump, with cooling (perhaps via a bag of ice) taking place along the way.

Although somewhat more complicated than the other projects listed here, it appears the results are good.

5. Pond Pump-Powered Swamp Cooler

Eschewing the need for a fan, this build employs a pond pump and some evaporative cooler pad. Pinned up with a wooden frame, the builder of this project claims that it can reduce the temperature indoors by over 20F.

Evaporative cooling is the process by which the temperature is reduced via the evaporation of liquid. It’s basically how sweating works, removing heat from the surface of the skin. Also found in industrial cooling systems, this DIY evaporative cooling project should cost under $100.

Admittedly, this is the most complex project listed here, and again it requires a source of cool (although not cooled) water.

Other Ways to Stay Cool This Summer

Hot weather doesn’t make it easy to do much, other than lay around watching TV, reading, or topping up your tan (plenty of sunblock, please, and only for short periods).

A DIY air conditioner project should be enough to help you stay cool. While it might not work as a long-term solution, it should work as a stopgap when your air conditioner is down.

However, if a DIY air conditioner unit isn’t working out, or you need something more, try some additional ways to keep cool:

  • Take a cold shower/bath: When things get unbearable, this is always a good option.
  • Schedule your windows: Keep them shut when it’s hot during the day, but open at night to let cool air in. When you shut them in the morning, that cool air should be trapped for a few hours.
  • Power down unnecessary electrics: Computers, TVs, even clothes dryers, should be switched off. They all contribute to the amount of heat in your home, which isn’t useful in such hot weather.

Meanwhile, if you’re reading this article because you feel your air conditioner isn’t cooling well enough, be sure to check our post on common air conditioner mistakes to avoid 11 Air Conditioner Blunders to Avoid on Hot Summer Days 11 Air Conditioner Blunders to Avoid on Hot Summer Days Using your air conditioner as effectively as possible? Try these great tips and tricks to keep cool while saving energy and money. Read More . For more DIY, check out fun DIY Bluetooth upgrades 7 Cool Bluetooth DIY Projects That’ll Upgrade Your Old Gadgets 7 Cool Bluetooth DIY Projects That’ll Upgrade Your Old Gadgets With a little bit of DIY elbow grease, you can turn a boring leftover device into something magical with Bluetooth connectivity. Read More .

desertsun02 / YouTube

If you told me I could convert an old cooler into a full-blown air conditioner, I’m not sure I would believe you. It seems too good to be true!

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Well, for once, it isn’t too good to be true. It’s an easy and cheap DIY that actually works, and it’ll solve all the problems this heat is causing.

If that isn’t enticing enough as is, you’ll never believe how little you actually need to make this. You barely need anything! Here are your supplies:

  • ice chest (hard-sided or styrofoam)
  • PVC pipe
  • small fan
  • ice
  • small solar panel (optional), or another power source, such as a battery or automobile cigarette plug

The only “negative” thing about this cooler is the ice, which will melt after 5-10 hours. The best part? You can refreeze that water and use it all over again. Easy!

This cooler works best in semi-dry or dry climates because drier air cools down easier and faster than humid air, but once it works, it truly works.

The DIY air conditioner produces 42 degree F air in an 80 degree F room! You get all of the amazing cooling power you’d get from a super expensive A/C unit for cheap.

Check out the video below by desertsun02 and give this DIY a shot yourself. With how hot it’s been lately, it’s the perfect DIY for this time of year!

There’s no need to boil alive in your house anymore. Anyone can have an air conditioner. You can even use a styrofoam cooler to make this DIY even cheaper.

Have a great rest of your summer, and keep cool as best you can. This oughta help!

desertsun02 / YouTube

I think we can all agree that one of the greatest inventions of all time is most definitely air conditioning! There’s simply nothing better than coming home on a sweltering day, turning the switch on the thermostat, and enjoying that icy cool breeze!

Unfortunately, it’s a luxury that we can’t necessarily indulge in all of the time. Besides the fact that blasting the air conditioning can result in some pretty hefty utility bills, it is also not the most environmentally-friendly way to beat the heat.

That’s why we’re sharing a tip with you today that will turn any ordinary fan into a super chilly air conditioning dupe. The best part of this DIY is that it’s completely portable—it works great at kids’ sporting events, backyard barbecues, and even the office.

Get started on making your own supercharged fan by first gathering together your necessary materials. For this A/C hack, you will need:

  • Two 16-to-20-ounce plastic bottles
  • Precision knife
  • Handheld tapered reamer (or drill bit made to cut through plastic)
  • Medium-sized fan
  • Thin metal wire
  • Pliers
  • Ice cubes

Once you have everything in order, simply follow these instructions:

  1. Grab your precision knife and carefully circle it around about 150-degrees, roughly 1-inch up from the base of the bottle. Be sure that you don’t cut the entire bottom off! A small piece of plastic should still be keeping the lower part attached.
  2. Take your handheld tapered reamer, or drill bit made for plastic, and hold it up to a warming device. Once hot, start drilling small holes into the sides of the bottle, starting from just above the base cut, all the way up to the mid-section. Each hole should be about one quarter-inch apart from the next.
  3. Repeat steps one and two with the second plastic bottle.
  4. Secure your bottles on either side of your fan by twisting the metal wire through any holes at the base area and ridged portion, just below the cap. Each of the bottles should be upside down, with the top facing the floor. Fasten the end of the wire with pliers, if necessary. WEAREX
  5. Load ice cubes into your plastic bottles from the opening in each base. Don’t stop until each one is filled to the very top!
  6. Once complete, turn on the fan, and delight in that icy cool air!

This project provides a great temporary solution, but if you’re looking for an air conditioner that says cold for hours, be sure to check out this tutorial on the long-lasting copper air cooler.

Now, as we said, this DIY certainly is easy, but we suggest that you watch the video closely before just diving right in. To see the ice cold results for yourself, be sure to below!

What do you think of this DIY air conditioner? Have you tried this project yourself? Do you have any hacks for staying cool in the summertime? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!