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How to Keep an Old House Cool on Hot Days

by Jessica Nguyen 09/25/2022

Vintage homes are full of charm and character. Unfortunately, if they haven’t had extensive updates, old houses might have poor insulation and other structural issues. While these things may not hinder your ability to live happily in an old house, they can lead to higher utility bills. If you live in an old house without air conditioning, hot weather might be especially difficult. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping an old house cool during the hottest days of the year.

Hang Blackout Curtains

Windows that light up your home are also the leading contributor of indoor heat. However, with older homes the problem may not just be the light but the insulation. Luckily, both things can be mitigated by hanging up blackout curtains. These thick curtains will block the light from coming inside the home and heating it up, but will also help seal the warm air from outside that may sneak in.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Check to see if your ceiling fans are spinning the right direction to deal with hot air. In the summer months, they should spin counter-clockwise in order to move warm air up toward the ceiling and away from the living space. This will also push the cooler air down closer to the ground and make the overall temperature much more comfortable. Typically, you can find a directional switch on the ceiling fan itself or you can use a wall switch if available.

Replace Incandescent Bulbs

Most of the energy from incandescent lightbulbs comes out as heat. If you have built-in fixtures with incandescent lights, you might generate enough unneeded heat to affect the overall temperature in a noticeable way. Check ceiling fixtures, sconces and lamps to investigate what types of bulbs they are using. Swapping out incandescents for LED lightbulbs will save you money and last longer, too.

Open Up at Night

Once the sun goes down and the outside temperature falls, it’s time to open up any doors and windows you can. Let in cool air from outside and promote circulation by making sure you have an open door or window on each directional end of the home. If you don’t have screens for doors or windows, you may install some without damaging the existing molding or walls. To speed up the process, place a box fan in front of an open window or door to blow the outside air in and cool off the home.

You can enjoy the charm and character of a vintage building while still being comfortable in any weather. Try these tips to beat the heat while benefiting from lower energy expenditure at the same time.

About the Author

Jessica Nguyen

"Buy, Sell, Invest with Confidence"

Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate journey or you know exactly what you're looking to do, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you.

  • 2015 Pinnacle Award (Top 3 Agent/Broker in office)
  • 2017 Two Diamond Award at HomeSmart International
  • 2017 Circle of Excellence Top 5% in San Diego County
  • 2018 Diamond Award at HomeSmart International
  • 2018 Circle of Excellence in San Diego County
  • 5 Stars Zillow Agent
  • 2019 Circle of Excellence Top 5% in San Diego County Silver Award
  • 2019 Diamond Award at HomeSmart International