Welcome to The Cool Down, Hunker's definitive guide for staying cool, calm, and collected all summer long.
If there's one negative about the summer, it's the oppressive heat — especially if you don't have air conditioning at home. But don't worry, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on an A/C unit (or thousands of dollars on central air) to keep cool! Here are six cooling hacks we found on TikTok to help you beat the heat.
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1. Put ice in front of a fan.
2. Build your own mini A/C unit.
This is the same concept as the ice fan, but taken to the next level. For this hack, you need a fan, styrofoam cooler, and one or two dryer vents. Cut a hole in the lid of the cooler to fit the face of the fan as it's pointing down (or, as @homestoriesatoz shows, you can create some sort of funnel that connects the fan to the cooler). Then cut a smaller hole or two off to the side to fit the dryer vents. Put ice in the cooler, turn the fan on, and you've got a portable A/C unit!
3. Cover your windows with blackout curtains, towels, or even aluminum foil.
The sun is your enemy in the heat, so cover up your windows to block out its warmth. Blackout curtains are the most aesthetically pleasing fix, but as @reasonablyparanoid points out, you can also use thicker linens like towels or blankets to the same effect. Another extremely effective method is to use aluminum foil to reflect the sunlight away from the interior of your house — just make sure the shiny side is facing out.
4. Make sure your ceiling fan is blowing in the right direction.
Fans spin in two directions — clockwise and counterclockwise — and each direction is designed for a different season. In the summer, you want your fan spinning counterclockwise, as it blows air down onto you. When it spins clockwise, it creates an updraft, which is better for evenly distributing heat through the room in the winter. As @stephanieboothrealtor shows, there's a little switch on every fan that allows you to change the direction of the spinning.
5. Create a cooling fort.
All you need is a sheet and a fan to create this little cooling fort. Fold your sheet in half, clamp down the two open sides to the right and left, and position your fan in front of the remaining open side. When you turn on the fan, the sheet will balloon into a wind tunnel. User @heyjjwolf used their cooling fort to keep their dog comfortable, but you or your kids can also crawl in!
6. Use tubing to redirect the cold air from your AC.
If you do have an A/C unit, but only in one room of your house, you can create your own HVAC system of sorts to share the
love cold air. User @bluedanube2019 shows you how. Simply tape poly tubing to your AC, unroll it until it reaches your desired destination, and leave the far end open. Cold air will travel through the tubing to cool off a distant room.
Stefanie is a New York–based writer and editor. She has served on the editorial staffs of Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, before setting out on her own as a freelancer. Her beats include architecture, design, art, travel, science, and history, and her words have appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Popular Science, Mental Floss, Galerie, Jetsetter, and History.com, among others. In another life, she'd be a real estate broker since she loves searching for apartments and homes.