Having a room in your home that you can’t enjoy during the summer months because of unbearable heat can be pretty frustrating. If this room has no windows, frustration can grow as you try to find a way to cool the space.
It can be very frustrating whether it’s your garage, like in my case, or a living room in the middle of your house.
After doing a great deal of research and having several HVAC technicians visit my house, I learned a great deal about the art of cooling a room with no windows.
There are many options. Some options require more effort than others, while others cost more money.
The right choice will depend on the amount of effort and money you are willing to invest.
Simple and Inexpensive Cooling Options
The following options require minimal effort, are budget-friendly, and require only a little creativity and time.
The outside walls and roof of your home can absorb a great deal of heat from the sun’s rays, making it difficult to cool a room. A simple way to avoid this is to block the sun’s rays by creating shade by planting tall shrubbery and trees. You could make an outside sitting area against that wall and cover it with an awning.
Make sure that the room you are trying to cool is clutter-free. Having minimal furniture and clutter will allow for better air circulation.
You might not have considered that the human body also emits a fair amount of heat. Wearing loose, breathable clothing is essential for keeping your body temperature low. Sipping on ice water can also go a long way in lowering your body temperature. It’s also a great way to get those recommended eight glasses of water per day.
Many people often overlook their lights as a source of heat. Incandescent lights emit heat, and switching to LED or CFL lights can reduce heat emission. Changing the type of lightbulbs you use is a simple way to decrease the amount of heat emitted into your room. LED lights will also save energy, and you will save money in the long run. If you don’t want to switch lights, make sure to keep them turned off as much as possible.
In addition to your lights, all electrical devices will also emit heat. Ensure to turn them off when you’re not using them.
Simple Cooling Options (More Expensive)
The following few options will cost a little more and require some installation. Some installations are relatively easy, and you can do them yourself.
Installing a ceiling fan will increase the air circulation in the room.
The fan will move the hot air that naturally rises to the top of the room. Creating a continuous airflow will eliminate the feeling of stale and stagnant air.
Double Fan Method
This method of cooling a room will take some trial and error. Try to aim one fan toward the ceiling to force the hot air down. Then, aim a second fan to push the descending hot air out the door.
You might have to place the fans in several areas before you find the combination that works most effectively for your room. The goal is to create a cycle that pushes the most volume of hot air out the door.
The Swamp Cooler
Depending on how desperate you are for a breath of cool air, the “swamp cooler” might be your answer.
A swamp cooler consists of a fan and a bowl of ice cubes.
If this sounds very “old school,” you’re right. Some of the very first air conditioners worked this way.
As primitive as this might sound, the swamp cooler is an effective way to cool a room. If you decide to give this option a try, please ensure that the bowl you are using to hold your ice is big enough to contain the water when the ice melts. Water and electrical appliances do not mix well together.
Also, consider that you will have to add ice frequently as it melts. If the prospect of going to the freezer several times a day doesn’t excite you, the swamp cooler might not be for you.
Portable Ventless Air Cooler (Also Known as Evaporative Cooler)
The evaporative cooler began as a modification of the swamp cooler.
Add a little technology, and you end up with an air cooler that does not need a vent or a drainage hose. According to Newair, the evaporative cooler has a fan, thick cooling pad(s), and a water reservoir.
The fan draws in hot air from the room, and the cooling pads absorb water from the reservoir. When the hot air comes into contact with the cooling pads, the water evaporates, causing the cooler’s temperature to drop significantly, sometimes as much as 20 degrees. The fan then blows this cool air back into the room.
The convenience of this cooler is one of the major attractions to consumers. Evaporative coolers have no vents or hoses, and they’re portable so that they can go anywhere you need them. Another appealing feature of the evaporative cooler is its air filters significantly improve air quality. Anyone who suffers from allergies or who has respiratory problems will enjoy cooler air as well as cleaner air.
Cost is always a consideration when choosing the right appliances for your home. The evaporative cooler uses much less electricity than the traditional air conditioner. You must ensure you select the correct size cooler for the room you would like to cool.
I recommend that for an average size room of 150 – 250 square feet, you choose a cooler with 6000 BTUs (British thermal units). Larger or smaller evaporative coolers are available, depending on the size of your room.
Pricier Cooling Options (Modifications Required)
The following few options are a little more expensive, and they require modifications to your room. If you have a central HVAC system, the easiest way is to extend your existing ductwork to include the room you wish to cool.
Adding ducting isn’t a straightforward solution, and you’ll need a professional technician to come in and install the ducts. If this is not an option, there are a few other ideas that you can think about, depending on the size of your budget.
Portable Air Conditioner
Portable air conditioners use more electricity than evaporative coolers, but you might find that they work more efficiently. The only downside to an actual air conditioner is that they need to be vented outside. The point of having an air conditioner is to remove the hot air from the room, and in a room with no windows, this becomes a problem.
There is the option of extending the vent hose to a nearby room that has a window, but this might not be the ideal solution. The best option would be to cut a hole through your wall to vent your air conditioner properly. It does not have to be a huge hole, just big enough to fit your exhaust hose.
The vent must be installed correctly so that your air conditioner works as efficiently as it should. Sealing around the vent is extremely important. You don’t want hot air sneaking back into your room and making your air conditioner work much harder than it should.
Through-the-Wall Air Conditioner
As its name implies, a trough-the-wall air conditioner is mounted directly inside your wall.
However, it requires an exterior wall to allow the air conditioner to vent correctly. Through-the-wall air conditioners generally cool much more efficiently than traditional window air conditioners.
They have better fans and more BTUs, allowing them to cool a room much quicker and more efficiently than the window models. Through-the-wall air conditioners also have internal thermostats that enable them to shut themselves off when the room has reached the set temperature allowing for energy and cost savings.
Suppose you are willing to cut a hole in your wall to install an air conditioner. In that case, you may want to consider installing a window instead. Having a window would give you more options as far as portable air conditioning units and give you the luxury of simply opening the window on cool evenings to allow fresh air to flow freely.
Ductless Air Conditioner
These air conditioners, often called mini-splits, have two units. One unit is mounted on an outside wall, connected by a pipe to the external unit called a condenser.
This installation requires minimal modification to your wall since the connecting duct only needs around a 3-inch hole.
Unfortunately, the installation of these units is not for the do-it-yourselfers. Certified technicians are required to ensure safe and proper installation. However, most installers will offer a warranty, which gives you some additional peace of mind.
There are many ways to cool a room with no windows. No one says you can only choose one. You can mix, match, and combine several ways to achieve a comfortable temperature. It also depends on the amount of money you are willing or able to invest. A little innovation and effort can go a long way in achieving your goal.