You can stay cool without increasing your utility bills or adding to global warming if you employ a little ingenuity and some basic understanding of Science.

Did you know that running just one air conditioner a night for a year can set you back over S$1,000? Cost aside, there is also the impact on the environment. Manufacturing air conditioners requires CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) which depletes the Earth’s protective ozone layer. Powering air conditioners requires burning fossil fuel for energy which releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trap heat and increase the Earth’s temperature.

With soaring temperatures, what alternatives do we have? Well, with a little knowledge of Science and some creativity, you can stay cool at home without switching on your air conditioner. Here are 10 ways.

1. Keep the Sun Out

Pull down the blinds and draw the curtains. When sunlight streams into your home, you create a mini greenhouse effect inside. In fact, about 30% of unwanted heat in the home comes from the windows.

Where to buy:

  • H. M. Curtain offers both ready-made and made-to-order curtains and blinds
  • HM Deco specialises in curtains and blinds (both bamboo and Venetian)
  • J&S Design is a premier window furnishings chain where you will be spoilt for choice when selecting fabrics for your curtains

2. Block Out the Rays

You can go a step further and insulate your windows with heat reflecting window films. They come in clear sheets which you can apply to your windows to reduce glare, heat and the amount of ultraviolet rays entering your home.

Where to buy:

  • DIY shop Home-Fix

3. Get Shady

Leafy plants and shrubs, cleverly placed can provide shade to your home. On sun-facing parts of your house, put up trellises covered with greenery. Plants can cut down the amount of heat exposure by as much as 50% and further cool your home through envirotranspiration (moisture evaporating from the leaves, stems and flowers of plants).

4. Don’t Cross Out Cross Ventilation

Shut your windows in the day but open them at night when the air outside is cooler than the air inside. If you live in a double-storey house, open windows on both levels to create a stack effect – cool air gets pulled down while hot air rises up and out. If you live in a single level home, open the windows on both ends of the house to let air move freely through.

5. Replace Incandescent Bulbs

While they are the cheapest type of bulbs, incandescent bulbs are also the ones that give out the most heat and requires the most electricity. These bulbs generate light by turning the filament within white hot so the heat is part of the package, so to speak. Use LED bulbs instead. They use up less energy, last longer and light up the room without heating it.

Where to buy:

  • Best Tech Furniture Gallery has LED lights in gorgeous designs

6. Be a Cool Fan

The type of fan and where you place it can cool a room more effectively. Fans cool people not spaces so make sure your floor or table fan will blow air to where the most people are likely to be. Corners are your best bet. Tilt your floor or table fan upwards to facilitate air movement (so the hot air that rises is cooled) instead of directing it at people.

Where to buy:

  • Harvey Norman, Courts, Gain City and Best Denki offer a wide selection of floor and table fans

7. Go Counter

Ceiling fans create a draft throughout the room and are favoured for their optimal coverage. Make sure that yours turns counter clockwise. This will push the cool air down. To tell which direction the blades are set, stand beneath the fan and watch. The blades should move from top left then down to the right and back to the top. You should also feel air movement while you are directly under the fan.

Where to buy:

  • Have your pick of ceiling fans at Choong Ying and Best Tech Furniture Gallery

8. Create Your Own Air Conditioner

You can have blasts of ice-cool air blowing at you without an air conditioner. Fill a 1.5 litre PET bottle with 70% water and 10% rock salt, leaving 20% for the water to expand. Freeze the bottle. The salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes to create super cold ice. When you need it, take out the bottle and place it in a bowl to catch any condensation. Aim your fan at the frozen bottles. As the ice melts, the fan will blow the cool air around the bottle at you. The bottles can be frozen and reused.

9. Stay Unplugged

Unplug any appliance or electronics not in use. Even when they are turned off, some of them still draw electricity and the unspent electricity gets turned into heat, making the surroundings warmer.

10. Get Dry

Moist heat is more unbearable than dry heat. Humidity is one of the reasons why you feel hot and sticky in Singapore. To keep humidity at a comfortable 60%, invest in a dehumidifier. Buy one that switches off when it hits the desired humidity to save energy. Use any unwanted water from the dehumidifier to water plants.

Where to buy:

  • Go to Home-Fix for your dehumidifier fix

Sure, the air conditioner is a convenient and cool option but there are other ways that can chill you down at home without upping your electric bills. All you need is a little ingenuity and a little understanding of Science. So, give the 10 tips a try today.


Where to shop:

Best Denki

Best Tech Furniture Gallery

Choong Ying


Gain City

Harvey Norman

H.M. Curtain Pte Ltd

HM Deco


J&S Design