With many parts of the country experiencing record-breaking
Insulate and seal your home to help keep it cool. This is the single, most important step you can take to keep your house cool in the sweltering summer months. A properly insulated home won't be subject to large, daily temperature swings and your cooling system will operate much more efficiently.
If you don't have an air conditioner, get one. A used window air conditioner placed in a bedroom window can make the difference between a restful night's sleep and a miserable, sweat-soaked nightmare. A portable air conditioner that can be moved from room to room is also a good option to provide zone cooling.
Keep your blinds and shades closed to keep the heat and light out. Hang reflective window coverings like infrared curtains or drapes if you don't have blinds or shades. Do this in all your rooms, not just in rooms with south-facing windows. Heat isn't just visible light, it's infrared radiation and reflecting this will keep the outdoor heat from transferring into your home.
If you're having problems keeping your house cool in extreme heat, consider closing off rooms to the reduce the amount of cubic feet your cooling system needs to cool. Spare bedrooms, utility rooms and other unused rooms don't need to be kept cool. Closing them off will keep the living and working areas of your home cooler and more comfortable.
Don't use heat-generating appliances when it's hot. Hang your laundry out to dry or in a well-ventilated garage instead of drying your clothes in a clothes dryer. Eat chilled foods like salads, melons and fruits and keep your oven and other cooking gadgets turned off. Replacing your incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs will also reduce the amount of heat your home produces.
Consider installing a whole house fan. If you don't mind a little noise and don't have allergy problems, a whole house fan can be a good investment. By pulling in cooler outdoor air and exhausting warmer indoor air quickly, a whole house fan can aid in keeping your house cool and comfortable.