How to Cool a Desert House

Being in the desert during summer can be more than uncomfortable. The heat can be exhausting, unrelenting, and in some cases, dangerous for the elderly. In Phoenix, Arizona, The National Weather Service Forecast has recorded the average temperature in July as 98.3 degrees Fahrenheit. The average high for July of 2009 was 109.5 degrees. Yet by taking certain measures you can keep your home cooler and find respite away from the hot sun.

Cool a Desert House
  1. Use an air conditioner. If affordable, an air conditioner is the fastest and most efficient way to keep a house cool. The California Energy Commission recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees while you are home. To cut costs, you can raise the temperature to 85 degrees when you leave the house. Also, keeping the air conditioner shaded allows it to use less energy. This can be accomplished by planting trees to shade it outside.
  2. Invest in ceiling fans or stand fans. Ceiling fans are more effective at reaching a larger area of the room because they are unobstructed. But portable fans are cheaper. These can be bought at any large retail store for less than thirty dollars, at 2010 prices. Placing fans around the house is a more cost efficient way to keeping your house cool in the summer. A bowl of ice in front of a fan can cool you further.
  3. Combat the heat by trying to keep it outside. The Department of Energy recommends keeping windows closed to prevent the outside temperature from entering. Close windows on the south and west sides of your home and cover them with white blinds or curtains to reflect the sun's rays. The reason for closing the south and west sides is because those directions receive the most force from the sun's rays during the day.
  4. Paint your roof. The roof of your home is a large area receiving a lot of heat. Painting your roof white will reflect a significant portion of the sun's rays. If painting is not an option, applying a reflective film to your windows will work well too. These films can be purchased at home improvement stores such as Home Depot.


  • Look for ENERGY STAR labelled appliances when shopping for an air conditioner. These appliances will keep your utility bills lower.
  • Turn off all appliances when you leave the house. Appliances generate heat and raise your utility bill.
  • ENERGY STAR also has windows that keep your house cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter.

About the Author

Alex Brown has been a freelance writer since 2004. His articles appear on various websites. His articles have also previously appeared in "The Daily Campus" and the "Vista Vibe." Brown works as a tutor for high school students in Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Connecticut.

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