As the summer heat sets in, the thought of living without air conditioning can be frightening. But keeping cool without constant cool air blowing is actually not as hard as it sounds. Here are 5 top tips for staying cool without relying on AC, and making sure you stay comfortable and safe.

 1. Block out the sun

One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your home cool without AC is to keep the sun out during the hottest parts of the day. Use blinds, curtains, or shades, especially on windows facing east and west. If you can use blackout curtains or reflective window panels, those work even better than regular window coverings. Keeping the sunlight out will keep the indoor temp significantly lower.

 2. Use a strong fan base

Fans are a great way to keep air moving and create a cooling breeze. Put box fans in windows to pull in cooler air from outside during the evening and early morning hours.

Here’s a fun fact: did you know that ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise in the summer? That creates a downdraft, so the cool air from the fan reaches you most effectively. (In the winter, the opposite is true so you’ll want to run your fan clockwise!) For an extra chill, put a bowl of ice in front of a fan for a swamp-cooler effect; it’ll blow the cool air from the ice into the room.

 3. Lighten your bedding

Use breathable, lightweight bedding during the summer so you don’t get too hot while you sleep. Fabrics like cotton or bamboo are good choices because they let air through and they’re good at wicking away sweat. You can also try chilling your sheets in the freezer for a few minutes before bedtime in a plastic bag for some refreshing, cool sheets when you first hit the hay.

 4. How low can you go?

We all know heat rises, so the coolest part of your house will be the lowest point. If you live in a multi-story home, try to spend more time on the lower floors. If you have a basement, make it a summer retreat—the air will be cool down there!

 5. Stay hydrated and keep your body cool

Keeping hydrated is the most important thing you can do to stay cool. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and keep a spray bottle nearby to mist yourself when you need a quick cool down. You can also use wet washcloths on your neck or wrists, or take a cool shower or bath to drop your body temperature quickly.