• Youth Energy Squad

How to Keep Your House Cool When It’s Hot & How to Keep Your House Warm When It’ cool




Context: We have all been spending more time at home than usual since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. When the pandemic started, it was still technically wintertime and temperatures were often below freezing. Now, it is June and summer is less than a week away. While it has been cool out for the past few days, intense heat will be returning by the end of this week, and will likely be here to stay for the summer. Learning to keep our homes cool when it’s hot out, and warm when it’s cooler out can save energy, save money, and can keep us and our loved ones comfortable. For many, particularly seniors, maintaining regular temperatures is extremely important to health. In this activity, we’ll learn some tips to keep our families comfortable this summer while saving money and decreasing our impact on the environment. 




Goals: Grades: K-5

  • Learn to regulate temperature in your house for the summer



Supplies: Time: 30 minutes

  • None

  • Optional Items for Tricks





Instructions: Go to a window in your home and answer the following questions.

  1. Which 1 of the following can go through your window while it’s closed that would make your house warmer?

  2. Wind

  3. The moon

  4. Light from the sun

  5. None of the Above

  6. Part 2: Why?

  7. Which 1 of the following can go through your window while it’s open that would make your house warmer?

  8. Cool air

  9. Hot air

  10. Wind

  11. None of the above

  12. Part 2: Why?

  13. Which 1 of the following can go through your window while it’s closed that would make your house cooler?

  14. Cool air/wind

  15. Hot air

  16. Light from the sun

  17. None of the above

  18. Part 2: Why

  19. Which 1 of the following can go through your window while it’s open that would make your house cooler?

  20. Cool air/wind

  21. Hot air

  22. Light from the sun

  23. None of the above

  24. Part 2: Why?



Some of those questions were tricky! Here’s what you should have answered:

1: C

Light from the sun can go right through a window and make our homes much warmer, no matter what season it is. In fact, people can still get sunburn through windows. On a related note, it is said that people get more tan from sunlight underwater than they do from direct sunlight.

2: B

When it is warm outside and you open windows, the air enters our home and makes our home warmer!

3: A or D

Air does technically enter our homes even when all windows and doors are closed. There are still cracks in our windows and doors and all over our homes that allow air inside no matter what. This is why our homes get hot in the summer and cold in the winter even when the windows and doors are all shut. 

4: A

When it is cool outside and you open windows, the air enters our home and makes our home cooler!



So, now that we know all that, let’s think about how to make our homes more comfortable!


When it’s hot outside, how can we keep our homes cool inside?


Well, the most important thing is avoid doing things that make our homes warmer! So, close your windows to keep the hot air from coming inside, and try to cover your closed windows to keep the sun’s warmth from coming in. To do this, you can use curtains. If you don’t have curtains, tape some aluminum foil onto the frame of the window! 


When it’s especially hot outside, it will likely be hot in your home no matter what you do. But when the sun starts to go down and the air outside becomes cooler, there are a couple things you can do to ensure that your home returns to a more comfortable temperature very quickly!


First, open windows to let that cool air in your home! Next, you can position a fan near an open window, facing outside. This fan will blow some of the hot air in your house back outside. Last, you can position a second fan near a different open window, ideally across from the other window with a fan. Position this fan facing inside to help blow cool air into your house and produce a “cross stream” of air in your home.


Use this box to brainstorm other ways to keep you and your family cool when it’s hot. My favorite options are using cold water instead of hot water, and finding shade in your yard, your neighborhood, or a nearby park, and hanging out there for a while!






Debrief/Talking Points 

  • Does your family have any other tricks to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter?

  • What are the benefits of these tricks, besides keeping your home comfortable? 



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