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How to Cool a Shed Without Electricity (6 Easy Methods)

Sheds can be a great place to escape the stress of everyday life and cool off a little. But when the sun beats down and the temperature inside becomes uncomfortable, you’ll be desperate for ways to cool that shed off. Without a power source, it can be difficult to work out how. Fortunately, there are plenty of other easy ways to cool off a shed.

Here are 6 ways to cool a shed without electricity:

  • Thoroughly insulate your tent.
  • Shade your shed with large plants or trees.
  • Install roof vents. 
  • Install windows or grilles. 
  • Add solar reflective paint to the roof.
  • Spray cold water on the shed. 

In this article, we’ll explore each of these options, explaining how they work and how you can implement them in your own shed, as well as helping you decide which one is right for you.

1. Add insulation.

While most people think of insulation as a way to keep something warm, a well-insulated shed will work wonders on hot days, keeping cool air in and warm air out. Think of it like a thermos that can keep beverages hot or cold. If you want your shed cool, good insulation is crucial.

First, it’s important to work out how much insulation material you’ll need and work out your budget in advance. You’ll need to know exactly how you’re going to insulate before you get started.

If you don’t have electricity in your shed, you can use simple materials like bubble wrap or polystyrene, but if you want to push the boat out, you could invest in fiberglass wool or foil-backed compressed insulation, available from most decent home improvement stores.

Before applying the insulation, treat the inside walls with an anti-fungal treatment to ensure they don’t go moldy under those warm layers. Create a membrane allowing air to flow and preventing moisture build-up by placing a plank between the wall and the material. Measure the wall and cut your insulation to match before slotting it into place and securing it with tacks or heavy-duty staples. Be sure to apply at least two layers to capture lots of heat.

Think about those windows too. Rickety old glass panes aren’t going to do much to keep you insulated. Consider double glazing your shed windows or replacing worn-out wooden frames. When winter comes around, all this investment will keep your shed warm too!

2. Add shade.

One reason your shed might be overheating is that it’s directly in the sunlight. And the best way to overcome this problem is with a little shade.

There are plenty of ways to shield your shed from the light. If you prefer the natural approach, you can grow plants that cover your roof—big, leafy plants that will give plenty of cover work best. There are plenty of options for small, flowering plants and shrubs. Alternatively, you can use fast-growing, shade-giving trees like paper birch or willow.

There are artificial options too. A large, well-placed beach umbrella can be just what you need to keep those rays from frying you. An oversized beach umbrella fixed to the side of your shed should do wonders in keeping those rays off.

If you want to go for a really effective, if perhaps a slightly pricey option, you can build a second roof for your shed. A simple awning extending just above your current shed roof will provide cover from the sun and all other kinds of weather too. This doesn’t have to be a permanent structure. It could be as simple as a tarpaulin supported by upright sticks. Doing it this way will mean you don’t have to follow building codes.

3. Install roof vents.

Perhaps there’s a cool breeze running through your yard on summer days, and you want some of that sweet air cooling down the inside of your shed. If so, consider installing roof vents.

Adjustable vents can be bought cheaply from any hardware store. And there are several types to choose from. One of the most popular and effective kinds is a whirlybird. This ingenious device uses the power of the wind to spin around and vent out hot air.

The Lomanco GT-12 Galvanized Turbines is one of the best products on the market for this purpose. If you need an adjustable vent, I highly recommend this one.

They’re simple to install too. They only need an appropriately sized hole cutting out of the roof and securing via hammer and nail. You might want to consider hiring a handyman for this if you aren’t experienced, though, since cutting holes while standing on a ladder can be pretty dangerous.

4. Install windows or grilles.

Another great way to improve the ventilation in your shed is through adding windows. If your shed doesn’t already have a window, it might seem like a tough task to install one. In fact, it’s pretty simple. By using a ready-made timber frame, You can add windows through a simple installation process.

Some sheds have pre-cut openings for windows that only need pushing out, which can make things a whole lot easier. But even without those, you’re not entirely out of luck. You’ll need to dive into some woodwork and break out that toolbox, cutting out space for headers and footers to precise measurements.

There are guides and video tutorials available online, but if you’re not confident in doing this work yourself, or if you don’t have the equipment required, this is a pretty small job. Any handyman should be able to arrange this in a day or two.

Perhaps your shed already has windows, and you’ve locked them up for reasons of security or to keep the bugs out. If this is the case, considering opening them up and installing a mesh over the glass. That way, you can enjoy the breeze while keeping out unwanted visitors.

5. Add solar reflective paint to the roof.

So you can’t shade your roof. Perhaps it’s too high to adequately block the light, or you don’t have space to set up barriers. But all is not lost! You can reduce the effect of the sun’s rays with a lick of paint.

Solar paint can coat your roof in a coat of heat-reflecting material! It’s cheap, easy to apply, and looks great too. It doesn’t just cool your shed. It adds protection from the weather and looks pretty nifty too!

6. Spray your shed with cold water.

If you can’t do any of the more complicated solutions, try spraying your shed with cold water! It may seem like a simple solution, but sometimes those are the most effective, right?

You can go about it in the uber basic way, simply spraying the walls and roof of your shed with a hose from time to time. If you want something a little more scientific, you could try putting a sprinkler system next to the shed and setting it to go off regularly. This way, your yard retreat can be bathed in a cool-mist at the hottest parts of the day!

If you’re busy and don’t have time to spray water on your shed every hour, the Rain Bird Automatic Sprinkler System Kit is the perfect way to ensure a cool spray at regular intervals.

Final Thoughts

There are so many ways to keep a shed cool that you can take your pick! Whether it’s a cheap, simple solution involving household items or an elaborate project, there’s something to suit everyone.

And it’s important to remember, if you’re struggling to do something for yourself, you can always hire some help to get that shed at the perfect temperature.