Skip to Content

How to Keep Your Split-Level Home Cool

As the summer season approaches, you may be wondering how to keep your home cool. This can be especially difficult for split level homes, as air can flow unevenly throughout the levels, and hot air can permeate your home. Because of the fact that warm air rises, it may be especially difficult to keep upper-level rooms cool in a split-level home. 

A split-level home is one that has staggered levels, but this article will benefit any home and help keep it cooler. There are many simple and cost-effective ways to keep a room cool, including fans, windows, and maintaining your air-conditioning unit. There are several practical hacks for home cooling that will even help you save money. The trick is to make sure you are using each cooling element to its full potential. 

Keep reading for some simple and cost-effective methods to keep your split-level home cool. 

How to Keep Your Split-Level Home Cool

Keep your windows open (unless you have AC). 

A simple way to keep your house cool is to manage your windows. Airflow is key to cooling, so you will want to make sure you’re allowing air to move throughout your home. However, do not keep your windows open if your AC unit is running, as this will let hot air in and put pressure on the AC unit.

Use fans as much as possible. 

Similar to managing your windows, utilizing fans to their full potential is important. Fans cool people, not rooms, so if you are looking to be as efficient with your energy as possible, it is important to turn your fan off when you leave a room. It may also be worth it to invest in a window fan if you don’t have AC. Window fans blow hot air away, effectively keeping your room cooler. 

Make sure your AC unit is working properly. 

Are you noticing that your AC is suddenly less effective? You might want to check and see if you have any clogged or dirty vents. Air vents can clog with dust and debris, and a clogged vent will make it hard to cool your home. To clean your vent, you can use a vacuum. But if you are wary of checking the vents yourself, you can always hire a professional to come and inspect your air ducts.

Make sure the right vents are open. 

Hot air rises, and so if you have a bedroom on an upper floor, it is likely to accumulate hot air. To solve this, you can close the vents on your lower floors, and redirect your AC up to the higher levels. Conversely, if you want to cool the lower levels, you can close the vents on the upper levels. 

Make sure your house is properly insulated. 

Insulation will help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter by preventing outside air from leaking in. Insulation helps prevent conductive and sometimes convective heat flow. When you’re looking to cool your home, any resistance to heat flow will help. Check to make sure your home is properly insulated, or hire a professional to check for you. 

How to Keep Your Split-Level Home Cool

Use blinds. 

Sunlight can make a room extremely hot. If you have a window that lets in a lot of sunlight, you may want to consider investing in curtains or blackout shades to keep the sunlight out. Using blinds to keep the hot rays out will help keep your room cool during the daytime, with little to no added cost. 

Place ice in front of a fan. 

This is an extremely cost-effective method for those extra-hot and sweaty summer nights. Take a bucket of ice from your freezer, place it in front of a fan, and let the fan blow the cool air towards you. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, so this method is most effective if you position the fan to blow air directly on you. 

Get breathable sheets. 

Fleece or flannel sheets can store a lot of heat, making you unnecessarily warm at night time. Change your fleece bed sheets for a cotton material that will breathe easily and help keep you cool at night. 

Try to keep yourself cool (instead of your house).

To help these hacks work better, focus on keeping yourself cool. Make sure you are wearing breathable clothes. Cotton material is the best for summer months and will help keep you cool. Stay hydrated by sipping on cold drinks, and run cold water over your wrists. 

Sleep downstairs.

If you can’t afford AC, or your AC simply isn’t working, consider moving downstairs on those unbearably hot days. Heat rises, and so relocating to a lower level will help keep you cooler. 

Cook outside.

Using your oven and burners in the summer can contribute to the accumulation of heat. It’s a smart idea to grill outdoors or greatly reduce your oven usage if you are trying to keep your home cooler. 

AC Basics 

Air conditioners are the most effective way to keep your split-level home cool. Here are a few essential tips you can use to maximize their impact. 

Be Sure to Change the Air Filter

The air filter is what cleans the air of dust and debris before the air flows through your home. As the filter ages, it will clog with that dust and dirt. A clogged filter will not be effective, and air will get trapped. Regularly changing your filters will help your AC unit work to its maximum potential. 

Many air filters suggest cleaning on a monthly basis, but you can also purchase some high-efficiency filters that will last a little bit longer. You can also purchase reusable filters, just be careful to follow the cleaning instructions carefully, or more clogging can result. 

Don’t Let Outside Air In

As was mentioned, keeping windows open while your AC unit is running will make the air conditioner have to work harder to fight all that hot air. If your air conditioning is not working as well as you want, double-check to make sure that no outside air is leaking in. Common ways that outside air can leak in is under doors, through holes or cracks, and beneath the window sill. Be sure to double-check that your home is sealed and insulated. 

Don’t Use Exhaust Fans

Exhaust fans, like the ones in your bathroom and kitchen, pull fumes and odors from certain areas of the home and vent them outside. Perfect for ridding your kitchen of unwanted cooking smells, or airing out the bathroom. However, running exhaust fans overnight will push the cool air out of your house, and strain your air conditioning unit. If you’re looking to cool your home, use these fans as infrequently as possible. 

Do Use Regular Fans

Regular fans, unlike exhaust fans, will help keep your AC unit function well, keeping your room cool by circulating the air. Using fans can even help save money on your utility bill. 

Do Routine Maintenance

Air conditioners, like any machine, need routine maintenance to make sure they are working to their maximum potential. Doing routine maintenance could also save you money by preventing any potential damage. 

  • Change the air filter regularly, check the window seals, run a wire through the drain channel, and check the refrigerant gauge. 
  • At the beginning of the warmer months, it is a good idea to have a professional come and check your AC Unit to make sure it is running efficiently and effectively. Having a professional take a look could also be a preventative measure against potential issues that might emerge down the line. 


These are some simple, cost-effective hacks to help keep your split level home cooler during the summer months. Routine maintenance on AC units, smart fan usage, and a reduction of unnecessary heat all can help to keep your home cool.


  • Chris Hewitt

    Chris is a Texas-based freelance writer who loves the outdoors and working in his garage. When he's not enjoying the Texas sun, he can be found tinkering with all sorts of things in his workshop.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We may also earn commissions if you purchase products from other retailers after clicking on a link from our site.