Cooling the house - what to do when you don't have AC?

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ePimp
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Cooling the house - what to do when you don't have AC?

Postby ePimp » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:45 pm

What are the options (besides getting A/C)? Mid-century compliant, of course.

Yeah, considered a ceiling fan. Not gonna cut it. We've considered a whole house fan, but I'm not sure how that works with a flat T&G roof. What have others done? Either home-improvement or quick fix. Thanks for any input.

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Postby egads » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:21 pm

I have been using a roll around A/C unit. It really helps. It does require a vent to be placed into a window. I also sometimes just run the forced air fan.
One tip when using a box fan is to place it so that it blows out the window and open a window on the shady side of the house. See redneckmoderns posts about his house. He used a mini split A/C system. There was no forced air in his house to add A/C to.

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Postby JXBrown » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:34 pm

We put on a foam roof and got rid of the carpet. Admittedly not a cheap solution, but really, really comfortable. I have double honeycomb blinds on the east and west windows and our major glazing is south with deep overhangs and a big pine at the southwest corner of the house. I open the house up at night to cool it off and zip it up tight in the morning to hold the cool in. In the winter the slab acts as a heat source since it's about 60 degrees and in the summer the slab acts as a heat sink rising to about 65 degrees by the end of the season. Since heat is more of a problem down south than winter, I also have all CF bulbs and an induction cooktop. I've got grapevines growing in front of our only west window, but they've been slower to get started than I had hoped.

Before the foam roof, our house would only be 2-3 degrees cooler than the exterior temperature. With the foam roof, it was 16 degrees cooler than outside during this little heat wave over the weekend. It did hit 81 degrees indoors yesterday, but the max outside was 97, so that's pretty dang good. Saturday it was 78 and 94. At 81 degrees I was comfortably cool wearing shorts and resting my barefeet on the tile floor. It really felt cooler than the air temperature.

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FYI...

Postby modfan » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:13 am

During this last warm up where the temps probably got into the low 90's I have yet to turn on the AC.
I've got insulation in the clg. and ext. walls. light colored roof, dual paned/tinted windows but minimal overhang but a full width trellised patio across the west facing backyard.
In the 3 years I lived in the house even on the hottest days it's never gotten above the high 80's and I've only turned on the AC on the very hottest days. Otherwise I just open windows and turn on fans.
I'm in Sylmar so what we really deal with is wind episodes like in Santa Maria or Northridge.

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Postby CapitalMod » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:13 am

During my year in Europe, I learned the benefit of simply closing all of the doors and windows during the day. Every door to every room. This tended to hold the morning temperature steady. When you get home, and this is assuming you do not work from home, you open everything up as it predictably gets stuffy during the day. The benefit is that you do need to wait to cool the house down.

Now, that only goes so far during our horrific East Coast summers, so local results may vary. But even during August, it helps and then when I do turn on the AC, it does not expend as much energy to cool things down.

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Reducing Heat Gain

Postby Josquin » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:06 am

Consider Trees on the West facing side of the house. This will help reduce solar gain in the late afternoon when it's hottest.

Window shades that reduce direct sunlight from the interior of the house will also help reduce the solar gain.

Allowing windows to open to the prevailing breezes can help to cool the house.
Last edited by Josquin on Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Miguel » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:13 am

For those living in extremely hot and dry areas, I cannot recommend enough purchasing a portable evaporative cooler (~$150). I rely heavily on the evap cooler to maintain my house confortable during the day (provided that the temperature is not really excessive outside), and only use the A/C when strictly need to (crazy hot days above 100-110F). Although, evap coolers only work in areas with very dry climates - Central CA Valley, Palm Springs and Las Vegas are good examples.

Completely agree with the recommendation above of maintaining doors and windows closed during the day and only opening them at night for circulation. I use a GE whole house fan, installed many years back, and located centrally in the highest point of the house. To cool down the house at night, I use the fan, in conjunction with the open jalousie windows in all the rooms. This combination ensures quick and efficient hot air removal from the house and replacement with cooler night air from outside.

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Postby Izzy » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:31 am

in our last house, it wasn't until the last month before we moved out that we discovered our 1940s era furnace had a switch you could flip and the fan would suck the cold air from the basement and blow it out all your registers! doh! it cooled the house down by atleast 10 or 15 degrees.
in our new house we checked that out first and discovered the same feature. circa 1990 furnace. (ok, maybe other people know about this one but we were oblivious to it)
i guess if you dont have a basement this won't work...

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Postby rockland » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:29 pm

That is funny Izzy.
Oh. Hmm.
Sunday. 80 upstairs, 60 downstairs. :oops:
I guess i should check some switches.
80 feels good right now, and we seldom use the central air even
in july. But i'm sure we have a fan switch somewhere...
Our downstairs is half imbedded in the hillside. Much cooler.

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Postby Joe » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:34 pm


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Izzy
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Postby Izzy » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:59 pm

[quote="Joe"]hey epimp, ever figure out who designed your home? cooling the natural way...

> landscaping... fast growing trees in strategic areas

to add to that: we planted a peach tree in our front yard for shade in the summer. That thing is growing so FAST! it grew about 5 ft last year alone and this year we're expecting to get some shade from it already.
we live in seattle area so not sure about your area as far as weather but its doing great here.

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Postby Miguel » Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:09 pm


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Invention Nation

Postby MikeLindsey » Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:20 pm

I was watching Invention Nation on the Science Channel and there was a really cool, portable, solar air conditioner that this guy makes. Here's the link to the show.



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