Wednesday, July 11, 2007

102 and No Air Conditioning

Though our local paper said people without air conditioning were "suffering" and "miserable", we were amazingly comfortable in yesterday's heat. In years past, 97 has been about the cut-off for air conditioning use, and we've turned it on for the few days it's climbed above that number each summer. But this year we're employing even more heat-beating strategies and I wasn't even tempted to turn the heat pump on yesterday! The town I grew up in regularly saw summer temperatures in the nineties and hundreds and we never had air conditioning, so I'm mostly using the same concepts I grew up with to beat the heat:

- We bought honeycomb insulated blinds for more of our windows this winter, with plans to install even more of them this year.

- At night, we open the blinds and all of the windows and let the cooler air wash through the house.

- In the early morning, I open up all of the doors as well and really chill it down as best as we can.

- As soon as the temperature starts rising outside, the house gets buttoned up tight and the blinds get closed. We try to be vigilant about not leaving doors open when people go in or out.

- We've changed over to "siesta schedule" where we get all of our outdoor chores (laundry, gardening) done in the cooler morning and evening hours, as well as outdoor play time for the kids. From about 2 - 5 we come in and head down to the nice cool basement to watch a movie or play games. Then we're outside until 10:00 at night, enjoying the nice temperatures.

- Alternative to indoor siesta is head to pool or lake or river!

- When it starts cooling down in the evening and we head outdoors, we open up the house again.

- Deciduous trees on the south and east sides of the house provide much cooler temperatures. The west is our only bugaboo with one big west-facing window that's not shaded by a tree (the neighbor's house is too close for us to plant one there. But we put some good shades on it this year and that has helped a lot.

Though the temperature outside was 102, our house never climbed above 83 (upstairs) 78 (main floor) and a wonderful 64 in the basement! By evening, it was cool enough to sleep upstairs. Nice!


Elizabeth said...

We employed the tactic of lying around all day, and watching TV in the basement. I admit I did turn on the a/c, but not until about 7 pm. Today I turned it on when I started cooking dinner. I probably could have done without it....but we have it, so we use it, right? :-P But we don't have to overuse it.

Wendy said...

That's awesome! I'll bet you could teach some people a thing or two. Personally, I hate air conditioning. We live in the extreme northeast, where we don't have AC in our house and don't really need it.

Family of Four said...

Bravo. Your cooling routine sounds a lot like mine. Nothing beats cool morning air coming through open doors. Wish we had a basement, but lying under the ceiling fan works too. We've slightly dipped into our solar surplus this summer.

Brenda said...

I take those articles with a grain of salt too because we live without a/c as well. I admit that I even roll my eyes when people complain about how hot a gorgeous 85 degree day is. We have two window units, but haven't put them installed them in 5 years, the summer I was 8 mos pregnant. We do many of the same things you do, and it really does keep the house bearable. Life without a/c is just fine for us.