10 ways to cool a home without air conditioning
Sleeping on the front porch after a hot summer day was an absolute must. The upstairs floor of the 1940s country house had been converted into a sauna and it was not possible to sleep in the bedrooms upstairs. Even after the sun went down, the upstairs seemed to get hotter. Let’s look at some ways to cool a home without air conditioning.
Now that I spend time trying to figure out how a house can be more energy efficient, I think back to those hot summer days and wonder two things:
1. Where was the air conditioning?
I’ve seen several articles floating around that talk about air conditioning as an unnecessary appliance. That people have gone soft, and if people just handled heat like a caveman, they wouldn’t need those energy-wasting air conditioners.
Growing up in that Northwest farmhouse, air conditioning was not expected. Sleeping on the front porch several times a year was. Air conditioning was only for city folks who weren’t lucky enough to live on a farm.
Where was the air conditioning? It was still in the catalog of the variety store.
2. Why was it so hot upstairs at night?
When you sleep on the front porch and you’re 10 years old, you really don’t care why it’s so hot upstairs. It’s not something you try to find out before you find yourself sleeping on the porch again. You like to sleep on the porch.
If upstairs is too hot to sleep in and you’d rather not risk sleeping on the porch or anywhere else outside, then consider why the upstairs and the whole house gets so hot at night it becomes a important problem to solve.
Air conditioners are fairly energy efficient appliances, but they are not free to operate. With the constant noise of the air conditioner and the electricity bill increasing by the hour, a person has the tendency to think why the upstairs is so hot and the ways to cool a house.
The old farmhouse was being moved to a new location and I had a chance to look in the attic as part of the roof was removed. Rather than the attic being the dark and spooky cave of my childhood, it was a cozy place to explore with lots of natural light.
I was surprised to see that the attic had nothing. No old magazines, no old socks or toys, no old corpses of rats or cats. Of course, there was no insulation either and he could look down the chimney from the attic to the basement. This is a good place to start answering the question of ways to cool a home.
The roof had no ventilation in the attic or on the roof or on the eve. The only ventilation was provided by two gabled vents, one at each end of the attic. The roof tiles were always dark in color.
Now I understand very well why the upstairs of this old house was so hot after a hot summer day. The attic collected heat all day and then shared it with those downstairs throughout the night.
How to prevent the attic from overheating and ruining a good night’s sleep.
Here are 10 ways to cool a home before adding air conditioning. These will help you in your attempt to keep your home livable at night; try these modifications and enhancements.
1. Solar powered attic fan
A solar powered attic fan works great and is a one-time investment in the amount of $ 450 to $ 800. When installed on your roof, the self-contained solar unit blows hot air out of the attic whenever the sun hits the solar panel. with enough direct sunlight to run the fan.
Best performance occurs when attic ventilation is added throughout the eve and maximum roof ventilation is limited.
2. Ceiling sprinkler system
Well, it works in flat commercial buildings, it could also work in houses. Anything that cools the roof surface will help prevent heat from radiating into the attic. Unfortunately, this can substantially increase your water bill. Sprinkler and hose, $ 20. Water bill about $ 300.
3. Really big trees
Shade the roof and you have a cooler attic and a cooler home. If you have a two-story home and are just starting to plant shade trees, this solution may take a while to materialize. A 12-inch tall redwood, $ 4.95. Expect shade in 40 years.
4.Air sealing the attic floor
Especially before adding insulation, do not add insulation to the attic floor without first air-sealing the vents and penetrations. Better process, good drop lamp, knee pads, and a can of Great Stuff spray foam insulation. Material cost, $ 30.
5. Adding additional ventilation on the roof
Ways to cool a home start with attic ventilation. Most older homes simply don’t have enough attic ventilation. Ventilation should allow air to flow from the eve to the top. Eliminate solid bird blockage and add screened vents on the eve. Add fabricated metal or plastic roof vents near the peak. During the installation of a new roof it is the best time to add ventilation to the attic. Winds Eve Sofito, $ 8.50. Roof spike vents around $ 12
6. Add insulation
After air sealing, install the insulation. Insulation will help slow the transfer of heat from the attic to the living space below. The more insulation the better. Building codes keep adding insulation, in some of the colder parts of the country, insulating R-49 is code. That’s about 16 inches of insulation.
Don’t worry, this could be a DIY project. Large building supply stores have the supplies and equipment you need to get the job done.
Add insulation in colder climates to stay warm, add insulation in warmer climates to stay cool. Add 12 inches of blown fiberglass insulation for about $ 1.25 to $ 1.75 per square foot of attic floor space.
7. Sealing the knee wall floor connection.
Many older two-story homes have an attic with kneeling walls. This is the space along the walls of an upstairs room that has reduced headroom along the sides of the room. You know, you are standing upstairs and you have to be careful to stand in the middle of the room to avoid hitting your head.
The problem is that the knee wall attic is often open to the space between the floor of the room above and the ceiling of the room below. This means that the hot air in the attic from the knee wall can travel just below the floor above and help heat the entire house.
Put some insulation in a plastic bag and place a bag between each floor joist opening in the attic of the knee wall. This will prevent hot air from traveling between the floor and the ceiling. Sealing these floor joist openings is important during the cooling season and the heating season. Plastic bags $ .50, insulation, $ 1.00 per bag.
8. Sealing the chimney chase
In older balloon frame homes, the fireplace shutter is often open allowing heat and cold to transfer between all floors, clear from the attic to the basement. For effective cooling and heating, these chase corridors must be sealed. Spray foam insulation, $ 7.00 a can.
9. Place fans in the windows above
Place one or more large box fans in the windows above. Install them so that they fly out the window. Close all other exterior windows and doors, but leave interior doors open to the basement. Extract cooler basement air through the house and out through the windows above.
Basements are always cooler and can help cool the rest of the house. Hopefully, you don’t have a smelly stove oil tank in your basement! A good box fan around $ 30.
10. Install solar panels
Typically, when you install solar panels on a roof, the panels are placed in a racking system that keeps the panels off the roof by about 3 inches. The panels prevent the sun’s rays from hitting the roof surface and slow the transfer of heat to the attic space.
One of the advantages of solar panels on a hot day is the shade they provide to the roof. It may not be as good for shade as a large redwood, but it is still shade.
Most power companies will help you install solar panels. They know that when it’s hot and all those air conditioners come on, they need all the help they can get with ways to cool a house.
I wish I still had that old farmhouse with the big front porch and the big yard. I’d have a few tricks ready for those hot summer afternoons when it got so hot upstairs. After sealing the air and insulating the attic, I would install a solar fan in the attic, mount some solar panels on the roof, put a couple of box fans in the windows above, and unfold my sleeping bag on the front porch.
These are ways to cool a home, but you can still get a good night’s sleep on the front porch. Of course, these days you would need a better air mattress than before.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you sleep a little fresher tonight, don’t forget to turn off the light …