Posted by: Diane | June 25, 2016

How We Are Surviving WITHOUT Air Conditioning

…so far!

You heard that right friends.  Our lovely new house does not have AC.  And everyone knows that it gets hot in Texas in the summer.

So what are we doing to beat the heat? 

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Do we have a pool?  No.
A big block of ice?  No.
Do we leave the house and go somewhere with air conditioning between the hours of 1-9 PM?  No.  (well, yes, we do if we are leaving the house to run errands, but that’s incidental. )
Do we sit in front of a fan and just sweat?  No.

So with temps this week (end of June) in the 90s, how can we take the heat?

First of all, it really IS what you get used to.  I freeze to death in most stores, shops and offices that have air conditioning.  (That reminds me, I need to put a long sleeve shirt in my car for such occasions.)  We always kept our AC set at about 78 to 80 degrees in our mobile home.  So we aren’t accustomed to living in an ice box to begin with.

Our new home has very good cross-ventilation, so between that, the ceiling fans and some electric fans, there is plenty of air movement which helps it feel cooler because of the evaporation of sweat off of your skin.

Up until a couple of days ago, we did fine just leaving the windows and back door open and the fans on high. At night the house cools off beautifully.  But the day before yesterday it got just plain HOT in this house.  I don’t mind a little sweat, but I was very uncomfortable.  Even at 10 PM the house was still very warm.  So I decided to try a little passive cooling trick.

I had to go to leave the house early the next morning, so I instructed the girls before I left to close the windows around 10:30 or 11:00.  I wanted to see if the house, and especially the concrete floor, would hold the “cool-th” that it captured overnight. 

I arrived home at about 6 PM that evening and the house was MUCH more comfortable!  I asked the girls if they thought it stayed cooler and they reported that yes, they thought it did.   As it cooled off outside that evening, we reopened the windows to cool the house again.  It was a nice temperature when we went to bed.

Some things to note about our house that play a part in the relative success of this little trick…
We have concrete floors in the entire house.  The concrete will store either warmth or “coolth.”  We try to keep direct sun out of the house as much as possible.  Our walls are well insulated but the ceiling is not insulated at all (for now).  We have a light colored metal roof and a well-ventilated attic.  I try to limit cooking time to avoid adding heat to the house.

We did this again today.  All of the windows were closed (except an east facing window that is shaded by trees in the afternoon) at 10:30 AM.  It is now 4:00 PM, the temperature outside is 94 degrees (feels like 103 according to the weather service) and I am barely sweating.  I feel comfortable!
Woo-hoo!

Admittedly, it remains to be seen how well this works in the blazing heat of August.  I’ll let you know.
And yes, we are planning to have air conditioning but probably not until next year.

Have you tried any tricks to reduce your AC usage or delay turning it on as long as possible in the spring?  What worked for you?

PS:  I completely forgot about this cool do-it-yourself “air conditioner”!  I ran across it just as I finished typing this post.

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