Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life Without Air-Conditioning...

We've had a bit of a reprieve today, but as 35+ C heat returns and stretches on into the summer I thought it might be time to share climate control secrets with each other.  So here's a list of my tricks and coping mechanisms, and please drop a comment or email if you have any to add!

1. Open all windows, shutters, rolladen as wide as possible once the heat outside drops below the temperature in the house (and the sun is no longer shining into the windows.)

2. Shut doors to any seldom used rooms that heat up during the day such as office or guest bedrooms.  Open doors to cool basement rooms, like storage rooms and rec rooms.

3. Close curtains, shutters or rolladen during stong daylight hours on windows which get direct sunlight.  On really hot days, or if we are going away I shut our shutters and the curtains, just to increase the insulation around the windows.

4. When it's very hot out, close windows all the way first thing in the morning, to keep the cool night air inside the house as the outside air heats up.  I mistakenly thought at first that I should leave them cracked to maintain a breeze with the fan, but have found it stays much cooler by locking the air in.  Gotta love concrete insulation!

5. Close off ground floor rooms during the day - if you have a central stairwell.  Cool air from the night before is usually enough to keep the ground floor cool during the day, and saves basement air for circulation to the upper story.

6. Use fans to direct air circulation from the basement up to the upper story.  We have a fan laying on it's back at the bottom of the stairwell, propped on the stairs to help direct cool air up the shaft.  We then have another one at the top of the stairs oscillating to keep pulling air up and into the upper rooms.  I might add another one this week on the ground floor just to help move it along in an upward direction, as I've noticed that the foyer area stays cooler than the rest of the ground floor which is closed off from the foyer (point 5.)

7.  When it gets unbearable "camp out" with the kids on the main floor or in the keller.  Break out the sleeping bags, make popcorn, get a flashlight and instead of bedtime stories tell camping stories!

8.  When all else fails get a portable, room air conditioner.  A friend just showed me hers today, and it doubles as a space heater in the winter, fan, and comes with special icepacks that it uses with water to help create cooler air within the space.  She said she found hers at Obi last year for 100 Euros, which sounded like a good price!  But before you run out and spend a bundle, just remember average high temperature in July is usually just 23C.

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