Staying Cool

We live in one of the just 15% of homes in the Puget Sound area with A/C. Most days the Seattle area weather stays cool enough to keep the A/C off but today – in honor of the 1 year anniversary of the hottest day on record in Seattle (103 degrees!) I offer this easy advice on keeping cool without A/C.

I learned this from my parents back in Minnesota years ago where the weather is warmer and more humid than it is in the Pacific NW. It all has to do with the proper use of fans – specifically window box fans. The principle is quite simple. If you want to clear a room of smoke would you blow fresh air in of exhaust the smoke from the room? Exhaust the smoke, of course! So here’s how to stay cool:

1. When the outside air temp is cooler than the inside temp open 1-2 windows on the shaded (coolest) side of the house.

2. Place a window box fan in a window on the opposite side of the house blowing OUT! This will help to draw cooler air in while exhausting the warmer air. The rooms with the open windows will cool faster than the room with the fan so I usually place the fan in a non-sleeping room.

3. If you have a tw0-story house it is important to exhaust on the upper floor and have some windows open on the lower floor.

4. Depending on the size of your house you may need more than one fan. The goal is to create a draft through the house so if you are opening several windows open them just a few inches.

5. Finally, use shades to keep the sun out.

The other day when it got pretty warm here I did the fan thing overnight and the inside temp dropped to 65 by morning. I then closed the house up pretty well (closed windows and took out fans) and the house only climbed to 72 by late afternoon even though it was much hotter outside. You can still use fans inside to circulate the air but by exhausting that hotter air the air you circulate will be cooler and you will sleep much better. One friend recently told me he tried this and it may a ten degree difference in his house!

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