Friday, June 24, 2011

It's heating up around here

The air conditioner came out of hiding yesterday.  It was a shame, too.  I was hoping for it either not to come out, or for a short time during August.  But when the wind dies down and the temps climb out of the 80s and into the scary 90s, Beautiful Wife needs some relief. 

The house was built with the summer heat in mind.  Drawing off of knowledge my grandmother passed down, we threw a window in the attic during the design phase of the house.  It has paid off in spades since we elected to not wall in the attic and make it a loft.  Based off the premise that hot air rises, we have left the attic window open since the end of May. 

So basically how the system works is:  We start the day in the master bedroom, which is in the NW corner of the house, receiving no sun.  It stays chilly in there with the windows open.  Most of the time the casement windows in the living room are open, and the house is about the temperature outside (33-40º F).  As the day wears on, the wind starts to pick up (a process that involves the colder mountain air sliding in and pushing the warm valley air up), so I shut some of the windows, open others to allow some air to flow through the house, keeping in mind if a sandstorm starts to develop, I would have to shut all windows to keep the sand out.  Mid-afternoon causes me to close the door to the bedroom as that side of the house is starting to heat up and the other side to cool off.  The south facing windows have to be shut or the wind will rip up the fragile tomato plants just inside.  By now, usually, the winds are 30 mph with higher gusts, predominantly from the southwest.  The kitchen window is open at the top, with the curtains providing a wind break.  Depending on the wind strength, direction, and temp, we may open the guest room window to provide a good lower draft, especially if the loft window has gotten all the hot air out of the house.  Late afternoon really heats up the bedroom, and the fan can’t move the hot air out fast enough. 

So here is the crux of our problem: No or little wind outside, full sun in our bedroom for 6 or more hours, and no central air conditioning.  We have thought about putting a small bed in the guest room to sleep, but we like the cold mornings.  We could try upstairs, but it is still to warm up there.  I just gave up and put the portable setup in the master bedroom and kept all the windows and doors shut.  At least one room is cool in the evening. 

I guess one could get used to opening windows to suit the wind in order to keep the house cool.  It is cheaper than paying for air conditioning.  At least in the fall, it is easier and hopefully cheaper to heat the house.  

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