Your House is a Chimney. Or, How to Stay Cool Without A/C

I don’t have an air conditioner. And I live on the third floor of my house. When it’s hot out — it’s been in the 90’s this week — it just swelters in my room. Since this week was the first major heat wave of the summer, we figured it’s high time for a basic look at cooling your house, sans A/C.

My goal is to fill the house with cool air overnight, and then keep it from heating up during the day. The best way to circulate air is to think of your house like a chimney: hot air rises and flows out windows or vents at the top, which draws in air in windows and doors at the bottom.

At night, when it’s cooler out, accelerate the chimney effect. Upstairs, have your fans blowing air out the window. Downstairs, point the fans inward to draw in outside air.

And when it’s hotter outside, stop the chimney flow. Close all your windows, and block as much sunlight as you can with curtains and drapes.

Here’s a diagram of how to think about it:

*Disclaimer: I live in Boston, where summers are short and heat-waves tolerable. We’re lucky that it usually cools off at night, which is the key for making this trick work!

Do you have a favorite tip for beating the heat? Please share it below!

Photo from flickr, Creative Commons, O.F.E. Diagram perhaps originally from Kinetik Solutions.

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