Ask Jennifer Adams: How Do I Cool My House Down Naturally?
It's the middle of yet another heat wave and I don't have air conditioning. Any advice on how to cool my house down naturally?
Taking advantage of a cross current is your best bet for cooling down. Wind naturally flows through in through certain windows of your home and out through others. Depending on how the wind is blowing, you're likely to find that breezes tend to blow air in more on some sides of your house than others. Experiment with opening some windows and closing others to see what produces the best air flow. Remember that windows located directly opposite each other cool only those areas in the direct path of the airflow. You'll cool more of your home if you force the air to take a longer path between the inlet and outlet. Once you know how air moves naturally through your home, you can then optimize your mechanical ventilation. By installing a large window fan in an open window blowing air OUT and another fan that blows cool, outdoor air IN, you can take advantage of the air flow and create a cross current that removes stale air and keeps the place cool. Do you happen to have a basement? Put that cold air to use! Because basement air is typically about 20 degrees cooler than it is upstairs you can enlist it to help chill the entire home. Prop the basement door open and place a fan there to suck the cool air up to the main levels. Of course, you can't fight Mother Nature so if the conditions aren't optimal for creating a natural breeze or the humidity outside makes it unbearable to leave the windows open, remember that it's always easier to cool yourself rather than a large space. Position a fan to blow in your general direction and if necessary, drape a wet cloth behind your neck. The cool water mixed with even a slight breeze will make you feel cooler.