Here in the Seattle area, we’ve seen record temps for the summer. My neighborhood reached 108 degrees (an all-time high) in late July. For an area with an average summer temp of just 76, that’s impressive and most of us just weren’t prepared.
Here’s a few tricks I’ve learned that have helped cool down our place. Just a note on our place—we have a 2nd story townhouse with full sun exposure and no shade trees. Temps indoors have exceeded 110, and with a day-sleeper in the house, we’re vigilant about keeping the temps down.
1. Close up tight through the heat of the day. We cover the windows with mini-blinds, blackout curtains and sometimes even a quilt to keep it as cool as we can for as long as we can.
2. After the hottest part of the day, get the air moving, and get the hot air “up and out” of your house.
3. Open the chimney flu and the woodstove doors to allow hot air to vent up. If you can open a downstairs door and an upstairs door, this will happen also.
4. Don’t forget about your attic. One summer we placed a box van in our crawlspace door with the fan pointed into the attic—it exhausted the hot air in our house straight into the attic and cooled the house dramatically.
5. Don’t have a fan? Think again. Turn on the range hood fan, the bathroom fans, even the furnace with the burner off. Anything, to get the hot air up and out!
6. Consider cooling one room. Central AC isn’t an option in our building and window air conditioners aren’t permitted. We did find a stand-alone unit (purchased in winter to get the lowest price) which allows us to cool our master bedroom. On days when we can’t get indoor temps under 90, we have a family camp-out in the master bedroom and the kids bring in their sleeping bags to sleep at night (saving us cranky children the next day!) We run the unit when indoor temps get over 90 degrees, and even when that’s a few days per week, we have never noticed a significant increase in our power usage (I think we offset this by not cooking on hot days).