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  #1  
Old 07/05/12, 11:09 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,495
Cooling in hot weather with the power out

Hi,
I know there are still a lot of people out there in 100F weather with no power for AC.
I put together this list of cooling methods that work without power -- maybe helpful in some cases:
Build-It-Solar Blog: Cooling Without Power

Got any other ideas?

Gary

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  #2  
Old 07/05/12, 11:15 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,240

Good stuff, Gary. Thanks

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  #3  
Old 07/05/12, 01:12 PM
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I like the idea of watering to roof. Particularly in the desert southwest where I am, that has the potential to save a lot of electricity.

Every summer we have a local weatherman on the roof of his TV station cooking sausage on the flashing, just to make a point. The point is that the roof can get really hot! Dousing the roof with water can't help but improve things.

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  #4  
Old 07/05/12, 02:24 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 3,100

Thank you! Although we have electricity, we are trying not to use it to save money.

We tried the "water the roof" method two nights ago and did think it helped. But, we need to try it a few more times to "test" it good. We also wet down the ground all around the house for about 20 feet out. But, that would not work for those who have a water bill. We have an extra spring water cistern and so we were lucky to have the water. We thought it helped to wet the ground too.

We are cooking outside as much as we can. We have a wood fired cook top ( it is a dry stack with a metal top ) and a wood fired Oven (also a dry stack) and that really helps keep heat out of the house. We fire up the Oven or Cook Top a few hours before we want to cook, and then wait till after 6 PM to cook. We are able to open house up about 7 PM and by then the food is cooked.

Last night we had a whole rack of wet clothes drying on a wood dry rack. We did not put it outside since storms were predicted. I was watching TV and so I put the drying rack on the floor near me, turned a fan on Hi, and let the wet clothes cool me off since the air seemed cooler.

Thanks for the ideas and the link. We enjoy your site many times.

PS: We did try opening up the attic access door but that did not seem to work. The hot air just rushed downstairs. Even the night we waited till after 7 PM, then the hot air just seemed to come down rather than creating the "chimney" effect. Not sure why it did not work. We might try again using a fan at the bottom to push air up?

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Last edited by meanwhile; 07/05/12 at 02:26 PM. Reason: added a PS
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  #5  
Old 07/05/12, 03:55 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: ozark foothills, Mo
Posts: 1,051
Not a quick fix Butttt

Put a buncha goodly sized pipe inna ground and suck air through it with a 12v fan powered by batteries and solar panels if you have real estate 'nough to do it..I've got this idea if i would bury 7" or8" dia. pipe 300 ft from house to down in the field that i could pull plenty of cool air in..Running it down hill away from the house would let the water that condensed outa the air run out in the field at the lower end...

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  #6  
Old 07/05/12, 04:11 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Ohio
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Why not run that 8" pipe uphill from the house. Cold air is heavier than hot air so it would travel downhill easier, and any water that condensed in the pipe would run out at the house. Condensed water in the pipe is essentially distilled water and should be ready for house hold use. catch it in a water tank and there you have. No energy used to get the cool air or the water. Except the digging of the ditch.

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  #7  
Old 07/05/12, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poorboy View Post
Put a buncha goodly sized pipe inna ground and suck air through it with a 12v fan powered by batteries and solar panels if you have real estate 'nough to do it..I've got this idea if i would bury 7" or8" dia. pipe 300 ft from house to down in the field that i could pull plenty of cool air in..Running it down hill away from the house would let the water that condensed outa the air run out in the field at the lower end...
That's normally accomplished by burying ducting in the ground. The problem is that there's no good way to clean the inside of a large amount of duct work, so it starts smelling musty from mold growth before long.
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  #8  
Old 07/05/12, 05:25 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada View Post
That's normally accomplished by burying ducting in the ground. The problem is that there's no good way to clean the inside of a large amount of duct work, so it starts smelling musty from mold growth before long.
What about earth tubes? People use them for preheating and cooling house air.
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  #9  
Old 07/05/12, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
What about earth tubes? People use them for preheating and cooling house air.
How do you clean them?
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  #10  
Old 07/05/12, 05:38 PM
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edcopp and Cliff like this.
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  #11  
Old 07/05/12, 06:42 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
Thank you! Although we have electricity, we are trying not to use it to save money.

Cooking outside seems like a good idea -- get rid of all that heat gain from the stove.

We tried the "water the roof" method two nights ago and did think it helped. But, we need to try it a few more times to "test" it good. We also wet down the ground all around the house for about 20 feet out. But, that would not work for those who have a water bill. We have an extra spring water cistern and so we were lucky to have the water. We thought it helped to wet the ground too.

We are cooking outside as much as we can. We have a wood fired cook top ( it is a dry stack with a metal top ) and a wood fired Oven (also a dry stack) and that really helps keep heat out of the house. We fire up the Oven or Cook Top a few hours before we want to cook, and then wait till after 6 PM to cook. We are able to open house up about 7 PM and by then the food is cooked.

Last night we had a whole rack of wet clothes drying on a wood dry rack. We did not put it outside since storms were predicted. I was watching TV and so I put the drying rack on the floor near me, turned a fan on Hi, and let the wet clothes cool me off since the air seemed cooler.

Thanks for the ideas and the link. We enjoy your site many times.

PS: We did try opening up the attic access door but that did not seem to work. The hot air just rushed downstairs. Even the night we waited till after 7 PM, then the hot air just seemed to come down rather than creating the "chimney" effect. Not sure why it did not work. We might try again using a fan at the bottom to push air up?
Hi,
I think the effectiveness of opening the attic hatch depends a lot on whether there is much wind and where its coming from. If there is a breeze and its blowing into the attic vents it overcomes the stack (hot air rises) effect pretty easily -- you might try it again when its calm just to see if it works.
I have heard from a couple people besides Fran who had good results.
I'd like to hear if it works (or not) when its calm out.

Ironically, we just had a power outage -- a car took out a utility pole about a mile from the house. Gives us a chance to try the ElecTrak for emergency power.

Gary
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  #12  
Old 07/05/12, 06:48 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
What about earth tubes? People use them for preheating and cooling house air.
There are a lot of ins and outs to using earth tubes successfully, but it is possible to make them so they don't collect water or mold.

Passive Cooling Techniques

The link to the REHAU stuff at the link above has a good design guide for earth tubes.

Gary
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  #13  
Old 07/05/12, 07:37 PM
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Just wanted to say thanks for your link, Gary. We're over three weeks into 100plus temps and my little window A/Cs aren't really keeping up. So I paged through for down-and-dirty ideas to keep the house cooler.
Tinfoil in the windows! How could I have forgotten that old trick?? Kids and I went through and tinfoiled the south windows and part of the east and west ones. Sure enough--marked difference.

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  #14  
Old 07/06/12, 08:39 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 3,100

Last night we tried opening the basement door. Our basement is partly finished (our Fisher wood stove is down there) and has a door going to the outside. The door opens to the shaded cooler side of the house.

Inside the house, the basement door to upstairs is centrally located into our main living room. Last night we just opened the outside basement door and opened up the door into the house too. We did not notice much difference except the stale basement odor coming up into the house. Did not notice much of a "sucking" effect either.

We will try opening up the attic tonight and see what happens. I don't remember if there was a breeze or not when we tried it before.

What has made a big difference is curtains. We usually do not have curtains since we are in the middle of the woods. We hung dark tapestries over the living room windows and that has helped.

Fans. I love my fans. We sit in front of a fan all afternoon while doing office work! I get the outside chores done early, then get back inside. We wait till after 7 PM to cook and are trying to cook outside over wood fire too.

Stay cool and safe everyone.

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