Breezes, how do they work?
July 5, 2014 10:51 AM Subscribe
Please explain to me how to maximize natural ventilation in my house.
posted by Lyn Never to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Circumstances: Los Angeles, the hot part. Today's forecast is for 85 degrees in the next hour, high of 89 at 4pm. Humidity is currently 33%, though it is disappointingly still. Indoor temperature is about 79, but thanks to fans and the low humidity and a pretty good shade barrier all around the house, we're both very comfortable in shorts right now.
House faces North, there are double front doors* and a sliding glass door directly opposite them on the south side, across an almost open plan high-ceilinged common area. Bedrooms along the east side have windows, master bedroom only has south windows. West side of house only has one window and it's right outside the neighbor's window so we never open it. All windows are shaded more or less appropriately, all are side-sliders and generously-sized (though that mostly means they're taller than fans). We rent and are on a tight budget, so major modifications are not an option.
We have central air, but it's pretty lackluster especially right at the hot part of the afternoon and on real muggy days. We own at least one of every kind of fan (except the 20" box, but I can remedy that in 10 minutes) - stand, clip, window-fitting, small box, tiny usb. No ceiling fans. There is an attic fan that seems to be doing what it's supposed to.
Normally, we just go outside around 5-6pm where we have a television and can plug in a fan if it's especially humid and we're fine. The temperature starts to drop as soon as the sun is gone, though this is the time of year when it only drops to the upper 60s by 4am rather than cooling off very fast to an appreciably chilly temperature. By the time we come in to go to bed around 10-11 the bedroom, at least, is usually livable with a fan.
But yesterday was humid, and we had to come inside with a couple of fireworks-traumatized dogs and it was gross in the living room but it was also pretty damn miserable in the bedroom so that we brought in extra fans and wet washcloths, and it didn't really get sheet-on-feet cool until after 2 even though it was in the mid-60s outside. (All through the evening the thermostat said it was in the mid-upper 80s in the house.)
I kept futzing with the windows, but I can't figure out best practices for the later half of the day. Should I close all but one window on the north side and one on the south (but in the bedroom there's no same-hallway north window because the front northeast corner is the garage)? Open them all? Open half of them and put fans in strategic places? Put a bed in the yard?
Note: the advice about opening all the windows in the morning and then closing them works fine through the early afternoon, but 4ish pm really seems to be the breaking point no matter what I do. Which I can live with for a couple of hours, so long as I can cool it off after dark.
*Difficulty: dogs who run away. I can build a barricade, but I probably can't rely on one full-time.