How to cool an area in a loft with no windows?!!
September 9, 2012 10:59 PM   Subscribe

How to cool a small area of a giant loft with no windows?

I think our loft is about 1200 sq. ft. and our bedroom is upstairs, with no windows, vents, etc. It is semi-secluded with a half wall. It is costing our life savings to cool this apartment during the night just for that small area. In LA it gets VERY hot and I've tried just a fan and i wake up sweaty.

Fans blowing violent air harder on me won't really work or help me sleep. I need a more creative solution. I've seen those "under the cover" fans that might work though?

Swamp coolers are rather messy but I'm leaning towards that but not sure if with only half a wall it will help.
posted by JJkiss to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have to sleep upstairs? Heat is going to rise... maybe downstairs by a window would be better?
posted by sbutler at 11:49 PM on September 9, 2012

Could you use a box fan to blow cold air up or warm air down? Say, pointed down, half-hanging off the upstairs balcony, running earlier in the evening? That would help fight the stratified temperature. Especially if you have a helper fan in one window, and a second window open as well.

Or a ceiling fan, if you're not renting?

As a stopgap measure, I'd simply get a (traditional-type) japanese futon which can be tucked away in the daytime, and just sleep on it on the ground floor.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:54 PM on September 9, 2012

Can you complete the wall in of your sleeping area with a thermal/insulated curtain and then put a portable air conditioner inside it with the heat sink (if you use one that requires one) running to your outside window?

It seems like it would be noisy to me, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
posted by bswinburn at 12:08 AM on September 10, 2012

I don't think you'll be able to cool your bedroom without any vent of some sort.

Think of it this way: your body is a giant furnace/heat machine, creating energy (food) into heat. You're sleeping in an enclosed room. The heat needs a way to escape -- and it won't through a decently insulating layer of drywall, air pocket, and drywall. If you have no windows or vents, then your body-furnace will just keep on driving the temperature up.

You could either get a self-enclosed cooling system (such as a portable evaporative cooler), or you could get a portable air conditioner, drill a vent to your outside loft, and then just cool the apartment itself during the day. Or even drill a vent to an outside window, etc.
posted by suedehead at 1:04 AM on September 10, 2012

Are there vents or windows that open elsewhere in the apartment? What are typical summer humidity levels in your area?

Today's LA forecast puts humidity at 68%, but I suspect that's a very rough number and will vary depending on where you are in the city. At that RH, a swamp cooler probably won't do much for you. Furthermore, swamp coolers add water to the air and cease to be effective as the air becomes saturated, so it's no use running one inside a sealed space for long.

Since it's so hard to remove heat from this space (the whole apartment, not the loft specifically), you might think about how heat is getting in there in the first place. Are you directly under an uninsulated roof that could be cheaply insulated? Are there big, sun-facing windows that need reflective blinds or curtains?
posted by jon1270 at 3:10 AM on September 10, 2012

Sleep downstairs during the warm weather.

Also, find a way to vent the ceiling down to a window using a fan and a length of flexible ducting. Hot air always wants to rise, so you want a fan sucking the hottest (highest) air down from your bedroom ceiling to the nearest window below. Then cooler air will rise to replace the air your blow out the window. It probably could be a relatively quiet and gentle flow if this is a small space. It might leave your apartment looking like a set from Brazil, but you could play with it to make it look cool.

But obviously the best solution is to install a window or vent. Totally passive, quiet, and cost-free after installation. Not possible?
posted by pracowity at 3:20 AM on September 10, 2012

Just thinking aloud, but could you buy some air conditioning conduit piping (the aluminium accordion type - no idea on cost per metre) and run it from a cooler point of your house with the fan attached at the bottom somehow to blow the cool air along it. It could blow that air all the way up to your duvet cover, which would (without the duvet) turn into a cool-air-filled pillow. Duct tape could be your friend for all these temporary air-duct joints. Cool air should leak out of the duvet cover (or cut a few vents on the underside of an old one) and cool you. The noise of the fan would not disturb you as it's not in your room.

May be a total fail, but it might just be the best thing in local air conditioning. You'll never know unless you try it.
posted by guy72277 at 4:37 AM on September 10, 2012

Have you considered a ductless air conditioner / mini-split system?
posted by bwilms at 4:57 AM on September 10, 2012

Just thinking aloud, but could you buy some air conditioning conduit piping

That's pretty much what I was describing, only my method sucks and your method blows.
posted by pracowity at 7:13 AM on September 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

L.A. might be dry enough for a swamp cooler. It is possible to buy portable ones. They work great in the right climates. I have used a portable one. Just make sure you keep it super clean so you don't get sick from it.
posted by Michele in California at 7:53 AM on September 10, 2012

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