Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Naturally Cool

The heat has come a lot sooner than expected and by certain predictions, it’s here to stay.  You can save money and resources by reducing cooling times and costs, as well as increasing efficiency and longevity of appliances.


  • Natural methods like convection, shade, fans and design were the only cooling systems until the 1970’s when air conditioning came in and we lost all common sense.
    • Let cool air in from below, and warm air out above.  19th century designs like transom windows above doors would allow just that.
    • Close drapes and shades on the sunny sides.
    • Close windows in the morning and open them when the temperature inside is more than outside.  This works better when passive solar is reduced, like using drapes or shades.
    • Use a screen door on the basement bulkhead and open basement windows. This will help draw cool basement air through the house.
    • Open the top sash of the window.  Hot air is at the ceiling, so let it get out.
    • Allow a cross breeze through the house.
    • Fans
      • A thermostatically controlled attic fan is one of the best mechanically efficient ways to cool a house.  It draws air out of a hot attic and cooler air into the windows below.  Some can be installed right behind existing gable louvered vents.
      • Ceiling fans help move around air and keep your body cool.
      • Install window unit air conditioners correctly.
        • Properly size the unit for the space.
        • Use a fan to move around air from room to room.
        • Pitch the air conditioner down from inside to outside so it drains well.  Make sure the unit’s drain holes are open if they have them.
        • Do not rest an air conditioner on a storm window.  Put a 2×4 the width of the opening on the flat under the unit, on top of the interior sill.
        • Seal the unit best you can.  Use foam air conditioner weather stripping, rags, towels, whatever.  Use at the meeting rail of the upper and lower sashes.
        • Check and clean filters regularly.
        • Forced air systems.
          • Shade your compressor.
          • Seal ducts.
          • Ducts should be inspected every year.  According to the EPA, if “you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth), having your air ducts cleaned is probably unnecessary…..[although] if family members are experiencing unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. EPA has published Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals and The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.”  You can go to http://epa.gov/iaq/pubs/airduct.html#deciding.
          • Landscaping
            • Trees and shrubs can shade your house and keep it cool.  You should be able to walk around the house without obstruction, so the house does not retain excess moisture.  Keep tree limbs at least 10 feet away from the house, that’s a squirrel’s leap.
            • Cooking & Cleaning
              • Stoves and ovens add heat.  Barbeque often, or cook later or earlier in the day.  Use the stove vent to expel warm air, as long as the vent actually goes outside.
              • Use the dishwasher at night.  Its cheaper energy anyway.
              • Insulation
                • For summer, insulating the attic is the best thing.  Most roofs are dark and add significant radiant heat to the house.


Other warm weather considerations:

  • Clean and inspect your furnace now, before you need it again.
  • Clean and inspect your flues, at least annually.  Refer to your chimney sweep for proper maintenance.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Inspect you house for new damage.  If you cannot remember, take a picture for next year.

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