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Keeping Cool Off Grid

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
We live in a 2-story home w/o A/C.

What's the best energy efficient way to cool the house? Its ~83F inside & 71F outside at 10PM.

I read we can open windows in 1st floor to let the air circulate & cool the house... BUT I also read that could make bears curious. The property used to have a bear problem (pre-previous owners)... so I don't like that idea right now.

How do you keep cool off-grid?
post #2 of 9

Similar story here. What I do is open the couple first floor windows that I feel comfortable opening (house sits on a slope so the back of the first floor is elevated off the ground) and all the 2nd story ones. I live them open all night and then close first thing in the morning trapping the cool air inside. 

post #3 of 9

Closing the curtains (preferably really dark ones) on the side of the house that has direct sunlight can help.  Awnings can be helpful in a similar way.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Great ideas! I need to add more curtains... even if that would reduce the amount of sunlight coming in. We have a few large cedars & furs near the house... they provide shade... but, we were thinking of taking them down to install solar panels on roof. I am thinking this will not be a good idea now...

I was thinking of not using the stove/oven often during these days and am hoping the "hot" nights only last a short while here... like 1 week or 2.
post #5 of 9

I don't think you will be able to get by without opening windows.  You could install security grills on the windows if you really think it is necessary.  We open all our windows at night and shut the house up tight during the day (as long as it is hotter outside than in).  


As far as shade goes, western shade is the most important for cooling purposes, and eastern and northern shade is good too.  Southern shade actually doesn't do much for you during the hottest part of the summer since the sun is so high in the sky, and it is a definite draw-back in the winter - even deciduous trees will block 30% of your solar heat gain during the winter.  So you should be able to clear the trees on the south side of the house without impacting your summer temperatures significantly.  However, if the south is the ONLY side of the house that you do have trees, I would leave them just for the sake of having some shady yard space close to the house.  

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ahhh. Very, very good advice!

Two trees are southwest & two are southeast. We'll have to be selective to have both shade & solar on the southwest end. We may be able to keep both the southeast ones... DH says.
post #7 of 9

We've had that temp inside even with our AC going all day, getting down to 71 sounds luxurious to me. Open those windows on the shady side of the house and after dark, and use fans. You can repel bears from your property with ammonia soaked rags maybe. Attic vents or especially an attic fan will draw the heat out and cool air in like a chimney.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
*hehe* we are further north. Very hard to put the toddler to sleep at these temps. We do use a fan...(Vornado)... but I haven't checked if it is the most energy efficient. Vornado is definitely a good brand... does a very good job circulating the air (worth the $60). I'd hate to switch.

I don't think we have LowE windows either, so we covered them. It is still warm, but also the hottest its been in the area... so it's been going well... I think.

Ammonia - eh? I should check into that. I read that men's urine repels bears too... hmmmm.
post #9 of 9

This is exactly the subject I was hoping to find!


We live in the arid mountains of northern Ca and have been having temps in the 90's to low 100's and it is hard to keep our place livable in the afternoons/evenings. We just moved into a 30 ft yurt and re insulated our roof with the reflective bubble stuff, 2 layers and put R13 on the walls and covered it with wood siding and put in a ceiling fan and I can say that now the yurt definitely retains the heat! Which I'm sure we will be grateful for come winter but it seems like an oven in thereafter about 2 pm and stays hotter in there then outside temps until into the night. We don't have solid windows so the option of buttoning up in the a.m. is mute. I like the idea of heavy dark curtains though, good for both weather extremes. We have a dome that vents out the heat which we will cover come winter.


I just gave birth to our 2nd daughter 1 week ago and have a 2 year old and we pretty much vacate the yurt to the shade in the afternoons and that can be hard to not have the comforts of home (when you're nursing, pumping, supplementing for nb and mommying a toddler!)  I have been concerned about our little one getting too hot and keeping cool clothes on her and wetting her hair and keeping her well hydrated. And she seems to be doing well.


I have to wonder if the temps were this hot 100 years ago and beyond.. Because obviously native and pioneering babes endured the harsh weather conditions with out many comforts. My guess is they do what we do and live by the creeks and rivers and on those hot days set up day camps in at least 6 inches of water!


I also rec setting up a simple outdoor kitchen; propane burner and BBQ. Many meals can be made like this. Don't use your appliances that can heat up your house, who wants cakes and casseroles when it's 100 degrees anyway! Go to the garden for fresh salads. We have a basic solar oven and when I'm on it, I throw quinoa, beans, bells, onions, greens, spices etc.. in the night before to let them soak and put in the sun oven in the morning and we have a delicious nutritious meal in the evening. I have also made chili in one and corn bread in another, or soups or anything you would crock pot. That way you don't have to cook or do dishes at the heat of the day.


Lets here some more tips on keeping kids cool and entertained in the heat..

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