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Jilly Offline OP
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polyGeek, I am hugely impressed with your fortitude. Florida is humid! How are you handling the humidity? Is turning on the AC for a short time sufficient for cooling things off enough?

I think that's a great idea to use the AC to take the edge off. i am sorry about the spiders. smile

It sounds like you are using the AC like I use my fridge - i try to keep it from going on at all, and then when it does kick in, It just normalizes the cool temps i need.

YES on the PC being a heater! I've been trying not to use any heater type things inside - no coffeepots or such, but with the computer i need to be inside where it is cool. At least my netbook makes a small draw. The external monitor is something I might want to consider avoiding if it gets to the high 90s, though.

Has it got to the 100s yet? I don't know much about florida summers but my guess they are worse than AZ summers.

You are lucky the space you live in is pretty much self contained; you're free to experiment without worrying about the rest of the household. I bet you could get your garage going on solar if you wanted to. Or running on a wind turbine? I don't know what kind of wind you have there, but my guess is there's plenty of sunshine. laugh

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Jilly Offline OP
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Kay, i'd love an underground home. Whenever i get a chance to tour one, I love it. I've seen a few and they are always so calm and cool. I also like the idea of a Hobbit hole. COZY.

It's a good fantasy.

I have a book called something like Build an Underground Home for $50. It was written in the 70s but it has some really good ideas, and plans for expanding from the small space they start you out with.

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Jilly Offline OP
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I really wanted to thank everyone for participating in this discussion. It's a topic i am very interested in exploring.

Where I live in the desert Southwest, people have lived for thousands of years without AC. From studying their living choices, architectural features and chosen home locations, I don't think they suffered greatly from the heat. The peoples lived in river valleys, within shaded rock alcoves and within thick cool insulated adobe walls with excellent cross breeze placement.

They had water filled earthen pots places in hot doorways to make a swamp cooler effect. They cooked outside. They took cold dips in the streams. They would lie low in the hottest hours and work hard in the cool mornings and evenings. None of this sounds terrible to me. smile

In our society, every summer people die of hyperthermia in uncooled apartments. I can't help but think we are doing it wrong. frown

In any case, all this is my disclaimer about tomorrow. It's supposed to be 102. I really hope to NOT turn the AC on yet. I was thinking it wouldn't be that hot until late june. This has been a record setting heat month.

It seems to stay cool enough with my techniques until 2-5pm, when all the leftover night coolness seems to be totally replaced with hot air from outside.

I actually will be out of the house by 2:30pm, so this might work fine for me. I won't be back until 9pm or so. One of my techniques is avoiding the heat entirely. This isn't cheating. If it was good enough for the Anasazi and Sinagua peoples, it's good enough for me.

Anyway, here's the total plan - windows open all night with fans blowing cool air inside. Shades open. Door open. In the AM shut the door, shut all windows but the ones I crack with a fan to keep a cross breeze going. Shades shut.

Do not cook inside. The coffee pot and hot plate are on the patio.

Lights off unless I am doing something that requires task lighting. No incandescent (heat-making) bulbs ever.

No hot showers that will create indoor heat. A cool afternoon shower is always lovely when it gets warm. I can use cold washcloths from my freezer for my neck if i need to, and if i go outside. There is a fan at my desk that blows across my face.

Drink lots of cool water.

I am also thinking to wet down a sheet and hang it over the window i have my fan in, to create a free evaporative swamp cooler effect. I can try adding more wet towels to my desk area and see if that helps too.

Okay. This is my plan. I will report! Remember, I hate being hot and melty. I am not some special Amazon woman who shrugs off the heat! smile




Last edited by Jilly; 05/21/12 01:53 AM.
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The last two days have been 103 and 100, and I feel fine inside. I have three fans running - one in the window, one in the middle of the room and one on my face at the desk. I am surprised at how comfortable it is in my studio.

If I go outside i immediately feel the heat rushing in the door, and if i am out for more than a few minutes it starts getting uncomfortable. But then i can come back into my cool, shaded studio and my body temps starts going back immediately to comfortable.

I wonder how long I am actually go without AC? It's over 100 now, so i reached my goal. It's still cool at night, and that must be what is making the difference.

Once it gets hot at night, I will probably have to succumb to the temptation. Hopefully that is a month or two off from now. I like my $5 electrical bills!

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Wow, do you really have $5 electricity bill? I'm jealous. I do like to try to reduce our A/C use by opening the house up at night and then closing it up during the day.

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Hi Dannica! Yes, my electric use was only $5.66 last month. With taxes and fees and my low-income discount (30% off), my total bill this month was $13.36.

I am told that the taxes and fees alone, even if the circuit breaker is off all month, is still $10. With my 30% low income discount, the very least I can see having a monthly bill with my electric company (APS) will be $7. That is the lowest actual bill i can shoot for. I have no control over the service charges, unfortunately. frown

For my own purposes I am measuring how many watts I use, since I do have total control of this part!

That is fantastic you are using the natural temperature of the landscape! Opening and closing up the house is such a simple and free way to cool things down. smile

Last edited by Jilly; 05/27/12 11:12 PM.
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Update: I've actually had a few hundred degree days here, but i haven't felt i needed to turn on the AC yet. I think it's b/c the nights are still nice and cool, and this keeps the studio comfortable until late afternoon/evening. And by that point it's cool enough outside to be outside. smile

So there is still no AC use happening here. When the nights start to get hot, I will see how little i can get away with using the AC to take the edge off. Or just leave to camp at elevation instead.

I think, more than anything, it's going to be the gnats that make me leave for the summer.

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This useful forum has a comment with an idea i've been kicking around - wetting down sheets to make a swamp cooler effect:

Cheap RV Living

Quote:
My ex-husband and I lived in a tiny third floor walk up with no AC. We used to take our spare sheets and wet them/ wring out then hang them with a fan aimed at them - one in each room we wanted cooled down. It worked well enough for us to be comfortable.

Wearing damp socks with a fan aimed at them will also lower your body temperature. We use this method with animals who are suffering heat exhaustion. We soak their paws with alcohol. (Please do not douse your socks in alcohol and walk near any fire source - use water on your socks!)


I do like the socks idea, too. Had not thought of that. It sounds a little damply unpleasant, but if it was hot enough, it might feel great.

The same thread has a cheap recipe below that quote for making a cold pack from dish soap. Actually, it seems to be green dish soap in a baggie, with another baggie. I don't know why the dish soap has to be green. But it seems like a frugal way to make your own chillable ice packs to sleep with or sit with. smile

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Jilly Offline OP
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This sciency type article discusses the different natural cooling methods available in the Southwest USA: AZ Solar Center

Things mentioned are radiative, evaporative, convective, and passive solar cooling, and also managing solar gain.

What I found interesting was the idea behind radiative cooling. It seems to use the blackness/coldness of space to radiate cold air to a "water pond" film.

Specifically,
Quote:
At night. panels are rolled back, exposing the ponds to the black body of the night sky and to the cooler night air and breeze. The ponds lose heat by radiation to the night sky and by natural convection to the air. Roof pond systems are particularly effective in regions of low humidity and clear summer nights.


It sounds like something a science fiction space station would do. I guess it's the opposite of solar heating (ie - solar radiation). I've never heard this mentioned before. Interesting. cool

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Today I put the AC on. I feel kind of bad about it, since my expectation was that I hoped to wait until the monsoon season beginning in July.

Here is what happened: It was 106 outside and I was prepared to wait it out with my techniques. I woke up with a female problem that kept me in bed, and I also had a friend visit from out of town. I didn't want my friend to be uncomfortable, so i decided to try the AC. With feeling sick, I didn't have the energy to use all the techniques to keep it cool in here and knowing it was 106 outside, I gave myself a pass.

I put the AC unit on Low and set it for Energy Saver mode.

It really feels delicious, but i don't want to make this a habit until it really does get out of control hot here. The nights are still in the 60s and that cools things down tremendously.

Tonite i will turn the unit off and go back to fans until - hopefully - July. Or at least late June. At least May just squeaked by without it!

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