One of our first posts at the beginning of the summer was about not using air conditioning. We decided that we would not use any, if possible, over the course of the Houston 2012 summer. Now, with the first cool front pushing through, perhaps marking the end of summer, we can look back.
We did not use the air conditioning system at all when it was just us here. When we were out of town, though, we left it on for the house sitter; the thermostat then was set on 85 during the day and 80 at night. She said, with the fans, she found the house very comfortable. We also turned it on for a few dinners with guests – at least guests who aren’t used to our eccentricities. Our guess is that the air was turned on for a total of no more than 10 days during the course of the summer. Important to know: we have had our ceiling fans on almost constantly since it first got hot. We turn them off overnight, except the two in the bedroom, but during the day they’re pretty much running all the time.
So how did we fare? On the hottest days – around 100 outside – it was pretty warm inside, low- to mid-eighties downstairs and upper-eighties to ninety upstairs. We paid attention to the temperature, though, and as soon as the temp outside dropped to near the inside temperature, and our southerly evening breeze started, we opened the house up and found it easy to bring the temperature of the house down. Our morning routine was pretty much the opposite. By 9 am we closed the shades on the east side of the house to keep the sun out and reopened them after the sun was high enough. All the windows and the vent covers were closed early to keep the cool air in. Then by five or so in the evening, we opened up again. All in all it was very comfortable.
We were hot sometimes? Sure, but in our fourth summer in this house, we are finally pretty well adapted to summer with almost no air conditioning. Dress (or undress) for the heat, drink lots of fluids, use fans everywhere, learn to keep the sun out and the cool in, and don’t stress about it. Give it a try!