Author Topic: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions  (Read 5648 times)

MarieB

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Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« on: June 12, 2016, 07:13:59 AM »
My husband and I started reading this forum back in September.  The articles on air conditioning were all well and good until we got back around to summer, at which point we have run into some practical considerations (and disagreements) on which I am hoping to receive some input from some Mustachians who have already struggled with these issues.
1. The other day, it was 78 in our house and the butter I pulled out of the fridge was a little soft on the corners.  Fridge temp was 44, so I kicked on the a/c for the first time this summer to help out the fridge a little.  Is our poor old fridge simply getting weak, or does anyone else have issues with the fridge not staying cool enough when they keep their house warmer?
2. We live out of town, so we do our grocery shopping once a week when we are in town for church.  We buy too much fruit and too many vegetables to keep it all in the fridge, so both fridge drawers are veggie drawers and the fruit sits in bowls on the counter.  With the higher heat/humidity, though, the softer fruits seem to be spoiling/ripening a little faster and more likely to end up with fuzzy white spots. We also sometimes have store-bought bread (hot dog and hamburger buns - I bake our normal bread) that we don't put in the fridge, and I keep expecting it to be growing something when I get it out.  Any suggestions on how to keep food from having issues?
3. The toddler and I stay home during the day, so we play/work outside and get used to the warmer temperatures and a house that heats up to 78, but my husband works in an air-conditioned office building, so when he gets home, he thinks it is hot, because he doesn't really have an opportunity to adjust to the summer heat.  It doesn't help that the humidity starts to build up in the house by then, so even with fans it is sometimes starting to feel hot to me, too.  How have you used the a/c less when spending all day outside is not an option?
4. The first week of June, it was still getting down to 60 overnight, so if I opened the windows and turned on the house fan in the morning, I could get the house down to 68 before the outside temp started going up, and the house would only get up to about 76 by evening, even though outside it was low 90s.  Now it is only getting down to 70, and since it is still 80 when we go to bed, we don't open the windows in the evening, so I can't cool it off as much.  Also, since we have now run the a/c some, my husband thinks we should not be letting in the humidity from outside that the a/c will have to suck back out.  In addition, his dad (an electrician) says he has found that in his area, his a/c works less hard if he sets it at a temperature and then just leaves it, since the real killer for the a/c is if he lets any humidity get back into the air.  Because our house gets humid by evening even without opening the windows (I used the a/c to drop the temp from 78 to 74 yesterday morning, then turned it off the rest of the day, and it was 79, muggy, and less comfortable than the 89 outside by evening), he thinks we need to set the a/c at some temperature and just leave it on so the humidity doesn't build up.  I think the a/c won't draw out enough humidity set at 78 all day because it won't run enough in one session to do much good - and then I have to deal with 78 all day, instead of only in the afternoon after I have (preferably with the outside air) cooled it off in the morning and then let it slowly heat back up.  Then if I kick the a/c on when he is on his way home from work, it can draw out the humidity then and keep things in the house from getting too moist.  I figure that will use less electricity than leaving it on all the time at a high temperature, even with the humidity making it run longer the once or twice we run it.  Does anyone have any real data on this to give us advice?

Btw, we live in Kansas, so we will probably be having 100+ days before the summer is over - can't remember what it gets down to at night by that point.

Thanks!

Rezdent

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 07:54:20 AM »
Hi MariaB
Welcome.

I don't have suggestions for everything but I live in Central Texas without AC.

1.  Our fridge stays very cold (~36F) even when the temps in our kitchen are over 100F so I would check into that. I would start by cleaning/defrosting and vacuuming the coils.  Also check that the thermostat wasn't bumped or anything.

2.  Heat does cause the life cycles of fruits and vegetables to speed up. Softer fruits and vegetables can go pretty quickly in the heat.  I lean towards harder items (apples instead of plums) and ladder everything (eat the more fragile things first).  Heat hasn't affected our bread.

3.  Yep.  Working in AC sucks.  I used to work in a building that was kept at 60F year-round.  Walking out of that building to 100 at 5pm was like being smacked in the face with an oven.
I started over dressing for work so that I was warmer, then peeling out of the clothes asap when I walked out.  I spend more time without AC than with, but it takes longer to acclimate.

4.  No real data.  Humidity has been high here (+90%).  We do turn on the house fan in the evenings before bed so that it will be on when temps fall at night.  I will often turn it on during high day temps too, especially if I am cooking or house seems stale.

I am not sure what it is about the humidity that is troublesome?

Dicey

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 09:24:55 AM »
Wow, Central Texas without A/C. Badass indeed.

Rezdent

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2016, 10:08:43 AM »
Wow, Central Texas without A/C. Badass indeed.
Thanks DianeC.  I'm not sure it qualifies for badass - people have lived in Central Texas for thousands of years.  AC has ony been common for about fifty years.  Most people have forgotten that it is a luxury.

It's already 91F today.  It feels really warm to me, but by August this would feel like a really nice day.

letired

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2016, 10:40:37 AM »
Wow, Central Texas without A/C. Badass indeed.
Thanks DianeC.  I'm not sure it qualifies for badass - people have lived in Central Texas for thousands of years.  AC has ony been common for about fifty years.  Most people have forgotten that it is a luxury.

It's already 91F today.  It feels really warm to me, but by August this would feel like a really nice day.

I grew up in the Ohio River Valley without AC, but even I can't do central Texas without AC! Kudos!

I also work in a building that is AC'd to hell and back. To help me acclimate, I wear light weight stuff for walking to the building, and I bundle up as soon as I stop sweating. That seems to have helped a bit. I've had more trouble acclimating to the heat this summer, so I've taken it slowly. I have my thermostat up to 79 when I'm around/sleeping.

For food, I keep as much of it in the fridge as I have room for.

geekette

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2016, 11:55:21 AM »
Our house is at 78 minimum, but the fridge has no trouble keeping up.

Bread in the freezer. It thaws quite quickly at those temps!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2016, 12:50:13 PM »
I live in SE Texas, so humidity is horrible and the heat is usually surface of the sun temps during summer. :D

We usually run our A/C during the evening hours. We turn it on a few hours after the sun sets to cool the house down enough for sleeping. During the day, it is off unless we're roasting inside (above 85˚F). We've got ceiling fans in every room and use them during the day. I don't open windows once it's hot tho, and I definitely keep the shades and thermal curtains closed to block as much heat as possible.

We looked up the whole energy efficiency stuff about leaving the A/C on at a higher temp all day as opposed to just turning it off and then turning it on during the evening... and it makes much more sense to turn it off and leave it if no one is home or until it gets uncomfortable. If we aren't home (or outside in the yard or whatever), A/C is off to save money. It doesn't have to kick on constantly throughout the day that way trying to maintain a specific humidity/temperature.  http://class5energy.com/blog/myth-busters-8-ideas-about-energy-efficiency-debunked/

We put bread in the freezer, fruits and veggies in the fridge. The butter issue sounds like there might be something wrong with your fridge, since there is no way that moderate heat on the outside should be effecting anything stored inside a closed fridge. Agree with the suggestion to check the settings and clean the coils. You can also buy frozen fruit (berries and such) and you can freeze berries as well if you get a good deal on fresh ones. Frozen banana chips or refrigerated watermelon are awesome in the summer! :D

Suggest to your husband that he maybe try going without A/C in the car on the trip home to acclimate to the hot weather as a transition to arriving home so home doesn't feel so uncomfortable to him? When we both used to work in an office, they would freeze you to death and I remember having to have an office sweater just to keep from shivering... really sucked coming out into the heat after working inside an icebox all day! I used to drive home with the windows all rolled down, no A/C and actually enjoyed sweating at that point since I was so cold from being at work all day, and by the time I got home, I wasn't too upset about the temperature inside the house. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 12:52:38 PM by Frankies Girl »

MarieB

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2016, 12:34:20 PM »
Oops... I thought I would get an email if there were any replies on this.  Good thing I decided to check anyway today!

I don't remember exactly when my parents bought this fridge (we're in their old house), but based on my memories of my dad changing the handle side when installing it, I'm pretty sure it's about 20 years old.  So it wouldn't surprise me if it is getting weak, and even if it isn't, a newer fridge would probably be more efficient, anyway.  I just don't like spending that much money in one shot, so I've been resisting. :-)

Between the milk for the toddler and myself, the random stuff in the door (I really need to see if we can clean any of that out...), and the week's groceries, we don't have room in the fridge for the fruit. :-(. I have been trying to work through the softer fruits first, but the toddler does a better job of actually EATING instead of simply chewing up the softer fruits than the apples.

I have been experimenting this week with half gallon jugs of ice that I set under a ceiling fan or on the counter in the bathroom (silly thing has no exhaust vent, so it gets a bit humid during the course of the day, and we are potty training), which helps slow down the rate at which the house heats and does a pretty good job of sucking out extra moisture in the air, making the house more tolerable at higher temperatures so that we usually don't kick on the a/c until the little one goes to bed (don't want to roast him!). I'm a little concerned, though, about whether or not I am simply trading a/c watts for freezer watts - and possibly overworking our upright freezer by making it run that often.

I think I'm going to experiment with opening the windows and running the house fan in the mornings next week on days it cools off enough - we had a couple this week that never got below 77 - to see if the humidity I suck in is as big of a deal as my husband thinks it will be.  After all, I'm the one who's home all day and has to deal with it! ;-)

Frankies Girl, when you buy fresh berries and freeze, are you prepping them at all (slicing, putting in sugar, etc), or just putting the containers straight into the freezer?  Are the frozen banana chips dried sliced banana that you froze, or just sliced banana?

Thanks!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2016, 02:14:18 PM »
Oops... I thought I would get an email if there were any replies on this.  Good thing I decided to check anyway today!

I don't remember exactly when my parents bought this fridge (we're in their old house), but based on my memories of my dad changing the handle side when installing it, I'm pretty sure it's about 20 years old.  So it wouldn't surprise me if it is getting weak, and even if it isn't, a newer fridge would probably be more efficient, anyway.  I just don't like spending that much money in one shot, so I've been resisting. :-)

Between the milk for the toddler and myself, the random stuff in the door (I really need to see if we can clean any of that out...), and the week's groceries, we don't have room in the fridge for the fruit. :-(. I have been trying to work through the softer fruits first, but the toddler does a better job of actually EATING instead of simply chewing up the softer fruits than the apples.

I have been experimenting this week with half gallon jugs of ice that I set under a ceiling fan or on the counter in the bathroom (silly thing has no exhaust vent, so it gets a bit humid during the course of the day, and we are potty training), which helps slow down the rate at which the house heats and does a pretty good job of sucking out extra moisture in the air, making the house more tolerable at higher temperatures so that we usually don't kick on the a/c until the little one goes to bed (don't want to roast him!). I'm a little concerned, though, about whether or not I am simply trading a/c watts for freezer watts - and possibly overworking our upright freezer by making it run that often.

I think I'm going to experiment with opening the windows and running the house fan in the mornings next week on days it cools off enough - we had a couple this week that never got below 77 - to see if the humidity I suck in is as big of a deal as my husband thinks it will be.  After all, I'm the one who's home all day and has to deal with it! ;-)

Frankies Girl, when you buy fresh berries and freeze, are you prepping them at all (slicing, putting in sugar, etc), or just putting the containers straight into the freezer?  Are the frozen banana chips dried sliced banana that you froze, or just sliced banana?

Thanks!

I buy frozen fruit primarily from places like Aldi (they sell big bags of berries and stuff in the freezer section), but if there is something like a sale on fresh raspberries and I want to stock up, I lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them for about an hour, then take the frozen berries and put them in a freezer bag. Larger things like strawberries or bananas - cut them into chunks (remove the stems and cut larger berries in half), and throw the tray/sheet into the freezer for a hour or two. Laying them out allows them to freeze individually so they don't form a big clump in a bag.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2016, 02:34:03 PM by Frankies Girl »

Cranky

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2016, 04:05:25 PM »
78 degrees is the a/c temp when I turn the a/c on (which is when the outside temps are high 80's or into the 90's.) My refrigerator maintains it's constant 38 degrees just fine, so I'm guessing that a fridge that has problems with that is generally having problems. I'd look around for a new fridge fairly soon.

I grew up in Florida without a/c, and I'm pretty hardy about heat. I had two babies when we lived in Miami and had no a/c, and my dh - who worked in a/c - was much, much hotter than we were, because we were just used to it.

I like summer. I dress lightly. We mostly cook outside and eat a lot of salad.

Also, I have one million raspberries from the 3 canes I planted a few years ago. I just toss the days' crop into a ziploc bag and put it into the freezer. They come apart just fine once they are frozen. This year I had less than a month between the end of the frozen berries and picking the new ones.

lizzzi

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2016, 04:25:35 PM »
It may be time for a new refrigerator. It should be staying colder, no matter what the temp is in your house. I was taught that for food safety, refrigerator temps should be between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not sure if this comment belongs on this thread, but I have found that linen, flax, or rayon clothing is far more comfortable in a hot, humid climate than cotton...with the possible exception of cotton gauze. I am pretty much a northern person, so it took me a while to figure this out.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2016, 05:02:41 PM »
I live in SE Texas, so humidity is horrible and the heat is usually surface of the sun temps during summer. :D


We looked up the whole energy efficiency stuff about leaving the A/C on at a higher temp all day as opposed to just turning it off and then turning it on during the evening... and it makes much more sense to turn it off and leave it if no one is home or until it gets uncomfortable. If we aren't home (or outside in the yard or whatever), A/C is off to save money. It doesn't have to kick on constantly throughout the day that way trying to maintain a specific humidity/temperature.  http://class5energy.com/blog/myth-busters-8-ideas-about-energy-efficiency-debunked/



I was confronted with this same issue, but instead of lookking it up, I tested it empirically by trying both methods. The clear winner, by a longshot, was to turn off the A/C all day and just put it on before we went to sleep to get the temp down to reasonable level. Our home is 2100 ft2 with central AC in socal. I also use window venting at night to moderate interior temps, but at some point in the summer it becomes impossible.  Regarding your fridge, I have never in my life had a fridge not keep temp, no matter how hot it was in the house, unless the fridge was broken/breaking down.

Dicey

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2016, 06:38:22 AM »
I'm pretty sure it's about 20 years old.  So it wouldn't surprise me if it is getting weak, and even if it isn't, a newer fridge would probably be more efficient, anyway.  I just don't like spending that much money in one shot, so I've been resisting. :-

Sorry to start with harsh, but penny wise, meet pound foolish. Your twenty year old fridge is an energy hog. Replace it immediately. I'd go so far as to suggest that the energy savings would even be worth buying on credit, which hurts just to type. If pennies are precious, put the word out that you need a replacement. Someone remodeling a kitchen may have a perfectly good, newer one that works fine but just doesn't "match". Secret source : Realtors. They always know who just bought a house to flip, or who has one and another came with the house. If you wait until your dinosaur craps out completely, at your temps, all the food will spoil before you can replace it. Time to make a pro-active move.

Quote
Between the milk for the toddler and myself...and the week's groceries, we don't have room in the fridge for the fruit.
Get a bigger one, using the techniques above. Adequate storage is more efficient. Prevents food spoilage  + fewer trips to the store. Win/win.

Quote
I have been experimenting this week with half gallon jugs of ice that I set under a ceiling fan or on the counter in the bathroom... I'm a little concerned, though, about whether or not I am simply trading a/c watts for freezer watts - and possibly overworking our upright freezer by making it run that often.
This is pure genius. Bonus, a full freezer is actually more efficient, so freeze without fear.

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Frankies Girl, when you buy fresh berries and freeze, are you...putting in sugar?

NOOOOO! Break yourself of this bad habit now! Fruit IS sugar. Do not add more. Feeding a toddler sweetened fruit makes them accustomed to artificially high level of sweetness, and has negative long term health  implications.  +1 to Frankie's fruit freezing tips.

Quote
Are the frozen banana chips dried sliced banana that you froze, or just sliced banana?
I feel my answers might have sounded a little harsh, so I'll end with a sweet treat:

Cut and freeze 3/4" banana chunks -  the riper, the better. Toss the frozen chunks in the food processor (best) or blender. Add a little vanilla plus just enough milk or water to get the blades to turn, then let the machine spin like crazy (a minute or more, really puree it). Eventually, the bananas will look like soft serve ice cream (thicker than a smoothie). It's cheap, fast, easy, cold, delicious, with no added sugar. A Mustachian bowl of heaven.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2016, 01:05:06 PM »
Yeah, I'm in the camp of thinking that there's something wrong with your fridge.  The inside temp should never be as high as 44.  Actually, the ideal temp is 35-38, as bacteria growth starts tripling around 40.  http://www.thekitchn.com/at-what-temperature-should-my-refrigerator-be-set-tips-from-the-kitchn-171174

I live in the south where there is high heat and humidity in the summer.  I keep my condo at 75-78, and because it faces south, I keep some blinds closed throughout the day.  I also run the overhead ceiling fans pretty much all the time.  My fridge stays at a constant 38.

If I were you, I would replace that fridge right away.  Although there will obviously be an upfront cost, there are ways to reduce it, plus I bet you will end up saving substantially on energy.  Not to mention the health hazard of having your dairy and meats stored at such a warm temperature as you have now.  I remember there was a thread on here somewhere by people who had gotten *new* fridges pretty cheaply, such as looking at craigslist in upper class neighborhoods -- i.e., people selling practically new and very nice fridges for beans because they want to upgrade to the latest and greatest.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2016, 01:11:28 PM by LeRainDrop »

Kroaler

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2016, 01:05:18 PM »
Fridges are available all day on craigslist.   Give it a look.       Rent the little trailer and appliance dolly from home depot for the day for like 15$ to move it!

MarieB

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2016, 01:18:20 PM »
Sorry to start with harsh, but penny wise, meet pound foolish. Your twenty year old fridge is an energy hog. Replace it immediately...Get a bigger one, using the techniques above. Adequate storage is more efficient. Prevents food spoilage  + fewer trips to the store. Win/win.

Drives my husband crazy - even if I readily admit the math shows it makes sense, I get sticker shock.  The idea of spending upwards of $1k on a single item makes me hyperventilate (not literally)! :-).

He actually wants to get a smaller fridge for the higher efficiency (a bigger one wouldn't fit, anyway), but possibly convert the freezer portion to a fridge by turning up the temperature, thus effectively giving us more fridge space while using less electricity.

Quote
Quote
I have been experimenting this week with half gallon jugs of ice that I set under a ceiling fan or on the counter in the bathroom... I'm a little concerned, though, about whether or not I am simply trading a/c watts for freezer watts - and possibly overworking our upright freezer by making it run that often.
This is pure genius. Bonus, a full freezer is actually more efficient, so freeze without fear.
My concern is more that I think it ran for 24 hours straight the other day. :-) But I hadn't been wiping the condensation off the bottles before I put them back in, so I may have run into a long-running defrost cycle or something.

Quote

NOOOOO! Break yourself of this bad habit now! Fruit IS sugar. Do not add more. Feeding a toddler sweetened fruit makes them accustomed to artificially high level of sweetness, and has negative long term health  implications.
The (admittedly old) freezing and canning book I read at some point in the past made it sound as if berries HAD to be packed in sugar for them to be preserved properly.  Made for a syrupy mess when I tried it with some strawberries a few years ago, so I haven't done it since.  Since it sounded like Frankies Girl had something more palatable (and effectively preserved) going, I was curious what she was doing.

Don't worry, unadulterated fruit is probably the sweetest thing my little one eats most of the time. :-) We cook from scratch and don't really have a concept of "dessert".

Thanks for the tip on the bananas!

I remember there was a thread on here somewhere by people who had gotten *new* fridges pretty cheaply, such as looking at craigslist in upper class neighborhoods -- i.e., people selling practically new and very nice fridges for beans because they want to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

Haha...we don't really have neighborhoods like that around here. :-)  I wish that was an option, though!

And for those of you who are concerned, the fridge hasn't stayed at the higher temperature - it pulled itself back down and has been maintaining normal temperatures since, so my food hasn't been sitting in a warm refrigerator for over a week. ;-). It's just a sign, apparently, that we need to get a little more serious about finding a replacement!

oblivo

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2016, 02:17:33 PM »
Plant fast-growing trees on the south and west side of your house if possible... it makes a huge difference.

mjones1234

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2016, 02:57:10 PM »
I used to get good results by rolling a small dehumidifier in the room where we'd spend time. Set it to 50% or lower and it will suck up the moisture until it begins feeling better.
Now, me moved up to a larger unit and its made a dramatic difference. We keep our AC at around 78 and it feels good. I grew up in Kansas and do remember how humid it could be.

robartsd

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2016, 03:25:56 PM »
Sorry to start with harsh, but penny wise, meet pound foolish. Your twenty year old fridge is an energy hog. Replace it immediately...Get a bigger one, using the techniques above. Adequate storage is more efficient. Prevents food spoilage  + fewer trips to the store. Win/win.

Drives my husband crazy - even if I readily admit the math shows it makes sense, I get sticker shock.  The idea of spending upwards of $1k on a single item makes me hyperventilate (not literally)! :-).

He actually wants to get a smaller fridge for the higher efficiency (a bigger one wouldn't fit, anyway), but possibly convert the freezer portion to a fridge by turning up the temperature, thus effectively giving us more fridge space while using less electricity.
Most upright refrigerator/freezer units use one thermostat in the frige compartment and control the freezer compartment temperature by adjusting how much of the cold air is directed there instead of the frige. It would be difficult to modify to keep a consistantly safe but not freezing temperature in both compartments. I've seen writeups online about converting a chest freezer into a high efficiency refrigerator. They don't actually modify the chest freezer at all, they simply plug it in to a thermostat that switches the power on and off based on a probe placed in the cabinet. They also sometimes put a small fan inside the cabinet for better air circulation.

esq

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2016, 06:49:27 PM »

Drives my husband crazy - even if I readily admit the math shows it makes sense, I get sticker shock.  The idea of spending upwards of $1k on a single item makes me hyperventilate (not literally)! :-).

And for those of you who are concerned, the fridge hasn't stayed at the higher temperature - it pulled itself back down and has been maintaining normal temperatures since, so my food hasn't been sitting in a warm refrigerator for over a week. ;-). It's just a sign, apparently, that we need to get a little more serious about finding a replacement!

Have you shopped Craigslist?  You don't have to spend $1k on a good used fridge that is larger than what you have.  I would never spend that much on a fridge.  Make sure you put berries and other soft fruit in the fridge immediately when you get them home.   Best of luck with it.


gardeningandgreen

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2016, 10:05:55 AM »
I got a crazy amazing deal on a fridge by checking out best buy open box area. We also happened to hit it at the same time as a sale which they still honored on top of the open box discount. It is definitely a good place to look into.

funcomesfirst

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2016, 11:42:50 AM »
I feel my answers might have sounded a little harsh, so I'll end with a sweet treat:

Cut and freeze 3/4" banana chunks -  the riper, the better. Toss the frozen chunks in the food processor (best) or blender. Add a little vanilla plus just enough milk or water to get the blades to turn, then let the machine spin like crazy (a minute or more, really puree it). Eventually, the bananas will look like soft serve ice cream (thicker than a smoothie). It's cheap, fast, easy, cold, delicious, with no added sugar. A Mustachian bowl of heaven.

I will second this dessert!  However, we put the bananas in the freezer for only an hour and then make it right away.  SO GOOD!  We've also added frozen or fresh blueberries & strawberries...and on occasion some chocolate syrup. :)

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2016, 04:50:27 PM »
I feel my answers might have sounded a little harsh, so I'll end with a sweet treat:

Cut and freeze 3/4" banana chunks -  the riper, the better. Toss the frozen chunks in the food processor (best) or blender. Add a little vanilla plus just enough milk or water to get the blades to turn, then let the machine spin like crazy (a minute or more, really puree it). Eventually, the bananas will look like soft serve ice cream (thicker than a smoothie). It's cheap, fast, easy, cold, delicious, with no added sugar. A Mustachian bowl of heaven.

I will second this dessert!  However, we put the bananas in the freezer for only an hour and then make it right away.  SO GOOD!  We've also added frozen or fresh blueberries & strawberries...and on occasion some chocolate syrup. :)


 Bananas are sweet enough that you can just throw in a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder for a rich chocolate version.

MoonShadow

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2016, 05:33:47 PM »
My husband and I started reading this forum back in September.  The articles on air conditioning were all well and good until we got back around to summer, at which point we have run into some practical considerations (and disagreements) on which I am hoping to receive some input from some Mustachians who have already struggled with these issues.
1. The other day, it was 78 in our house and the butter I pulled out of the fridge was a little soft on the corners.  Fridge temp was 44, so I kicked on the a/c for the first time this summer to help out the fridge a little.  Is our poor old fridge simply getting weak, or does anyone else have issues with the fridge not staying cool enough when they keep their house warmer?

Buy a butter crock, and you don't have to worry about soft butter till the house gets above 80.  Sounds like your fridge is low on freon.  If it's more than 10 years old, probably best to replace it.

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2. We live out of town, so we do our grocery shopping once a week when we are in town for church.  We buy too much fruit and too many vegetables to keep it all in the fridge, so both fridge drawers are veggie drawers and the fruit sits in bowls on the counter.  With the higher heat/humidity, though, the softer fruits seem to be spoiling/ripening a little faster and more likely to end up with fuzzy white spots. We also sometimes have store-bought bread (hot dog and hamburger buns - I bake our normal bread) that we don't put in the fridge, and I keep expecting it to be growing something when I get it out.  Any suggestions on how to keep food from having issues?
Try a "variable volume refrigeration" system.  For example, keep an old milk jug full of water in your freezer (almost full, leave an inch or two of air at the top, squeeze the bottle till it's at the top, cap it.  Ice expands) and on Sunday put it into your clean & empty cooler.  A good one about 40-60 liters, 5 or more day type.  Obviously pack the cold sensitive items in the cooler.  When you get home, put the freezer items into the freezer, right after you remove your *other* ice block jug.  Put the ice block jug into the cooler with your items that are not terribly sensitive to heat.  I.E. the veggies that you could reasonably put onto a counter for a day or two in winter, your hard block cheeses (i.e. chedder) and your condiments.  Not your milk or soft cheeses.  The cooler will be somewhere between 45 and 55 degrees.  Over the next two days, as you consume your foodstuffs, more room should appear in both the freezer & fridge.  Move your cooler items into the fridge, and your ice block jugs back into the freezer as space becomes available.  Repeat next Sunday.

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3. The toddler and I stay home during the day, so we play/work outside and get used to the warmer temperatures and a house that heats up to 78, but my husband works in an air-conditioned office building, so when he gets home, he thinks it is hot, because he doesn't really have an opportunity to adjust to the summer heat.  It doesn't help that the humidity starts to build up in the house by then, so even with fans it is sometimes starting to feel hot to me, too.  How have you used the a/c less when spending all day outside is not an option?

Do you have any box fans?  Perhaps a misting pump?

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4. The first week of June, it was still getting down to 60 overnight, so if I opened the windows and turned on the house fan in the morning, I could get the house down to 68 before the outside temp started going up, and the house would only get up to about 76 by evening, even though outside it was low 90s.  Now it is only getting down to 70, and since it is still 80 when we go to bed, we don't open the windows in the evening, so I can't cool it off as much.  Also, since we have now run the a/c some, my husband thinks we should not be letting in the humidity from outside that the a/c will have to suck back out.  In addition, his dad (an electrician) says he has found that in his area, his a/c works less hard if he sets it at a temperature and then just leaves it, since the real killer for the a/c is if he lets any humidity get back into the air.

This is somewhat true in a high humidity area.  Also, an AC evaporator coil can freeze up like a block of frost ice if there is a lot of humidity in the air, and then block the forced air fan.  Rather than this, try a trick I posted elsewhere.  Take your ice jug out of the freezer, and place it into a cheap styrofoam cooler you don't mind poking a whole into.  Put an aquarium pump (large, like for 100+ gallon tank) into the cooler with the jug.  Run the tubing into your bed near your feet.  Wrap the airstone in a small towel, and tuck your summer topsheet around yourself so that the air it pushes, which will be dry because the ice jug will drop the temp inside the cooler below the dew point, slowly travels up your body towards your heads.  You will need another for your child, but she is unlikely to keep covers anyway, so maybe not.  This provides a small amount of cool, dry air inside the envelope of the bed itself, so that your body can regulate temps better naturally.  Open the windows and turn on the house exhaust fan, if you have one.  Don't worry about the AC or humidity all night.  As long as you can sleep, it will be much better by morning.
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  Because our house gets humid by evening even without opening the windows (I used the a/c to drop the temp from 78 to 74 yesterday morning, then turned it off the rest of the day, and it was 79, muggy, and less comfortable than the 89 outside by evening), he thinks we need to set the a/c at some temperature and just leave it on so the humidity doesn't build up.  I think the a/c won't draw out enough humidity set at 78 all day because it won't run enough in one session to do much good - and then I have to deal with 78 all day, instead of only in the afternoon after I have (preferably with the outside air) cooled it off in the morning and then let it slowly heat back up.  Then if I kick the a/c on when he is on his way home from work, it can draw out the humidity then and keep things in the house from getting too moist.  I figure that will use less electricity than leaving it on all the time at a high temperature, even with the humidity making it run longer the once or twice we run it.  Does anyone have any real data on this to give us advice?


This is a hard one, but do you have a programmable thermostat?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 08:36:10 PM by MoonShadow »

MoonShadow

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2016, 05:43:54 PM »

I have been experimenting this week with half gallon jugs of ice that I set under a ceiling fan or on the counter in the bathroom (silly thing has no exhaust vent, so it gets a bit humid during the course of the day, and we are potty training), which helps slow down the rate at which the house heats and does a pretty good job of sucking out extra moisture in the air, making the house more tolerable at higher temperatures so that we usually don't kick on the a/c until the little one goes to bed (don't want to roast him!). I'm a little concerned, though, about whether or not I am simply trading a/c watts for freezer watts - and possibly overworking our upright freezer by making it run that often.


Not if your freezer is decently efficient & worth a damn.  Feel free if this works for you, but really consider getting a newer fridge.  Also, get the largest model that will fit in your spot.  While the power requirement does go up with increasing volume, it does not linearlly, so a larger fridge is more efficient than a smaller one.  It's a volume to outer surface area ratio thing; the larger the fridge, the lower the surface area to volume ratio.  How many cubic feet is your current fridge?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 08:35:16 PM by MoonShadow »

MoonShadow

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2016, 05:48:21 PM »
One thing that I have to note here, though.  Most homes built or remodeled since AC was common use standard drywall, which cannot take humidity like the plaster-of-paris walls of earlier build.  If you have drywall, and your house is humid, some moisture will condense in the walls, which will promote mold growth.  If this idea bothers you, use your AC.

Dicey

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2016, 08:13:51 PM »

Cut and freeze 3/4" banana chunks -  the riper, the better. Toss the frozen chunks in the food processor (best) or blender. Add a little vanilla plus just enough milk or water to get the blades to turn, then let the machine spin like crazy (a minute or more, really puree it). Eventually, the bananas will look like soft serve ice cream (thicker than a smoothie). It's cheap, fast, easy, cold, delicious, with no added sugar. A Mustachian bowl of heaven.

I will second this dessert!  However, we put the bananas in the freezer for only an hour and then make it right away.  SO GOOD!  We've also added frozen or fresh blueberries & strawberries...and on occasion some chocolate syrup. :)

 Bananas are sweet enough that you can just throw in a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder for a rich chocolate version.
These sound like good tips! I have a lifelong dislike of bananas, so I make it for my family, but don't partake. I'm sure they will love these other options.

MoonShadow

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2016, 08:44:58 PM »
Wow, Central Texas without A/C. Badass indeed.
Thanks DianeC.  I'm not sure it qualifies for badass - people have lived in Central Texas for thousands of years.  AC has ony been common for about fifty years.  Most people have forgotten that it is a luxury.

It's already 91F today.  It feels really warm to me, but by August this would feel like a really nice day.

Yes, but before AC was common, the dog days in Central Texas usually caused a death or two each year.  Heart attacks are more common during periods of physical exertion (such as shoveling snow) or during periods of high heat stress.  I'm guessing that the latter was the greater risk in Central Texas.  AC is no longer a luxury for everyone, particularly in modern homes that were not designed for natural air flow.

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Re: Keeping cool in high heat/humidity questions
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2016, 11:10:44 AM »

Cut and freeze 3/4" banana chunks -  the riper, the better. Toss the frozen chunks in the food processor (best) or blender. Add a little vanilla plus just enough milk or water to get the blades to turn, then let the machine spin like crazy (a minute or more, really puree it). Eventually, the bananas will look like soft serve ice cream (thicker than a smoothie). It's cheap, fast, easy, cold, delicious, with no added sugar. A Mustachian bowl of heaven.

I will second this dessert!  However, we put the bananas in the freezer for only an hour and then make it right away.  SO GOOD!  We've also added frozen or fresh blueberries & strawberries...and on occasion some chocolate syrup. :)

 Bananas are sweet enough that you can just throw in a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder for a rich chocolate version.
These sound like good tips! I have a lifelong dislike of bananas, so I make it for my family, but don't partake. I'm sure they will love these other options.


 You might try just a little taste if you're feeling brave. I don't like bananas in smoothies at all, and I can't taste them in this chocolate version. I do like bananas by themselves, though, so ymmv.