Author Topic: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?  (Read 7620 times)

shelivesthedream

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We're moving into the third hot week here, with highs of 26 to 28 degrees and I am NOT HAPPY. Problem is, I'm finding it very difficult to cool the house. We don't have aircon (no one here does because these temperatures rarely happen for longer than a few days) so I have been trying everything suggested on these forums like closing heavy curtains during the day and running an electric fan at night. However, most of the windows on the front side of the house don't open as they are painted shut, and those that do at the back can't be left open at night because my housemate is obsessed with the thought of burglars and keeps closing them. I sleep at the front in a room that gets full sun all morning (great in winter!) and has an itty bitty upper window which I do leave open but doesn't seem to make much difference as I have to close the curtains while I am asleep as there is a street lamp right outside.

deborah

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 04:01:58 AM »
Sorry - but 26 - 28 is very nice mild summer weather - 36 - 38 on the other hand... or 46 - 48 (which thank goodness is rare).

Now that I have got over my coughing (and reminding myself NEVER to visit the UK in winter), let's get to solutions:

You can lie under a damp sheet (wet it and get as much moisture from it as you can by wringing it out in a towel).

You can buy a pedestal fan (mine last summer cost me $20 new, so it won't break the bank) and have it on you.

Work out when your sea breeze (when the land is hotter than the ocean wind goes from ocean to land) hits - and where it comes from (ours strikes from the east at 7pm most nights - we call it the easterly hurricane, but we are a fair way from the coast - yours would probably be earlier) negotiate with your housemate to open the house for air circulation from that direction for an hour at that time - it will be the most worth while time. You must have one because the UK is so narrow. My partner watches the weather bureau radar on the internet to find out exactly when it will hit each night it is hot.

Find the coolest room in your house and sleep as close to the floor as you can. Tiles are your friend - they are much cooler than other floor coverings.

Drinks of water are good. Rubbing an ice block over you is also good. What about having a misting spray bottle and sprayng yourself every so often?

Tai

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 07:30:00 AM »
I usually rely on night air to help cool my apartment in the summer, but sometimes the morning is also good as we're on the west side of the building. Filling your bathtub with cold water overnight is supposed to help as it draws heat from the air, could you use a fan to blow the bathroom air into where you sleep? If you google homemade air conditioner on youtube, you'll find a bunch of videos. Some of them are pretty simple. A fan blowing air on you all night will help too. Taking a cool bath before bed might help cool you off as well. Is there any way you can get some kind of small fan (even a clip on) in your small window? Maybe crack the curtains to light the air through? Good luck!

shelivesthedream

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2014, 07:46:43 AM »
Deborah - I know, I know, but one of the reasons I love living in the UK is that I NEVER EVER have to experience serious summer heat. I am longing for some good old British mizzle. Even these temperatures make me cross and dizzy. And don't get me started on the Tube... The sea breeze thing is pretty neat - how can I find out when it will hit my area? A quick Google didn't show anything.

Tai - The cold bath thing sounds like an interesting idea. I've been considering freezing a big bottle of water and putting it in my room at night - I suppose that is a similar thing?

agent_clone

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2014, 07:59:05 AM »
Sorry - but 26 - 28 is very nice mild summer weather - 36 - 38 on the other hand... or 46 - 48 (which thank goodness is rare).
To be fair to shelivesthedream that 26-28 is probably quite humid (Unlike Canberra or really most places inland in Australia), and those temperatures can be uncomfortable to sleep in if your not used to them (or even if you are), assuming that their place is not cooling down at all in the evening.  Those temperatures and no breeze can be a bit uncomfortable as well.

I would definately go for getting a pedestal fan.  The breeze blowing the heat/moisture away from you should help a lot.  Personally I haven't found having the fan trying to usher in cooler air through the window work terribly well, but having the pedestal fan should push air your way, and maybe circulate some air from outside.

Assuming the windows that you can open are either north or west facing (i.e. not have the morning sun) I would do as Deborah has said and open them in the morning while your there and awake and then close them up when it starts getting hotter outside or it has cooled down at your place.

Cpa Cat

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2014, 08:46:02 AM »
Unstick your windows. If you Google "Windows painted shut" you'll find several step by step instructions and videos. It's pretty simple.

Greg

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2014, 09:18:48 AM »
Also, there are many ways to secure windows that are open a few inches, to prevent burglars etc.  Depends on the way they open of course.  I would talk to the housemate and figure out what they're comfortable with, in terms of how far open.  4" is a good distance, too small to crawl through but allows a fair amount of airflow.

LennStar

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2014, 10:01:25 AM »
Tai - The cold bath thing sounds like an interesting idea. I've been considering freezing a big bottle of water and putting it in my room at night - I suppose that is a similar thing?
While technically ice brings some coolness to the room, the effect is too small to get any meaningful difference without a very high bill ;) Only if you can put it right near your bed. You could try to put cold tab water in bottles around your bed if that is possible, way cheaper.
Another possibility is to bring a lot of open water into the room (I call it alhambra method) - but you must test how you can stand a higher moisture.

Most effective way is a (not too strong) fan that blows wind over your bed. Too strong and you get stiff or get a summers cold.

former player

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2014, 01:23:18 PM »
London is a heat island: too much human activity in too small a space.  I've never noticed the sea breeze effect there.

Opening windows is best if you can get a breeze through.  If you have sash windows, when you have unstuck them you should open them with gaps at the bottom and the top: that way hot air goes out of the top and in at the bottom.

If you are on the ground floor and have space outside your windows, hose the space/house wall down with water in the evening to get the evaporation effect.  Lying in a lukewarm bath will cool you down, as will an evening swim in an outdoor pool - http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/lidos-and-outdoor-swimming-pools-in-london

Could you shield the window which gets the morning sun, for instance by hanging the sort of plastic covers that go over car windows over it?

The weather is about to change.

Cassie

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 04:43:32 PM »
I grew up in  a humid climate during summer & no one had air. We would take a cool bath before bed & wear a wet t-shirt to bed.  By the time it dried it was morning. 

mustachianteacher

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2014, 05:03:12 PM »
We live in southern CA, and when I can't sleep due to the heat, I often put my feet into some ice cold water. A small basin with cold water and ice cubes usually does the trick; cold feet make the rest of me feel much better. If it doesn't (and if I've planned well), I take cool evening showers and go to bed with wet hair. I cover myself with only a sheet, which takes some getting used to because I do like the weight of a thick blanket, but that's out of teh question when our night-time temps don't go below 80.

A mom

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2014, 06:46:34 AM »
Sleep under a damp towel instead of a blanket.

rubybeth

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Re: How do you cool your house when you can't open windows at night?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2014, 07:55:02 AM »
We have AC in our apartment but the unit is in the living room and our bedroom doesn't get a lot of the cool air. I'd also second trying to unstick your windows, or get your landlord or whatever to do it. Also, a fan or series of fans as others have recommended. Maybe a Dyson airblade if you don't like the whirring sound of regular fans? Putting a fan in a window to suck in cool air kind of works like AC, assuming it cools off a bit during the night.

Also, get some gel-filled ice packs (the kind for putting on an injury, not the kind for putting into a cooler to keep food cold) and use them on your neck/back/etc. while falling asleep or even just relaxing when it's hot. I use this method even in the winter because it helps with insomnia (see this article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/putting-insomnia-on-ice/ ) and also, take a cool shower before bed and go to sleep with wet hair. It's the opposite principle of wearing a hat when it's cold--most heat escapes through your head, so keeping your head cool keeps your overall body feeling cooler.

Also, for the street lamp light--keep your curtains open and get a sleep mask for your eyes!
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 07:56:42 AM by rubybeth »