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Cooling without air conditioning in 1950's council house

Postby psaffrey » Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:19 am

Hi there,

I live in a semi-detached ex-council house from the 1950s, which has been extended several times over the years. With all the hot summers we've been having it gets very hot in the house and it seems to be hard to bring the temperature down, even overnight when it's cooler outside.

I've looked into having air conditioning installed but it's expensive and will probably only cover a few rooms.

As an alternative, I wondered about improving ventilation. One of the bedrooms in the middle of the house seems to get particularly hot, perhaps because it is South facing and has a lot of adjacent brick work, which gets very hot with the sun on it. I wondered about at least putting in a vent up to the loft so that the heat has somewhere to escape. Of course I'd need a way to block this back up in the winter.

That room is also next to the chimney (all the fire places are blocked up) and I had the crazy idea that I could put in a vent (and even a fan) to allow hot hair to escape up there. But that's the problem - all my ideas are crazy and I have no idea either if they'll work. I would prefer to call an expert, but there don't seem to be any ventilation tradesmen - only people who will try to sell me an expensive AC unit.

Any advice gratefully received.
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Simply Build It

Postby stoneyboy » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:53 pm

Hi psaffrey
If the chimneys are open at the top try opening up the fireplaces in the worst rooms. Also apply solar reflective film to the inside of the south facing windows.
Regards S
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Postby ericmark » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:39 am

I find time is important, open windows at 6 am and turn on a fan and I can cool the house, but by 9 am too late. Open windows at night and problem with insects, unless lights are off.

I looked at idea of timed fans, but cost of drilling a hole in the wall and wiring up was getting close to cost of an AC.

So cheap AC from Lidi a couple of years ago, and made a cover for the fire so the exhaust can go up the flue, so no windows open, very large living room the 750 watt unit will keep it cool, but not cool it down once hot.

But open the double doors in living room to the veranda and open the small window top of stairs and we do get a through draft, helped with a fan, at the moment good enough, but last couple of years July and August it was not really good enough and we considered moving to flat under the house, which does stay cool.

But step one is reduce heat into the house, white curtain liners on south windows, or blinds. And all LED lighting, and electric oven and induction hob. Washing machine and tumble drier in a room where window can be left open and door closed to rest of house.

I did consider thermostat controlled fans, but really needs to use both inside and outside temperature, no good fan running when 25 inside if 27 outside.
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Location: Llanfair Caereinion, Mid Wales.

Postby psaffrey » Fri Jul 16, 2021 10:19 am

Thanks for the advice. I'll be interested to see if any more cooling-specific experts will spring up over the next few decades as things heat up...
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