Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cooling a Hot Alaska House With Only a Fan

For years when we lived in the Interior of Alaska, we suffered with a hot house on summer evenings. I can remember lying on my back on top of the covers too hot to sleep. The temperature in the house was in the 80's or 90's.....but on the other side of the wall, only a few inches away, the temperature was ten or twenty degrees cooler. Alaska houses are designed to retain heat, so cooling them down on long hot summer evenings can be a problem.

About 15 years ago we learned a trick, and since then we have never suffered from an overly hot house in Alaska. Anchorage set a new official temperature record today (81F, 2 degrees above the previous record), but the house has not been uncomfortable.

The trick is a box fan in the window. We open two windows on opposite sides of the house. We press the box fan up against the screen and keep it in place (in our present house) with a cord secured on either side of the window with screw eyes. The fan takes air from the cool side of the house and exhausts warm inside air out another window.

It seems to be important that the fan is pressed up against the screen. We have tried placing a fan near the window and the effectiveness is markedly reduced. We also cover those parts of the window not covered by fan. The point seems to be to create enough pressure from the fan that the air has to exhaust out another window...which in turn draws in more cool outside air.

If we don't want the noise of the fan, we draw air through a window in the room we want to cool (like where we are sleeping, for example) and exhaust warm air elsewhere in the house. Since warm air rises, we use the fan trick upstairs.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is six years old, but it helped me out tonight. Thanks!