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Living with no AC

 
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Leslie Russell wrote: When I come in from outside I have a ferocious fan I blow right on me to dry off and cool down, then I drink something cold, turn off the fan and go back outside.



Don't drink something cold then expose yourself to the heat. The cold drink causes vessel constriction for a short period which makes sweating less effective. It can also make you retch your guts out if you are getting really physical in the heat. (ask me how I know that one.....) June, July, August are the pits in Fla. and no way to escape it.
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Oregon
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Purity-We do have one evaporative cooler up at my daughters house. We use it overnight to blow out the house, but we don't use it during the day because we don't want to have to open up the house. The only exception to that is if the house gets really hot from cooking we will open it up and turn on the swamp cooler. I am thinking that getting another one to do the same thing down at my house is a good idea. Things are much better if we can get the houses into the 50s or low 60s overnight, and then close up in the morning before the heat sets in.
 
pollinator
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Location: Missouri Ozarks
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A few years back, I noticed that the heat was getting to me for the previous couple of summers more than it ever had before. It would be fine at some times and then feel stifling other times with the same temperature and humidity. Digging into this issue, along with other health issues I was having, led me to discover I was gluten intolerant and one of the symptoms was spells of increased sensitivity to heat. Some other things can also trigger the same reaction to a lesser degree too, and once I got that figured out, my heat tolerance returned to being quite high again. That's one of the reasons I appreciate dealing with varied weather rather than being in a constantly climate controlled environment, if I'm responding more poorly to different temperatures, it's a sign that I should be doing something differently.

I'm applying the same reasoning to my cold sensitivity, which has no quick fix since I've gotten cold easily my whole life, but I have had a certain amount of luck in dealing with the cold better. my fingers don't go numb from the cold nearly as easily as they used to. There is no one single thing I can pinpoint those improvements to, just more years of experience in working with my body and feeling generally healthier.
 
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Jason Manning wrote:
It might be better to investigate using an insulated outer wall that using water cooled by buried water pipes to cool the inner walls and floors?...



Yes. Insulate the house (even with natural materials like straw, but in humid climate may be damaged quickly) and cool the interior walls with water pipes from the water table. If is 26-28 celsius, will be better than 40, for sure. The pipes need to be spaced apart with a distance wich is a bit difficult to calculate because depends with: temperature differences, insulation thickness and transfer coefficient, walls thickness and thermal transfer coefficient...

As an example, I did this in the past and got 1 meter apart for 1 inch poly pipes running through 15cm concrete walls (very good conductor of heat) insulated with 80cm of straw bales, in winter; pipes water is 28 celsius (used for heating), internal room temp is 24 and outside is minus ten.
 
pollinator
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Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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This video I just watched seems to go well with this topic.



Some of my own thoughts on the topic.

A lot of dealing with summer heat depends a lot on where you are and and humidity levels. When dealing with high heat and lots of humidity it is a lot more difficult than dry heat. Though when I lived in AZ and it got to 120 degrees, I can tell you dry heat doesn't mean a thing, it was just way too hot to do anything.

Where I am in Eastern WA, it can get into the 100's in the summer though mostly high 90's, but it is dry heat normally. Still hot and uncomfortable, but not that sticky heat, and you learn to do your work in the morning and take a break in the shade when the heat gets too high until evening cools things back down.

Of course a swamp cooler (or even a DIY version with a fan) can be used to help cool you down if really needed with a lot less energy consumption. Speaking of less power, here is a link to a thread I came across a while ago discusses an off grid cooling and heating unit for those who just can't go without. https://permies.com/t/93687/Solar-Air-Conditioner-Heater it was started as a seller trying to promote it, but I posted several links to amazon sellers when I discovered the thread, and the poster above mine mentioned buying one used off ebay.

In general my feeling on air conditioning is I would rather acclimate to the weather than use it except minimally during the worst times. I wouldn't mind getting one of those units mentioned in the thread to use after working in the morning during the summer, so my trailer isn't 110 degrees. Maybe drop it down to 80 or so. But what I don't like is temp drops in places that make walking back outside a huge shock. Both summer and winter. What ever season I try to acclimate to the temps rather than rely overly on artificial temps. Now I don't let my trailer get below freezing during the winter, and I wouldn't mind getting something to reduce the heat build up a bit during the summer. But rather than waste a lot of energy on cooling and heating, I prefer to minimize that effort and dress appropriately as well as just let my body get used to the temps. It is amazing the ability of the body to adjust to temps if you just let yourself be exposed to it as spring and fall transition. Rather than immediately using artificial means to change the temps, letting your body feel the natural change and get used to it will allow you to adjust and handle the temps much better. And if you acclimate to the temps of the season, you will get out and spend time outside enjoying the world you live in rather than hiding inside.
 
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Location: Atlanta GA
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Two things that I haven't seen mentioned;
re humidity control- earthen structures can absorb and release moisture, regulating humidity somewhat. Think, Adobe, rammed earth, Cob, CEB, walls, floors roofs (Mexican 'green' roof). They also regulate temperature, not by R-value but by thermal mass. Even in humid climates a structure built of earth on the inside, with water proof cladding or rainscreen for exterior, will have modified interior humidity.
Also, re natural cooling, no-one has yet mentioned subterranean air tubes, used to precondition air coming in to the structure. Even in hot humid climates ground temperatures are lower if you go down deep enough. A long and deep enough air tube can precondition the incoming air temperature either to cool OR heat it, saving energy needs.

One other thing related that I haven't seen mentioned; another good reason to reduce reliance on airconditioning (aside from energy requirements) is that many of the chemicals and other materials used have a huge ecological footprint.
 
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Location: Udon Thani, Thailand
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Steven Lindsay wrote:Two things that I haven't seen mentioned;
re humidity control- earthen structures can absorb and release moisture, regulating humidity somewhat. Think, Adobe, rammed earth, Cob, CEB, walls, floors roofs (Mexican 'green' roof). They also regulate temperature, not by R-value but by thermal mass. Even in humid climates a structure built of earth on the inside, with water proof cladding or rainscreen for exterior, will have modified interior humidity.
Also, re natural cooling, no-one has yet mentioned subterranean air tubes, used to precondition air coming in to the structure. Even in hot humid climates ground temperatures are lower if you go down deep enough. A long and deep enough air tube can precondition the incoming air temperature either to cool OR heat it, saving energy needs.

One other thing related that I haven't seen mentioned; another good reason to reduce reliance on airconditioning (aside from energy requirements) is that many of the chemicals and other materials used have a huge ecological footprint.



I have been designing a system that uses underground water pipes that feed automotive radiators that use the fan to hopefully provide enough cooling. I'll have to get a 2 metre hole dug, but it'll still be a cheap experiment and if it works would be massively cheaper than AC.

Give me 6 months or so and I'll report back...
 
john mcginnis
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Steven Lindsay wrote:Two things that I haven't seen mentioned;
re humidity control- earthen structures can absorb and release moisture, regulating humidity somewhat. Think, Adobe, rammed earth, Cob, CEB, walls, floors roofs (Mexican 'green' roof). They also regulate temperature, not by R-value but by thermal mass. Even in humid climates a structure built of earth on the inside, with water proof cladding or rainscreen for exterior, will have modified interior humidity.
Also, re natural cooling, no-one has yet mentioned subterranean air tubes, used to precondition air coming in to the structure. Even in hot humid climates ground temperatures are lower if you go down deep enough. A long and deep enough air tube can precondition the incoming air temperature either to cool OR heat it, saving energy needs.



I have toyed with the idea of a very large mass situated in a home with refrigerant pipes running thru it attached to a heat pump. One then signs up for a free electricity plan from the power company. Chill down the mass during the free electricity period, (usually evenings) off the rest of the time. But thanks to the prechill your home stays relatively cool thru the entire day. Maybe design a way to incorporate a fireplace in it as well for use like a swedish heater during the winter.

Not suitable for existing structures but a possibility for new construction.
 
john mcginnis
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Jason Manning wrote:

I have been designing a system that uses underground water pipes that feed automotive radiators that use the fan to hopefully provide enough cooling. I'll have to get a 2 metre hole dug, but it'll still be a cheap experiment and if it works would be massively cheaper than AC.

Give me 6 months or so and I'll report back...



A friend and I took two large truck radiators and attached them to the rafters in the attic. We fed the input and output lines to the radiators. It kept the guys pool reasonably warm all year long.
 
pollinator
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Humidity can have a lot to do with comfort. It can be controlled by use of a desiccant , a material that naturally absorbs moisture.

Salt and clay are two natural desiccants that are pretty easy to come by. You may have seen small packs of granular material included with new electronics and other things that don't do well in a moist environment. Sometimes these packs contain bentonite clay. More often they contain silica gel.

People often use buckets of salt to control moisture in camping trailers that aren't being used in the winter. The bucket eventually fills with salt water and overflows if neglected. The water is commonly dumped , but it could be put in a dry, sunny place where the water would evaporate, leaving the salt to be used again.

Racks on wheels containing many trays filled with salt or clay, could be brought into the room when it's dry and then wheeled out to a sunny porch or greenhouse and the moisture allowed to evaporate. Not a regular greenhouse, but more of a purpose-built solar kiln.

There are many complex industrial uses for desiccants that use pumps and blowers. But a cookie tray covered in salt , will absorb moisture and it will quickly shed that moisture if heated in the sun.

Regular rock salt works. It can absorb many times its own weight in water and if properly handled you get it all back. Calcium chloride works even better , but it's not something you want to eat a lot of, and you probably don't want to breathe the dust.

Bentonite clay can absorb about one third of its weight and still be dry to the touch. The granular nature gives it good air contact.
.......
So imagine a well-built cart weighing 500 lbs when loaded with salt or clay. Wheel it into the bedroom and take it outside after it's gained 100 pounds. A simple scale could be used on just one of the trays , to estimate the total weight gain. It might be handy to have two carts, so that one can be used while the other is drying in the sun.

This is a project for the serious tinker. I'm thinking of constructing a small solar kiln for this purpose. I wouldn't move the trays . Instead I would move the air. For me it would be to reduce the humidity of air being used in an evaporating refrigeration unit.

It is usually about 78 degrees fahrenheit and 80% humidity during the nights here. So evaporative cooling can only get me down to about 71.5 degrees. That's exactly what I do with our concrete floor, but it's not cold enough for food storage. Now suppose I'm able to get the incoming air down to 50% humidity. This will allow evaporative cooling to go as low as 58 fahrenheit. Many foods store quite well at that temperature.

It's possible to do this in several stages if you want to get carried away. Use one cooler to pre chill the incoming air for the next one and dehumidify that air before using it. 70 degree air at 20% humidity , can theoretically get us to just over 27 fahrenheit . That's below freezing. Obviously at some point diminishing returns will set in. I'm currently only looking at a simple two-stage system using the same 100 watt fan.
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
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Almost all of my inventions are reinventions of someone else's wheel . This happened when I reinvented the steam injector . A little disappointing, but proof-of-concept. ☺

Yesterday, I must have a Googled  air conditioner and desiccant, a dozen times without finding what I was looking for. 20 minutes ago I looked for saltwater air conditioner and discovered that they have been around for a while for commercial size buildings. Air is dehumidified by moving through damp plates saturated with salty water. Evaporative roof ponds bring the solution back to the desired concentration. So it's almost what I was envisioning.

Energy costs can be reduced by as much as 75% in hot humid conditions.

My concept is not a direct copy of this. I want to use salt or salt water to dehumidify air that is used for a swamp cooler. Google is silent on that. The only thing I can find are warnings to not use mineral-rich water, since it clogs up the tiny pores on commercial units. But I will use the salt to dry the air and not mix it with the evaporated water. I'm sure that my unit will get lots of lime build up, since it's a constituent of groundwater. I will use rainwater whenever it is available.   Lime build up won't be a huge problem because my system will use loose stacked bricks, not a fine mesh as is found in portable units.

I'm conducting a little experiment today. I've placed some salt on a kitchen plate in order to see how much water it absorbs over the course of the day. I have a good scale used for soap making. I will weigh the dampened salt and then dry it out on the hot motorcycle seat and weigh it again, to determine how much moisture that small quantity can absorb. Then it's pretty simple math to extrapolate to a system using hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Air conditioning could easily cost me $100,000 over the next 20 years if I copied it what I see other foreigners doing. Reinventing it is a matter of self-preservation.
 
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I have read this forum with some interest as I live in the arid dry lands of Southern California.
I do not have central air or heating. We do have window units when needed. But I try not to use them. One thing I have done and this is by far the most important thing I've done....is I COVERED the western side of my house with plants that have covered the back section completely. There is a HUGE difference in temperature. I have a large box fan that leans against my security door (on the western side) and pulls the cooler air into the house.  
This summer (for me) has been really nice and cool.
When it gets over 85 in the house I DO turn on two of the window units
 
pollinator
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Sorry guys, where I live we can get between 110-115 F for weeks on end, high humidity some of the time. We have no AC.

It's miserable. Just. Plain. Miserable.
 
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