inside of house does not cool off... at all?

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Hi all,
well, it's finally summer here in DC. Yay. House has no A/C. Yeah, I know, but I loved the place and there's lots of trees for shade. Here's the problem; it gets up over 90 degrees outside during the day. With the windows closed and blinds drawn it gets up to about 80 in the upstairs (rest of house is comfortable when I get home from work.) As soon as the outside temp drops below the inside temp, I will open all the upstairs windows and turn on the cheap floor fan that the PO's left for me to try to blow some outside air through the house. It doesn't seem to be working - outside temp will drop to 65 degrees or cooler overnight but the bedroom will still be 75 degrees or so when I wake up in the morning. I suspect if I could get the ambient temp. of the upstairs down to the same temp as the outside and then shut everything up when I left for work, it wouldn't even be as hot when I got home, but I seem to be getting little or no cooling from having the windows open.
To those of you who also persist in living without A/C, what's the best way to deal with this - get a bunch of window mount fans to try to set up an artificial cross breeze, or would installing ceiling fans provide enough circulation? (the girlie wants to do the latter anyway, and the only reason I haven't done it yet is because I still need to get up in the attic and install the heavier boxes and drop some 14/3 switch legs to the wall boxes.)
I've also thought about tricking the furnace fan into running to circulate cool air up from the basement, but I haven't really dug into it that much yet. Would that be a worthwhile modification?
thanks,
nate
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I'm a bit farther north (NJ).
Surrounded by trees and no AC.
The whole house fan does the trick. There are days when it's too hot but not a lot of them.
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writes:

I have two $20 stand fans, one up and one down, and I'm just fine most days here in NY. The trees are what does it, though. I don't even have to close the windows during the day, the sun just can't get through. We have lots of light but no direct sunshine. It's perfect.
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Dan Espen wrote:

Possibly further north than you, NY
Solution for me was the creation of ridge vents when I had the house re-roofed. Controlling how much heat gain the under roof area achieved made a world of difference.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Invest in a couple of very powerful window fans. Not the $20 box fan, real window fans.
While you're in the attic, survey the insulation level.
If windows receive sun, do *something* to prevent that heat getting in.
Jim ex-DC'er
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Speedy Jim wrote:

Insane. Previous owners got almost too jiggy with the insulation. I do believe that the walls are uninsulated however, not a big deal up to the 2nd floor (all masonry) but probably ought to be insulated at some point above that (sticks covered with asbestos shingle)

yeah, just put up heavy curtains in the bedroom in the SE corner, the one in the SW corner has none as of yet (only used as an office/computer room) all other rooms have blinds which are closed during the day
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Heavy drapes don't prevent the sun from hitting the glass, which then transfers the heat into the house via radiation. You need to block the sun from hitting the windows via an outside blind or an awning.
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Low-e glass stops a lot of that heat, like 90% of it.
I have the same problem as the OP, 'cept that trees aren't an option. My front lawn is 10 feet from house to street, it faces south and the front of the house gets direct sun for as long as the sun is above the horizon.
I did put in a ridge vent a month ago but I'm not sure it's going to work. Well, it can't make it hotter!
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Maybe you could put in a skyscraper across the street.

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Bob M. wrote:

Not from direct sun radiation. I have brand new, low-e windows (milguard) and they do fair with blocking outside ambient temperatures. When the sun hits the glass, not so much. Our retractable awnings are an absolute neccesity.
-- Dave www.davebbq.com
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Ah, awnings. They were on most every house when I was a kid, a long time ago. Now we just stick a cooker box in the window and suck up electricity instead. A decent tree can cool your house as much as a 12000 Btu AC and at no cost.
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Agreed, we have trees, but the upstairs still gets hot. After reading this thread and seeing that several people recommended window fans, I thought "what the hell?" when someone says "window fan" I think of those cheezy little plastic things. Well I did a web search and found that there are *real* window fans made; I've already ordered a big Air King unit, we will see what happens. I suspect that whoever suggested that the attic is getting hot is correct, although there's a ludicrous amount of insulation up there. If the window fan does not do the trick, I will look into some kind of powered attic ventilation. My house is odd; the roof does not overhang the exterior walls at all, although there are large vents at the top of the exterior walls so one of those would be a good place to put a thermostatically controlled fan.
nate
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P&M
What you could do is get a wireless thermometer. Lowes had one for 15 dollars, but it seems to go through batteries pretty quickly. Especially since I only use it one week every 26 or so, so I guess I would remove the battery during the rest of the time. The lowes is cheap and pretty, but for the same price you can get a big ugly one at Harbor Freight, but it has a) min and max holds, that keep track of current as well as min and max since the last time you reset it, and b) has the current temp on the transmitter, not just the receiver.
First, you could calibrate a regulart themometer against the wireless, and if they don't say the same thing, use a third as a tie-breaker, then handicap the one that is off, if any.
Then without the fan on, measure the temp of your room near the ceiling and at other heights closer to the floor. It is always hotter near the ceiling of any room because hot air rises, but if the difference is ?? just guessing, 6, 7 degrees more or less more than at 4 feet high, too much heat is coming in through the attic.
Another thing one should do is go up when the attic is cool enough, just at the start of dawn is when the attic is at its coolest, and leave the transmitter there, and see how hot the attic gets as the day goes on, and how hot it is at dawn. The min max would be nice for that.
And out of curiosily, you might even bury the transmitter at various depths in the insulation, to see how much cooler the temp is 6 inches down than on the surface.
Insulation is great, but if it is 140 or 150 in the attic, I can't help; thinking it will still be 110 at the top of the ceiling sheetrock, and 100 at the surface of the sheetrock in your bedroom But I just got the wireless thermmoeter and haven't made any measurements at all.
With my roof fan, I think it gets no higher than 100 or 110 up there, even in the middle of the day, but even that is too hot for me to go up and measure temps. At least I never did.
It's better to have the most data to work with, and also if you do install a fan, or someone else who installs insulation, he'll know how much improvement he gets. And can post here like an authority. :)

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mm wrote:

I have one of those remote deals built into an alarm clock - it's a neat little gadget I picked up at Target. comes with a remote thermometer and the clock has an atomic clock receiver built in. I might see if I can get another remote to go with it, as I don't want to move the one I have inside; I use it to determine when to open the upstairs windows.
I also have one of those point and shoot infrared thermometer deals; I might have to retrieve that from my buddy's garage next time I make it over there. Not much use in the attic, but I could shoot the ceiling in the bedrooms to see how much heat is really coming down from above.
I suspect that the eventual solution will be a fan in the attic, but that would involve probably having someone install it, which isn't about to happen this year. I'm envisioning a fan set up at one of the vent openings blowing out, controlled by a thermoswitch somewhere in the middle of the attic to come on at some set point (100 degrees? 110 degrees? Something hotter than any normal ambient outside temperature, anyway.) However your point to actually collect data before committing to that course of action is well taken.
I realize it would be just as easy to install a window A/C unit in the bedroom, but the brute force method offends my sensibilities as an engineer. I'd rather try the more efficient solutions first...
nate
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What about a ridge/soffit vent system? No moving parts, no electrical bill, no noise... Seems quite efficient to me.
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Window fan does the trick for me on all but the most humid days. I close up the house early in the morning and close/open pleated shades throughout the day according to the sun's travel. It stays at least 10 degrees cooler than outside. Once the temperature drops outside so that it's cooler out there, I open one upstairs window in an unused bedroom, put in the window fan blowing out, and open the downstairs windows. Shortly before bed, I close the downstairs windows and open my upstairs bedroom windows. BTW, this is a cheap window fan, ~$20, in a 1600+ sq ft house. I have a very hot attic but, like yours, a lot of insulation. Lots of shade trees that keep the yard too dark to garden, but none of them shade the house (great planning on the part of whoever planted them, eh? Yes, the house is old enough that it's been here longer than the trees.)
Jo Ann

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So, why not awnings? Better, maybe, retractable awnings.
If they worked back then, wouldn't they still at least *help* now?
Or maybe the beauty-police would deem them "ugly" and thus "unacceptable" for *this* neighborhood?
David
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wrote in message

The beauty police would write a ticket for awnings, and they're pretty much unnecessary today with low-e thermopane glass. Awnings only keep the sun out, they don't stop the heat from radiating through the glass, nor do they stop the ultraviolet rays. Low-e thermopane glass does all of that, and in the winter the low-e coating keeps your heat inside the house.
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They do, on my planet :-)
Nick
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Bob M. wrote:

Even with top of the line Milguard low e, awnings are a big necessity when the sun is on the window glass for hours at a time.

Low E only reduces the transfer of ambient outside heat, it is insufficient at reducing the transfer of direct radiation when the sun hits the glass. And awnings most certainly reduce ultraviolet rays as well as low e.

It HELPS to retain heat, but is not an absolute barrier. It certainly does allow some heat to radiate out.
You need both awnings and low-e.
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