To keep your house comfy and save money on electricity during summertime, buy an exhaust fan that you can easily mount/dismount in one of your windows. Use two cheap thermometers, or just use your senses, to check whether outside temps are lower than inside. When outside temp is lower than inside, turn on the exhaust fan. It will expel warm air and cool air must then enter to replace it. You must have at least one other window or door open. Stand in front of it and enjoy.
I have an old natural gas furnace. The pilot light must stay lit all year around, otherwise the furnace hardware will rust and cost far more in repairs than the cost of the gas. But, it heats the house all the time too.
By tomatohanger from Canton, OH
Since hubby's health prohibits our using a/c, we use this strategy. The window fan, and an attic (exhaust) fan together keep our house comfortably cool most of the time. The only time so far this summer that we've been uncomfortably warm was when temps soared into the 90+ degree range. And it was still much cooler inside than out!
My dad does this in AZ during some nights, depending. Not so much in summer, toasty city at night, but, other times I stood outside the open windows and out comes the hot air. Good idea for sure.
Luckily, in S. California, it generally cools off at night even if it's been hot during the day. So I turn on my window fans before I go to bed to cool off my apartment overnight, and then turn them off in the AM when the air outside is warmer than inside.
I use this same principle without going to the expense of buying an exhaust fan. I simply put a box fan (or any other fan that fits) in the window pointing outside. Then across the room I put one in a window pointing inside. This gives me a good cross-breeze and does the same job as an exhaust fan, pulls the hot air out of the room.
Even here in southeast NC I can normally do this for most of the summer. Although with the extreme temps we've been having this year (more 90+'s than ever before and also more 100+s too), it only works for a few hours a day in the early morning and late night. But it does give the a/c a break for a few hours.
We have an older house with all of the windows thoroughly painted shut except the one with the window A/C in it, so using a box fan is not an option until we get the them unstuck and buy screens. During the July heat wave our A/C died, so I tried just using its fan to bring in cool night air. Guess what? - running the air conditioner motor generates heat, and that heat comes back into the house! So until we could replace it, I opened up the front and back doors, turned on the bathroom exhaust fan, and pointed our most powerful free-standing fans from the front and back doors toward the bathroom all night (then closed up the house during the day). Didn't keep the house exactly comfortable in the hottest part of the day, but as long as the nights were cool, at least we didn't have to leave our home and go to a shelter.
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When the weather starts to warm up, instead of turning on your air conditioner, put a small fan in front of an opened window. It will cool down your house about 10 degrees, especially at night. It saves me on my electric bill and I am a lot cooler too.
By Ditzy46 from Nahunta, Georgia
I do the same thing! Actually I put 2 20" box fans in each room that's occupied. One is put in a window that does not get the afternoon sun blowing into the house. The other is put in a window on the opposite side of the room blowing out. This way it creates a draft and the out-blowing fan pulls the air through. I do this and many times it's brought my indoor temps down by more than 20 degrees! I rarely have to turn the a/c on, even living here in southeast NC where the temps (like at your house) run 90s and 100s in the summer. (03/31/2010)
I also use the oscillating fans in the hallway to keep the whole breeze going through the second floor. (04/01/2010)
We also use the strategy of some fans blowing in, others out. I also saw a TF post awhile back that said if you wet a towel and fasten it to an in-blowing fan (perhaps with spring-loaded clothespins), the air current passing over/through the damp towel will cool the air more. That's something I intend to try this summer. Although if you're already in a humid place like SC, this might not work as well. (04/05/2010)