7 Ways Homes Kept Cool Before The Age Of Air Conditioning
Categories: Heating / Cooling
Wraparound porches offered shade from the direct sun while still allowing light to pour through windows. Screened and furnished sleeping porches were also very common. People would sleep outside to catch the cool breeze of the summer night without all the bugs. Many believed that fresh air had health benefits.
6. Reflective roofs and or ceilings
Many older homes had light-colored or silver-metal roofs made of lead, tin or copper. This was a great way to reflect heat away from the home to reduce interior temperatures. It’s quite a contrast to today’s dark asphalt shingles that can absorb a lot of the sun’s rays. Sometimes they also installed tin ceilings inside the home to contain the heat above.
7. Thick walls
If you could afford them, thick brick masonry or stone walls were a great insulator and kept homes cool before AC. Walls 12 to 24 inches thick were common in the Deep South, blocking the heat from the inside as the day wore on, and providing some warmth as the evening chill set in.
Here’s an expert tip: If you own or are considering buying a house built before the age of air conditioning, Mary recommends contacting an architect or energy advisor who focuses on historic homes: “An hour or two walk-through can help you identify a home’s potential for energy savings. He or she can even help you find ways to preserve the ‘look’ of an older home using modern, energy-efficient materials.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also offers some energy tips for owners of historic homes.
And, regardless of your home’s vintage, you can save money on electricity to power a modern cooling system by going solar. Solar panels can complement any home’s architectural style.