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Saturday, July 10, 2010

How to Make the Most of Your Fan and Beat the Heat

I realized the last post about firewood might not seem timely in this heatwave we have been having.( I only posted it for people like me that have long memories about the discomfort of winter and want to be prepared). I found this article today about the best way to use your fan to cool your house down. I learned some good tricks, so wanted to pass it on.

How to make the most of your fan and beat the heat

                                                          By Emily Hsieh, Shine staff

If you don’t have an air conditioner, or even if you do but are looking to cut back on your electricity bills, consider a good old fashioned fan for keeping yourself cool in the summer heat. They don’t cost much to buy or use, and are a more eco-friendly alternative to boot. Here’s how to make sure you’re using yours right.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, it’s actually best to position your fan in a window, facing out. This helps air flow through the room—which keeps it cool in the process. Since hot air rises, you want to put the fan as high as possible (preferably in the top of the window). Close the window around the fan (it helps to invest in a rectangular window-specific fan for this reason) to avoid reverse air circulation (which is what happens when the air sucked through the fan goes back around the fan and is sucked back in). You can use paper or cardboard, or even drapes or slats of wood to cover any gaps between the windowsill and the device.

To maximize air flow, if you’ve got two windows that face each other in a room, place one fan facing out (pick the side of the room that’s warmer or sunnier, and position the fan as high up as possible), and the other fan facing inward (on the cooler or shadier side, and placed as low as you can). You can
also place the low fan on the ground in a doorway for a similar effect.

You’ll keep your home coolest if you run the fans during the coolest part of the day, as well as at night, and close the blinds during the sun’s peak hours.
A personal note:

A trick I used to use, was to place a bowl of ice in front of a fan so that it has some cooler air to push around. One of the things I miss about Germany, was their window shutters.

 Originally, they had been designed to block out every chink of light emanating from the house so that bombers flying over head couldn't get a visual target. Their other advantage was that they also kept the sunlight from coming in and over heating the house. You could raise the blinds slightly and the gaps between each horizontal slat was an inner slat with perforated holes which would allow for air flow while blocking the majority of the light. They were also a good safety feature as they made a solid barricade in each window which prevented break-ins and would provide alot of protection to the glass in the case of violent windstorms etc. I never understood why they didn't become popular everywhere? I know they aren't the most attractive to look at , but you could always put nice wood shutters on the outside of the house for architechtural detail.

Here is a link to a site that manufactures similar shutters in case your interested.

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