"Passive" cooling is a great way to reduce the load on your air conditioner so that it doesn't cost as much to keep your house cool. However, you may need to make an initial investment in tools like reflective coatings, radiant barriers, insulation, and electric fans in order to see substantial passive-cooling results. Here are five great ways to get started with passive cooling by using air circulation to your benefit.
1. Ceiling fans
Ceiling fans don't decrease the temperature in your house noticeably, but they do help cool your body temperature. This is because the increased air movement helps improve the evaporative cooling effect of sweat from your skin which, fortunately, happens all the time, including when you don't actually feel sweaty.
2. Attic fans
Having a ventilation fan in your attic is one way to decrease the heat accumulated through your attic space. An attic fan works by exchanging extremely hot air heated by the roof with outside air. Even if it's a very hot day, this air is likely to be cooler than the temperature directly under a black roof. In order for an attic fan to work properly, though, you need to have plenty of ventilation in place so that outside air can easily flow in at the other end of the attic to replace the removed air. You also need to make sure you don't have air leaks to the attic from your living space (such as around light fixtures), or the attic fan may be pulling out your cool air and wasting it.
3. Ridge vents
Ridge vents are an excellent type of attic ventilation because they're at the highest point of your house. They allow hot air to rise to the ridge of the roof and then escape so that the hottest air in your attic is continually being replaced even when your attic fan isn't on. It's important to have sufficient ventilation lower down in the attic so cooler air can be drawn in fast enough for all the hottest air to escape.
4. "Double" walls and roofs
True double walls and roofs, although extremely useful for passive cooling, are best installed when you're building the house and are not very easy to add later. However, you can simulate their convective effect by using something less permanent, such as a vine-covered trellis or a shadecloth. The installation will both shade the roof or wall of your house and use airflow to disperse accumulated heat before it reaches your home.
5. Window fans
Window fans can be a great way to get rid of excess heat each night. Place them in open leeward windows and make sure your windward windows are also open in order to create cross-ventilation and bring cool outdoor air in. (Obviously, this is only helpful if done when the interior of your house is warmer than the outside.)
These five strategies all help you to use air circulation to keep cool. Combine them with other passive cooling strategies such as shade, insulation, weatherproofing, and reflective coatings for a comprehensively self-cooling home. Talk to a company like Dependable Air Conditioning Co Inc for more information.