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Air Conditioning: What on Earth Did People Do to Stay Cool Without It?

It’s a luxury that many take for granted. Air conditioning revolutionized cultures across the globe, improving worker productivity and creating much more comfortable homes. But have you ever wondered just what people did to stay cool before the air conditioner was invented? The secret “cool” sauce lies in home design. Not the construction of new homes, but older homes. You see, people were highly innovative about building design that promoted cooler homes.

Here are a few ways that made it possible:

  • Airflow. In order to keep a home cool, many homes in the South were built without basements and with a space between the building itself and the ground. This way, a breeze could blow under the home, encouraging a cooler home.
  • Ceiling height. You may have been awestruck at the beauty and expanse of the tall ceilings in older homes, but there was logic behind this strategic move. With taller ceilings, the heat in the room would rise to the top, keeping the living area at the bottom cooler.
  • Fans. Ceiling fans were commonplace in older homes, once electricity came into play. Located in every room, their breezes kept people very cool.
  • Windows. Uniquely designed double-hung windows facilitated airflow, too. By opening the upper window, hot air at the top of the room would flow outside, keeping the inside cool. At night, homeowners would open the bottom window, letting cooler outside air flow inside.
  • Porches. Older homes also had grand wrap-around porches, providing occupants a way to sit outside and catch a breeze, but still find shade no matter where the sun was shining.
  • Walls and roofs. Older homes generally featured a light-colored roof to reflect heat and keep the home’s temperature lower, while thick stone or brick walls acted as insulation.

It’s possible to use some of these techniques in your newer home – even if it lacks construction features like thick walls. Run those ceiling fans and keep windows open. Work with a trusted professional to assess its insulation, and consider using injection foam insulation to retrofit your home. Contact USA Insulation today and schedule an in-home consultation!

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