4 Design Elements that Cooled Houses Before the Invention of Air Conditioning

Central air systems and air conditioners are a relatively new addition to the modern home; in fact, for most of the human existence, we needed to get by without the help of electrical cooling systems. Are you curious how we managed? Keep reading to learn about four favorite design elements that helped us stay cool before the invention of air conditioning:

  1. Wraparound Porches

One of the easiest things to notice about newer homes is that many of them lack front porches, sunrooms, and wraparound porches. Air conditioning became more popular; we needed these extra, cooler spaces less and less often.

Wraparound porches not only offered a shady outdoor spot to spend the day, and a convenient place to beat the indoor heat, but the shaded porch also cooled the air which filtered in through open first-floor windows.

  1. Stone Walls

How we build, our houses have changed a lot in the last century, and one thing you may notice is that fewer homes are made of brick and stone. Brick and stone were used as a method of heating and cooling homes naturally; the stone absorbs the heat from the sun during the day and stores it, which helps keep homes cooler during the day. Then, at night when the temperatures dip, the stones release the heat they’ve captured during the day, warming up the house.

  1. Cross-Ventilation

Have you noticed that the windows on older homes tend to be taller and more frequent than in newer homes? Older homes used windows to create “cross ventilation” which is the practice of strategically installing windows throughout a home to increase airflow.

An excellent example of effective cross-ventilation is “shotgun houses” which are popular in New Orleans, or Railroad Apartments, in New York City. These long, narrow dwellings have high windows placed at either end to encourage cool air to flow through the house, instead of stagnating inside.

  1. Higher Ceilings

There’s a reason that many older homes and apartments have 9, 10, or even 12-foot ceilings, and it’s not purely for aesthetic value: higher ceilings gave the hot summer air a place to go.

Hot air rises, and even in homes which have plenty of tall, strategically placed windows; it can still get stiflingly hot indoors. For people who can’t beat the heat to hang out on the porch, high ceilings provided a respite by allowing the hot air to rise to the top of the room, leaving cooler air closer to the floor.

Stay comfortable indoors by calling (714) 252-7460 to reach experts with your best interest in mind. Give the professionals at Dial One Sonshine in Stanton, CA a call today.

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