How Homes Were Kept Cool Before Air Conditioning

Once upon a time, air conditioning wasn’t common in households anywhere. While the planet is experiencing a warming trend as of late, it wasn’t that much cooler in the time before air conditioning than it is now. Moreover, most people wore more clothing and warmer clothing than is commonly worn today. These are a few ways homeowners kept their homes cool during this point in history.

House Designed for Maximum Cooling
A variety of design methods existed during this time period that sought to offer the greatest possible cooling during the hottest hours of the day.

Shotgun house designs: In the warmth of Louisiana, homes were designed and built with the idea of maximizing airflow in mind. These “shotgun” houses were built with all rooms going straight through the home, which was built in a one-room width, so that the doors and windows could be lined up for cross-ventilation.

Large covered porches: These large porches were designed to provide shade from the sun that prevented radiant heating from occurring inside the home. They served an additional purpose of allowing windows to remain open even when it was raining outside without fear of water blowing into the home. This is why so many older homes have large wrap around porches on upper and lower floors.

Tall ceilings: Because heat rises, tall ceilings were commonly used in warmer climates to help provide some relief from the heat during the dog days of summer. Ceiling fans were also commonly used (some powered by electricity while others were powered by rope pulleys) to help move air inside the home.

Attic fans: Homes in older times weren’t necessarily built with the installation of an attic fan in mind, but once attic fans became available, it didn’t take long for homeowners to realize the benefits these fans represented. If you purchase an older home, that has the wide front porch and large windows so common on older homes, you have the perfect setup to take advantage of whole house fans that draw cool air in through lower floor windows while expelling hot air out through vents in the attic.

The best news is that while central air conditioning poses distinctive design issues when transforming older homes, a whole house fan or smart attic roof-mount fan can be easily incorporated into the existing design of many older homes while providing impressive cooling effects.

You don’t have to have an older home to enjoy the energy-saving benefits of adopting some of these tips when designing and building a home of your own. Finding alternative methods for keeping your home cool in the summer reduces the burden on your air conditioning unit and helps keep your summer cooling bills under control.

If you’re interested in learning more about how attic fans or whole house fans can help cool homes, give us a call here at at toll-free at 1-888-229-5757 or direct at 1-661-775-5979