MEDIA WORKERS AND TV RESEARCHERS - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to nick@off-grid.net


Home Forums General Discussion Keeping cool off-grid

This topic contains 21 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  caverdude 5 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #36879

    elnav
    Member

    I was wondering how people are coping with the heat wave if they are off grid and do not have enough power for air conditioning?

    #41645

    elnav
    Member

    Dustoffers comment that Earthships do not require air condittioning may be true but is of little help in the short term. I was thinking more along the line of immediate action to gain relief from the heat wave. Water evaporation is one of the faastest and immediately available means. When I worked on a ssurvey crew in hot july and auggust summers I got laughed at for showingup ering long ssleeved sshirts nd big floppy hat. This being long before such apparel was fashionable. I alo brought bottles of water to soak my sleeve cuffs and the collar of my shirt. As the water evaaporated it cooled off my blood at the pulse points. I also soaked the hat and wore a hankerchief desert soldier style. Maybe it looked silly but I was cooler than the rest of the survey crew.

    I also noted that the bottom of deep trenches t least 6 feet down were cooler than it wasa at ground level. If you are fortunate enough to have a digging machine available You could bury a culvert/pipe deep down then cover it again. Blowair tthrrough it to collect cooler air from earth effect.

    I have heard this described as a “canadian well” but I have enever seen one in Canada. This is a primitive form of geo-therm cooling where you derive benefit from cooler temps in the ground compared to the solar heated surface layer of ground.

    My daughter who lives in basement apartment says it is about 15 degrees cooler than the upstairs floor. Plus she keeps the curtains drawn to keep out the ssunlight.

    BTW any well insulated house with light or white color exterior can be comfortable without air conditioning.

    #41646

    caverdude
    Participant

    I have a quick temporary solution. Lay down some pallets, lay down some thin plywood for flooring. Say 3 sheets. So the floor before walls is 8×12 feet. Get some square hay bales and make one outer wall say (16 inches thick). Each bale is about 8 inches high and 32 inches long. Stagger the bales like bricks. Us metal rods or cain or bamaboo to pin the wall bales together after its set up. Walls would have 12 rows of bales.

    Now use slightly heavier plywood, 3 sheets to cover the top. Put at least one layer of bales on top but preferabley 2 or 3 layers. Next take a $100 window a/c unit or a portable a/c unit and rig it up in the wall somehow. May have to remove part of one bale. For the portable jobs there are hoses. But make sure you insulated the hoses which return air to the outside. Insulate with batt or thermal barrier or both. Run you an extention chord so you can plug in the a/c and a light bulb off of a splitter. Use compact florrecent light bulb because it emitts less heat. You could stack bales in the door way and wall yourself in or you could use like 3 blankets or thermal barrior material to make 3 curtains for a door way. One curtain on the outside, one in the middle and one inside hung with rods. Cover the whole mess with tarps. If you have the bales and find the time you might consider double bale wall. Just build a 2nd wall all the way around. The walls on the inside could be covered with cheap bed sheets. Or if you prefer cheap panneling. For this hay or staw could be used. Though straw would last longer. Single wall would be R50 double wall R100. Thats comercial freezer specs.

    #41647

    elnav
    Member

    WOW! how do you adjust a baler to make them only 8 inches high?

    Incidentally I was specifically asking about solutions for when people off-grid did not have power for any air conditioner.

    #41648

    caverdude
    Participant

    I don’t recall what the dimensions of a bale was, though I thought it was 8x16x32 I need to look it up I guess.

    #41649

    caverdude
    Participant

    14x18x36 looks like is standard.

    #41650

    caverdude
    Participant

    ok then add a combustion powered generator. be sure to use some hay to muffle the generator noise.

    #41651

    elnav
    Member

    Okay that might work assuming you can find an air conditioner still in the stores. Or even just fans for that matter.

    Its like finding snow blowers after the blizzard has hit. SOLD OUT!

    Generally speaking I agree with your approach. Super insulating a house or even a portion of it always pays off. However the time to do it is before the climatic conditions hits you

    Even using water may be a challenge in those area experiencing a drought.

    #41652

    Dustoffer
    Participant

    Building a super insulated house that uses ground temperature for summer cooling/winter warming takes time, planning, and work. Whether with rammed earth tires, trench and pipe to straw bale construction. or whatever.

    Bales are usually 16 high 18 wide and 41 long(R43). Some can be 14 high 18 wide and 36 long, or the large square bale 24x24x48(R50). Their strength depends on compaction and baling wire (vs. twine).

    Short term: White wire mesh pith helmets and loose fitting long sleeves and pants help. There is even a solar powered fan hat. I used to use wool socks in AZ summers to keep my feet cooler. A spray bottle with water for misting yourself helps. Keeping hydrated and balanced electrolytes is a must, too. A breeze helps and so does shade, artificial or natural. Air conditioning is nice if you have the power, and I left AZ when my swamp cooler quit working because the ambient humidity had gone up too high from golf courses and artificial lakes. That was 1990, and it is much worse now.

    #41653

    elnav
    Member

    Interestting comment about swamp coolers. This is the second time I have heard that local climattic changes negated swamp cooler effectiveness.

    That begs the question. What relative humidity level negates swamp coolers completely? I would assume there is a transition range. Below x value it wworks; from x to y it works in decreasing meaasure and above y relative humidity, don’t bother because you won’t see any effect.

    Any numbers you can give us.

    #41654

    caverdude
    Participant

    maybe its a humidity level thats related to the dew point.

    #41655

    elnav
    Member

    Dew point is factored into the humidity index numbers given out by the weather office.

    #41658

    caverdude
    Participant

    Another idea I had was the same as above with the bales, except us a premade container, such as truck trailer, sea container or old used mobile home. But that would require a few extra $1000. I am using for storage right now a $1000 45 foot single axle 1970ish trailer I bought. I needs door repair but I am able to lock it. It would work find for this hay insulated a/c den. Though on this trailer I have I’d like to install a regular door on the side and build some steps up to the door. Instead of entering from the back all the time through the large freight doors.

    http://larrydgray.net

    http://larrydgray.wordpress.com

    #41659

    elnav
    Member

    But Larry how is that going to help tomorrow morning in the middle of a heat wave? People need a solution right now that doesn’t require power.

    Your buried shipping container idea belongs over in the constrtuction department.

    #41660

    Dustoffer
    Participant

    >>>This is about all you can do, along with spending time in the nearest pool, lake, or river, or the ocean.

    Short term: White wire mesh pith helmets and loose fitting long sleeves and pants help. There is even a solar powered fan hat. I used to use wool socks in AZ summers to keep my feet cooler. A spray bottle with water for misting yourself helps. Keeping hydrated and balanced electrolytes is a must, too. A breeze helps and so does shade, artificial or natural.<<<

    The heat wave is humid, so the mist spray will have limited cooling effect.

    My swamp cooler in PHX worked up until the humidity was 30%. I could have bought an expensive water pre-cooler to help, but decided to sell instead. It was 1985 when I sold the house and 1990 when I moved out of state because of wage reduction from of the invasion, and the heat index increase. For 4 years I was an “in state snowbird”. Living and working in the mountains and coming to PHX in winters (except one).

    Good luck surviving the heat wave.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.