Here in the 21st Century, it’s hard to imagine a time before air conditioners and central air. But the fact of the matter is, air conditioning is a fairly recent invention in the grand scheme of things. Up until the mid-1900s, people had to get really creative in how they stayed cool, especially in the southern part of the United States, and in states like Texas. If you find yourself taking a step back in time because of a broken air conditioner, call New Braunfels’ AC repair specialists at Legacy Air Conditioning & Heating.
It’s a well-known fact that heat rises. If you live on the second or third floor of a building, you’ll know that it seems to get hotter faster than the first floor. For a long time, houses were built very low to the ground, and in some cases, were even built underground! This ensured that the interior of the home stayed cool most of the year, and especially during the summer months. As people started designing larger buildings, they started putting in taller ceilings. This allowed the heat to rise and keep everyone from sweltering. However, as buildings grew taller and more stories were added, people refrained from using rooms and spaces on upper floors until night had fallen, as they would be too warm during the day.
Beyond tall ceilings, people got creative with how they designed the entire building. The iconic “shotgun house,” is one room wide, and is very long. This allowed air to flow from an open front door all the way out the back door without interruption. Other homes added sleeping porches to use in the summer months. Some homes added cupolas at the apex of their roofs so that warm air could escape as it rose.
Trees Are The Key
We might be in the industry of AC repair, but we spend a lot of time in customer’s backyards, and we’ve grown to appreciate nice landscaping. But your landscaping is both pretty and practical. Shade trees were planted around houses to keep sunlight from directly hitting the building. Today we know that shade trees make an impact on the microclimate of your home, and it’s not uncommon to see significant drops in temperature when trees are planted near homes.
Whole House Fans
Now considered a noisy antique, these were once the leading innovation in climate control for homeowners. A whole house fan is installed in a central location on the attic floor, and a massive fan would be powered on for a short period each evening. With all of the windows open, the fan would draw all of the hot air up and out of the house, while drawing cool air from outside into the house. While this was a noisy solution, it was fairly effective, and some houses still use them.
People of the past found plenty of ways to keep cool. We’ll cover a few more examples in another blog. Until then, call your New Braunfels AC repair experts if you need to fix a malfunctioning air conditioner.