Air Conditioning On the High Desert

This week is going to be hot… Like, hot, hot. Up till a couple days ago we have had a really nice cool spring/early summer. This has been an extreme blessing to us since we ran out of irrigation water the first week of June, so our meadows have been slowly drying out, but due to some wonderful thunderstorms and the cool weather our meadows have retained more moister than we expected them to. This week things are going to change. Three days ago it was raining and in the 60s/70s, beautiful! Now it’s 97 degrees with the forecast expecting triple digits by the beginning of the week. Ouch.

Being that I am 33 weeks pregnant at this point I am feeling inclined to buy a window unit air conditioner, but I haven’t resigned to it… Quite yet (check back later with me next week). Currently, we use a very old fashioned way of heating and cooling our house and that’s by opening and closing the windows. For those of you who live in humid locations, this idea might baffle you and might be a concept you can’t understand, which is totally understandable, but in the high desert it typically gets pretty cool in the evening time. Less than 2 weeks ago I was desperately trying to save my garden from frost! (if that gives you an idea of how cold it can get). You probably remember learning in school that the desert can get down to freezing cold temperatures at night and it’s the truth, so thankfully the need for air conditioning units is not as vital here as it is in humid areas.

The process is simple: Around 8pm in the evenings we go around and open all the windows we possibly can (one’s that have screens in them). Throughout the night the temperature drops and with the help of a slight breeze blowing up the valley, our house will typically drop 10-15 degrees from where it started that day. During mid-summer when the temperatures are in the 80-90s it ranges from about 45-60 degrees in the evening time. This week is going to be more difficult with it being in the high 90s and low 100s. The temperature at night will most likely stay in the mid to high 60s which makes it a challenge to keep the house cool.

In the mornings (about 6am) we go around the house and close all the windows and close the blinds throughout the day based on where the sun is. I also close bedroom doors and try not to do too much cooking or laundry during the day, due to the excessive amount of heat that is put off (slow cookers put off an immense amount of heat!) In fact I have a slow cooker and a small toaster oven that I do a lot of cooking in, so I put both of them out in my mud-room so it doesn’t heat the house up (I wish I would’ve thought of that years before).

Besides a couple ceiling and floor fans that’s all I have to cool the house with. We’ll see as the summer progresses and I continue to grow if I’ll be able to handle the house climbing in temperature. I’ve made it through 3 summers in this house so far without an AC unit so we’ll see if this is the summer that’ll do me in!

Or if all else fails as my husband and daughter do in the heat of the day, is go into our mini pool with a glass of cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade, some tortilla chips and a beach ball and soak away the heat!

pool timeIf anyone has some helpful tips on keeping your house cool, please feel free to share!

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