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Cool Cincinnati Home Design Before Modern Air Conditioning

Aug 17, 2017
Air Conditioning Old Homes | Nelson Comfort

Have you ever wondered how people kept cool before air conditioning came into the picture?  Nelson Comfort has been in the HVAC industry since 1925, providing service to the residents in Cincinnati and other surrounding areas in Ohio – we have seen many changes in the way people cool their homes! Take a look at some of the methods used before the air conditioning systems we know and love today.

Home Architecture

One of the best ways to maintain a cool home was through effective design and layout of the rooms and windows.  Homes needed to utilize natural ventilation, which was determined with research on local wind and breeze patterns. This information was used when positioning a home and its features.  Some of the major aspects that went into using natural ventilation were:

Cross Ventilation:

  • Encouraged airflow through homes with effective placement of doors, windows, and interior walls.
  • Windows were opened on either the top or the bottom to direct the breeze into specific rooms.

Cool Construction:

  • Homes were also built on blocks or columns to allow air to flow beneath the house continuously, which resulted in cooler temperatures inside the home.
  • The exterior walls were thickly made of brick or stone to keep heat out during the hottest part of the day.
  • Shutters were also used on windows to block out light and decrease a home’s heat gain.

Outside Cooling

Another way for homeowners in Cincinnati to keep cool before air conditioning was available was to be outdoors as much as possible.  People generally socialized on front porches.  Some would even sleep on their porches when the weather permitted.  During this time, more porches were screened in, which allowed air to flow through but kept bugs out.  A few other elements that were used outdoors to keep cool:

  • Electric fans used on porches
  • Large trees for shade and blocking direct sunlight from the house and yard
  • Free-standing summer kitchens for cooking in the middle of the day
  • Laundry and bath houses that were separate from the main house
  • Climbing vines that offered natural shade

The history of how earlier generations kept cool is fascinating and these principles are still practical today!  Fortunately for families in Cincinnati and the surrounding areas, Nelson Comfort is able to install, repair, and perform maintenance on efficient modern air conditioners.  Call us today and let us help you keep cool without resorting to old ways!

About The Author

Dan Detmer
Dan Detmer is the owner of Nelson Comfort. Dan was born into the heating and cooling industry, coming from a family of well respected HVAC contractors in Dayton, Ohio. After working in the family business, Dan decided to work for a local HVAC wholesale business helping local contractors grow their business. When he felt his heart moving him back into the residential and light commercial business, Dan joined the Mortimer Heating & Cooling team in Cincinnati, where he had called home and become part of the community for several years. After a short period of time Dan purchased the company and created what is today, Nelson Comfort. Today he operates a company based on integrity, honesty, and stellar customer service. If you have any questions feel free to tweet (at sign) NelsonComfort and we will get right back with you!
Posted in Heating & Cooling

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