For those of you who know about our family and the things we have been doing, the following situation is going to be easily believed - because you know that I wouldn't lie to you. Skeptics are once again encouraged to come and see for themselves. We have lived in this house now since 2001. When we entered our first full summer, the summer of 2002, it was our full intention to put an air conditioning system into the house. But as it turned out, we went through nearly the entire summer not even needing an air conditioner. The house, though not cooled like a centrally air conditioned house, stayed comfortable all summer. What a pleasant surprise. We had an unseasonably mild summer that year, so we passed it off as just a rare occurrence. The summer of 2003 was much the same with the unpleasant exception to the last two weeks of August. As the summer heat beat down on the house all day, and then when the sun began to shine hard onto the west side, the temperatures inside the house became uncomfortable. For nearly 2 weeks out of the summer, towards 5:00pm, we would typically head into town to go swimming, or out to dinner, or shopping, or whatever else we could do to get some relief from the heat. Basically the same pattern repeated itself for the summers of '04, '05, & '06. We would be fine all summer - except for the last two weeks of August.

Now, jump ahead to today. This August has been ridiculously hot. We have had steady temperatures now for many days of 95+. Today, the temps are 97 - 100 with heat indexes over 100. Below, you will see a screen shot from the Weather Channel's website showing the time of day and the temperature. This month has been so hot, we have actually been shopping for air conditioners for the house. (Remember, our generator is plenty big enough to run air conditioning units, should we ever decide to purchase one.) Well, I've said all of that to say this:

We have just learned one of the most awesome things about our house in the last three days that it is just blowing our minds. On Friday, August 10, we went to town for the entire day. It looked like the possibility of thunder storms, so we closed all the windows in the house. My wife and I talked throughout the day as we looked at the temperature readout on our van showing outside temps of 100 - sometimes as much as 103 - that when we got home, the house would be 100 degrees or more because we had the windows closed all day. We arrived back home at approximately 5:30pm. The temperature on our van's readout was still showing 98 degrees. Nonetheless, we left the air conditioned van and opened the door to enter the house. TO OUR UTTER AMAZEMENT - the temperature INSIDE the house WAS ONLY 75 DEGREES!!! The house was nearly a full 25 degrees cooler inside than the outdoors temperature.

Saturday morning, we decided to try the same experiment. We left the windows closed all day. Once again, the highest our thermostat moved was to 75 degrees. We opened the windows Saturday night at approximately 9:00pm when the outside temps had fallen sufficiently. By 8:30am this morning, the house thermometer was showing 70 degrees - the exact temperature that the air had fallen to during the night. Once again, we closed the windows during the heat of the day. Now - as you can see below - at 2:15pm - the temperature inside the house is only 74 degrees.

What do we attribute this to? We joked around with each other that it was totally blind luck. (We don't believe this to be the case - and I'll discuss more of that at a later date).

  • 6 inch walls insulated with R19
  • 10 feet high ceilings downstairs
  • Full wrap around porch
  • Two giant oak trees on the southside that keep the house in the shade all day
  • The center of the house has an oversized stairwell that opens all the way to the ceiling upstairs - approximately 20 feet as soon as you open the front door.

We can't begin to tell you how overjoyed we are at this discovery. I am now anxious for the 90+ degree days to continue - because I know that 65 degree nights are coming soon. I can't wait to see what happens to the house with those temp extremes.

More later. Charlie

Patrick Henry link:
New Haven Covenant: