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Summer heat in an old house... Answered

I am trying to find a new home but until then I am stuck in a '*§%& of a house that feels more like an oven.
Problem is old age and a landlord who prefers unqualified DIY jobs rather than getting it done properly.
I already wasted a lot of money on foam tape to at least prevent the wind from blowing through all doors and windows but the "aircon" is what kills me right now.
The house is fitted with an evaporative cooler, which would be perfectly fine in a desert area but not around here with humidity levels usually between 50 and 65%, much higher when it rains on a hot day.
My current choice is to sleep at around 34°C in my bedroom or to turn the cooler on to get down to 30°C but everything will be "wet" the next morning.
Needless to say the system never had a clean or service done and the landlord is not going to change that as it is not a legal requirement here.
Now I am seriously considering to waste more money and to get polystyrene boards to cover the windows that are fitted with just 3mm single pane glass.
Was anyone ever desperate enough to such a silly thing and give some insight on how much of a temp difference was achieved?
Any better or cheaper options out there apart from buying a portable aircon?



Best Answer 2 years ago

It's pretty funny in a way. Right now I am having the opposite problem. It was -20 last night And that is the same both F and C. And then of course the wind made it feel colder. We are projected to stay below 0 F all this week with yet another snow storm on the coming weekend. Since none of it is melting it is getting deeper and deeper and things are disappearing beneath 5 foot drifts of white. Not a fun winter this year. However, yes I have been putting foam boards in the windows for many years and it really helps. There are a few problems with it, with the cold at least. The windows get a layer of frost on them, which is not a problem you will have. As soon as it starts getting above freezing the foam needs to be taken out and the water from the frost soaked up to prevent any water damage. I just put a towel down until the frost is gone, then after its melted the foam can be put back in. In the bathroom which has lots of moisture I can get 1/4 inch layer of ice on the windows so its important to dry them out. The second problem is that it darkens the room a lot. With no light coming through the foam the window becomes a wall. So you need good lighting to counter it. For your use It sounds like the best to get would be the foil faced stuff. Most foams have problems with UV light and form a layer of powder where they are exposed all the time. The foil will prevent that. Also foil reflects radiant heat so it would help there too.

I have a rear door that is never used anymore, its really just an emergency escape door now. Anyway it used to loose a lot of heat through it. Right now it is filled with a sheet of foil face foam and calked around the edges so it is air tight. My hand held thermal meter shows it the same as the wall in temp now so the door is still available in an emergency but now does not loose any heat.

To cut the foam I have learned to use a long razor blade. I have one of those snap off blade, the ones that you snap off the top section when they get dull. Anyway I run the entire blade out and use it on one to 2 inch foam. It cuts much better than a saw or a hot wire. Make a paper template of the full window so it is the exact size. It is pretty rare for a window frame to be perfectly square so the template makes it much easier to get things right. Just tape the template on the foam and cut it out with the razor knife. Label the foam with arrows or letters to show which way is up and in side out. Something like R B for right bottom will really help when you need to put it piece back in if you take it out. Getting the foam out can be a problem if you manage to get a really good fit. I find that something like a small scraper or even a butter knife will help get it out. Just push against the foam and pull out. I would get the thickest board that will fit in the window. You get more R value with thicker foam.

After a few years the foam gets a little beat up depending on where you have to store it when not in use. But it's pretty easy to cut new ones.

I think on a single pane window this will make a really big difference.

They also make insulated window shades with Velcro edges that will seal to the wall but these are a little expensive and the don't have the same R value as foam boards.


Answer 2 years ago

That's what I call usefull, thanks for that! :)
Seems I have to do some shopping tomorrow LOL


Answer 2 years ago

FYI, you can snap that foam board like drywall - its a LOT easier than cutting the stuff through :-(

also -40 C/F is where the scales coincide


Answer 2 years ago

I decided to get scientific about it and take some measurements. The pictures tell the story.

Temp 1.jpgTemp 2.jpgTemp 3.jpgTemp 4.jpgTemp 5.jpgTemp 6.jpg

2 years ago

Whitewashing windows was done in an earlier age to reduce light and heat influx. Cheap, simple ? Worth a try ?


Answer 2 years ago

Never really thought about that but I doubt my landlord would agree to white windows, he did not even like my idea of tinting the windows at my cost.
But your idea is not that bad, maybe I get away with a "flyscreen" frame and shade cloth in it.
Could be removed on the coller days and should not be too offending to my landlord.
For today I will try the aluminium foil from the Ible to the right for the bedroom.