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The hottest house in town!

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Joined: Jul 22 2003

Wow, I'm burning up in my Eichler. I don't want to get the unico because I have to then get a foam roof and I just don't feel like dishing out 30k + Does anyone have any good tips on airconditioning for the house? My neighbor has a swap cooler and that's okay, but I need MUCHO air.

I was also surprised to see that the foam roofs don't cut down the heat all that much. I mean I could tell the difference, but it was still hot like crazy!

If all else fails I'm thinking of wall units, which are ugly and look awful. Before I resort to such measures I thought I would consult with my fellow eichler owners.

HOT HOT HOT!!!!!!

-Boooom

ps. I'll never think bad of anyone who has the octopus on their roof. I understand!

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

At the local home improvement stores I have been seeing portable airconditioners that look like large space heaters and connect to a window with a flexible hose for ventilation

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

there have been mucho posts about the mini-ductless systems which seem to be pretty good...but like you said, not that attractive.
My neighbor across the street is an air conditioning specialist and said that he just installed a system on top of a client's house (no foam roofing). The ducts were specially made 2" x a couple of feet so they would lay very flat to the foot...very hard to see unless you live at the bottom of a hill. He said that if we ever wanted he would be able to do the same thing to our house...at about $12K. Now I don't know how amazing it would look, and essentially it would be the same thing as a regular air conditioning system but without the giant tubes on your roof. Don't know much about it, but there are other options out there beside the unico and wall units. You just have to ask the right people i guess...

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Joined: Apr 8 2003

BobbyBoom,
Have you done anything to reduce heat gain through all the glass? I know some eichlers aren't sited well when it comes to what direction the windows are facing, but keeping the sun out makes a big difference. We're still trying to figure out the best way to keep the heat out in our eichler in Granada Hills, without spending a fortune on prevention or utility bills. Right now, we have two unused rooms facing west, and we seal those off from the rest of the house in the morning, and it helps keep the rest of the house relatively cool for the rest of the day.

This is OT, but is this the same Bobby that used to work down here in Burbank at 'da mouse' about 4 years ago?

If so, drop me a line:
beamtasticATearthlinkDOTnet

-darrell

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

check out the "evaporative cooler" by Convair. The model is called millenia. it's at costco.

These run about $200 and are portable on wheels. You only need to plug it in and open a near-by window. They work great. When it's not hot, you put it in the garage or a closet. You don't need to cut a hole in your house or alter a window!

Some other solutions for cooling your home:
1. use a light color roofing material, reflects to sun and lowers interior temps by 10-15 degrees.
2. Proper landscaping: siting trees logically to cast shade on large glass areas and your roof during the hot times.
3. Use flooring materials like tile or concrete. A cool slab feels nice.
4. cross ventilation is key. Again, proper landscaping should allow you to open your windows and drapes. Let it flow!

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Joined: Mar 26 2003

You don't have to have a foam roof to put in a unico system - that's just one option. The real trick is in locating the air handler. If you are open to re-roofing, then you have some options. If you are not open to re-roofing, then yes, your choices are limited. As cindy states, you just have to find the right aircond contractor.

Also, if you wanted to phase in your outlay of $$$ for the aircond, then you could re-roof and install the ducting, focus on a very good radiant barrier, and put in operable skylights for a chimney effect. A good radiant barrier has been shown to cut interior heat dramatically.

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Joined: Jul 1 2003

Hey Bobby: I share your pain and I'm dying from these "rare" South Bay heat waves which have descended on us for about 8 weeks out of the 10 since I've lived in the area.
The landscaping is what it is, and I can't grow 20-ft trees in a week to get more shade (I like to have one though to block the 2nd story view of my backyard neighbor's non-Eichler), and I can't enough cross breezes to cool off my BR area. So I'm looking at A/C, but I'm skeptical of contractors (after spending $500+ on a new water heater, most of which was Sunnyvale permit & EQ bracing).
So here's what I'm planning to do: a 2-zone mini-split A/C for my daughter's BR and my wife's office (4th BR); by restricting to the BR area, I hope the installation will be as simple as possible. If you A/C one, critical area, you can get a 1-zone system. People who do a "full-house" 2-zone/2-indoor unit installation will pay $5-$6K; big pocket change when you consider the hardware is only half that, and it's already 2x more expensive than equilavent BTU for big window A/C - - but that's what we work for, drive more/faster and blow hot air off to our neighbors. All kidding aside, I prefer natural cooling and don't want to take out a 2nd mortgage to pay utilities.
I agree with comments on mini-duct systems like Unico - - I don't want anyone cutting into the roof and contractors walking on it for several days.
My wife has told me to stop complaining and get the A/C, but I'm a cheapskate and don't want to pay full freight, so I'm dialing around for quotes (but contractors aren't calling back since they're busy installing A/C all over the South Bay).

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Just off hand what is a heat wave to you all..

Im in n. Texas looking at 100 degrees outside..

Although my brother got married in Sunnyvale on labor day 2 years ago at 90 degrees outside.. Man did that church need ventilation, realy was unpleasant in my tux.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

We had a portable AC, the $1,000 model, and it is nearly useless. It is a glorified fan. That is it.

We are much cooler since installing our ductless mini-split system by Sanyo. You can read the other threads for the details. Suffice it to say that when I get home during a heatwave, the house may be as hot as 80 degrees. After one hour, the LR/DR and kitchen areas are down to about 74 (remember, this is one huge open space) and the MBR is a cool 72. After another hour, I can get the MBR down to 70, and during the night, as low as 69. I too hate hot weather.

When we had a heatwave a few weeks ago and it was hovering around 98 degrees, we would turn them on around 2PM, just when the house was starting to heat up. That way, we had a cool house all day long. When it was 98 degrees outside, it was 72 in the house. That is a 26-degree difference!

Lastly I will just say that if you have white walls, these units are not unsightly at all. They are mounted up high, just a couple of inches below the ceiling. So they are white and well above the line of sight. This was the best $6,300 I ever spent and we would do it again in a heartbeat. Swamp coolers and portable units are useless, so don't waste your $$. Bottom line: some are not bothered by the heat, but for the rest of us, there is Unico and mini-split technology.

Cathye

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Joined: Jul 24 2003

Bryan, when most Eichlers were built in the 50's and 60's, a typical
South Bay summer day maxed in the mid 80's, and dropped into the
low 60's after dark. It was possible to open windows at night, cool
your house down and close up during the day and come home to an
interior a good 10-15 degrees cooler than the outside after work, and
sometimes you even needed to run the heat at night in July. But in
the years since, there are twice as many people and cars and most
every patch of land in the area has been built on or paved over.
The daytime temps in the summer often go into the 90's, and
night temps seldom go much below 70 because of the heat being
reradiated back into the air from all the concrete and asphalt. That
may not seem like much to you in TX, but most of the houses here
were built for the climate of 40 years ago (including a lot of Eichler
and other modernist structures with lots of fixed glass), and haven't
been updated.

Bryan wrote:
Just off hand what is a heat wave to you all..

Im in n. Texas looking at 100 degrees outside..

Although my brother got married in Sunnyvale on labor day 2 years ago at 90 degrees outside.. Man did that church need ventilation, realy was unpleasant in my tux.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Correction: our system is a SAMSUNG.

Here are the things we did that had the most impact in cooling our home:

-Replaced T&G roof with foam: Difference = as much as 10 degrees. Very noticable. Before, it could be 75 degrees outside and 85 inside, due to the path of the sun.

-Replaced all the wood chips and dirt in the yard with lawns. We have 4 of them. It made a huge difference as well. Cooler and moister air now.

-Replaced all side lights and sliding glass doors w double-pane Millgards with Low-e glass. The only original glass we have are the two giant panes, one in the LR and one in the MBR. We will probably have Sun Check film put on them, which should add additional insulation.

-Split system AC

Cathye

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Joined: Jul 6 2003

We have a split zone Sanyo with one unit in the living room. (Which is not seperated from the kitchen and dining room). As long as it's going we can keep the area at say 78 while it's 90+ outside. We've another unit in our bedroom and the children's room. However the children's room really isn't that hot. That side of the house stays cool(ish).

Mark Hoy Sunnyvale Eichler Owner

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

a quaking aspen tree looks similar to a birch tree, except they are much cleaner. You can get a 10 ft. quaking aspen for about $75-100. They grow 5 ft per year. Grouped with 1-2 more could provide instant natural protection from the sun, as well as add beauty to your landscape.

Or you can stick a big, ugly, loud box on your roof or wall and have it suck electricity all summer.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Thanks for the sermon, Joe. It's comforting to know that we have some Sierra Club members on this board.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

OUCH!

such language!

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Joined: May 13 2003

We are in Terra Linda in Marin, and climate is a little different than southern peninsula. However, over the years we have installed foam roof with white reflective top and double glazing (Great Eichler Window) on all large and small windows. What a difference! If you cool the house down enough overnight, it rarely goes over the low 80's at the hottest time of day.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Ashamed?

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