A Time without Comfort: Life Before Air Conditioning Systems

High Ceiling in South FloridaIt took human civilisation centuries to invent air conditioning systems. Residents that have relied on it for years can barely imagine a life before they could control home temperature with just a push of a button. However, people who live in the hottest places without the use of split air conditioner systems, or before it got invented have discovered ways to beat the immense heat.

Homes Built for Chill

Homes built before or during the 1800s have common design features that you rarely see in modern homes. Most of these features, such as high ceilings, were there to help the residents stay cool. The science behind this explains that hot air rises and these higher ceilings provide more space for hot air to remain in, making eye-level space cooler.

Front porches were also a typical architectural feature back in the day. They built it very deep with plenty of shade to provide relief from the heat. Homes with large covered porches served as a shady buffer zone that people can go to when the house felt too stuffy. There were houses who even had screened-in porches where they can sleep in when nights get too hot.

According to SunSentinel, a professor from the University of South Florida named Raymond Arsenault revealed that homes were also equipped with long central breezeways.

The Sources of Ventilation

Windows were the only sources of ventilation, which made it a critical part of the foundation of a home. Architects even had to make sure that windows were set up on opposite sides of a room to produce a nice cross-breeze. To cool down the breeze and block the sun, residents had to plant shady trees on the east and west sides of their homes.

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Residents who lived most of their lives with air conditioning might see life in the past as excruciating. But, they do have to appreciate the ingenious ventilation systems and architectural built of houses back then that helped people survive hot weather.