Hot 4th of July

… not only in Chicago, but the whole Midwest.

Once it became clear that it would get steamy, I began to take records of daytime highs and nighttime lows based on the thermometer along the north side of our building. All readings are shade readings.

Tuesday, 07/03

  • High 98F (37C)
  • Low 79F (26C)

Wednesday, 07/04

  • High 104F (40C)
  • Low 82F (28C)

Thursday, 07/05

  • High 107F (42C)
  • Low 83F (28C)

Friday, 07/06

  • High 106F (41C)
  • Low 84F (29C)

Saturday, 07/07

  • High 98F (37C)
  • Low 75F (24C)

Cathy took the dog for a walk on Saturday at 9:00 am, when we were close to the high of 98F. She wished she would have waited a couple of hours, because by 11:00 am the wind shifted to the northeast and temperatures crashed. Before we knew it, we had a stiff, dry breeze with temperatures in the lower 80’s. Boy did that feel pleasant after three days of 100 degree temperatures!

How did we cope with the heat? We kept all the windows and doors shut, and hoped that our insulation would help keeping the inside comfortable and cool. To maintain good indoor air quality, we run the ERV for brief periods in the evening and again in the morning.

That worked pretty well, except that humidity levels rose to the point where it got uncomfortable. To manage summer humidity in the garden unit, we bought an efficient portable AC last year. It is a product by Whytner (Model: ARC-14S), with an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of 11.2 and a specific dehumidification setting.

We turned it on for a couple of hours in the morning and again in the evening, while outside temperatures were somewhat cool. The total run time per day may have been up to five hours. The energy consumption of the AC per day ranged from 4 to 5 kWh (measured with a Kill a Watt (TM))

That allowed us to maintain the indoor temperature at and just below 80F (27C) with comfortable humidity levels. Also, the ceiling fan over the bed made for some very comfortable nights.

We had another excellent way to cool off – in the Park District pool just across the street (1/3 mile), barely five minutes’ walking distance.

This is where our initial research back from the house hunting days begins to pay off. The pool admits the general adult public from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, and it’s free! Cold pool water has never felt so good!

I had to figure out what kind of daytime work I should and could do on the 1st floor, which is not conditioned and got rather steamy. How about installing radiators?

More about this later…

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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