Having temperatures in the 90s doesn’t help life when you’ve got a non-air conditioned house. We retreat to the basement on occasion and, assuming the overnight temperatures cooperate, we open up the house in the mornings, get the cool air in, then close everything up as the outside world heats up.

This process works well when (1) the overnight low reaches a maximum of about 60 degrees and (2) the outside cools down in time for bed. Otherwise, around 4 PM the attic temperatures are so high that the heat pushes down through the insulation into the living spaces, and we’re pretty much doomed, upstairs at least, to suffer the weather.

I’ve taken some steps this summer to mitigate this “house-too-hot” problem, though it all probably comes too late for this season.

After we return from California—our annual summer trip is coming up shortly—we’ll be installing a northside window in the garage. This horizontal slider window replaces the sad, stationary plastic thing that sits there now. The idea is that the breeze, which given our microclimate frequently comes out of the north, will more easily infiltrate the garage space during summer evenings if we have a vent for it on the north wall. For those interested, I’m using Total Comfort of Salem for the installation and an Empire Pacific window. After our horrible experience with Summit/Jeld Wenn, we weren’t going with them again. (Six tries to get the window in Jonah’s room correct and it still isn’t perfect.) Turns out Total Comfort isn’t recommending Jeld Wenn any more either. Surprise, surprise.

With Dave’s help, I installed an attic fan in an attempt to keep that space more normalized with the outside temperature. Since inadequately ventilated attics trap heat and can be 20, 30 or even 40 degrees hotter than the outside, and since this is precisely our problem here, the attic fan should provide a level of cooling for the house which allows us to remain more comfortable than before. My good buddies at Code Electric (who I highly recommend for any electrical work) will be here on Monday morning, so if current weather predictions hold we’ll see how it works on an 86 degree day.

I did have to call out a roof repair company to deal with the flashing around the attic fan. Since we have a bar tile roof I had no idea how to handle the flashing (which isn’t to say that I didn’t get up there and give it the old thoroughly useless college try).

I called five roofing companies in Salem, and I think my experience speaks volumes about the level of customer service in that particular industry. The first to call me back was the Roof Doctors. We set an appointment date and time, and Roof Doctor “Elijah” promptly blew me off. Figuring that anyone can make a mistake, I agreed to meet with him the following morning first thing. Well, he blew me off again. Apparently the Roof Doctors don’t make house calls.

Happily, I was able to find just who I needed in Andrew of Western Roofing. Fast, professional, totally pro. Highly recommended, especially given the alternatives, none of whom called me back with the aforementioned Roof Doctor exception. Now Andrew doesn’t do whole roof tear-offs and installations, but if you need maintenance, repair, water-proofing or the like, he’s your guy. Certainly from now on when I need roof repair, he’s my guy.