Should I keep the windows open to keep my house cooler on a hot day?

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Offline mariaguimaraes

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Maria Guimar„es  asked the Naked Scientists:
Dear Chris and other naked scientists,
I live in Brazil and it's been quite hot here lately. I hope you can help me solve an argument I face at home: to keep the temperature as pleasant as possible in the house, is it better to close all doors and windows to keep the air out, or to let the (hot) breeze sweep through?
Thank you! Maria

What do you think?



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I think it would have to depend upon the construction of your house. If it stone and built solidly, it may well have a lot of heat storage capacity and good insulation. With the doors all shut and the windows covered it may take some while for the Sun to heat it up from the outside. A minimum of hot air moving through the house might be best .
If the house has low thermal capacity and is not insulated then the Sun's heat will get through quickly and you will  roast inside unless you let some air through.

Also, if the air is low in humidity, you could achieve some cooling with water evaporation - a pool in a central courtyard or even wet towels draped around- can cool the air passing through.  If it is humid where you live then this will not work.