Monday, December 30, 2013

A Hot December in Hawaii

During the past three months the trade winds in Hawaii have been constantly blocked by storms from the south.  Without the cooling trade winds, we have been having hot winter days on Hawaii Island and have had to run the AC during scorching afternoons. Recently we found a thermometer gadget that is keeping us cooler and saving us money on electricity.

Temperature differences from afternoon to evening in Hawaii are usually 10 to 20 degrees, which is more than the day time differences between seasons. 

During these windless days, the tropical sun causes the temperature in the house to climb over 90 degrees and fans no longer are enough to keep us comfortable.  We close the windows and turn on the AC to get the temperature down to the lower 80’s.  Once the sun sets, the temperature outside falls quickly, but we were never sure when it had cooled down enough outside to turn off the AC and open the windows.  Our new thermometer gadget lets us know when the temperature outside is cooler than inside which has greatly reduced the time we run the AC.
86 degrees outside with day's range of 70 to 111 degrees
84 degrees inside

The Acurite wireless thermometer gadget displays the inside and outside temperatures as well as the temperature range for the day.  The outdoor thermometer on our porch shows us how quickly the temperature is rising outside and as soon as we see that it is hotter outside than inside, we close the door and pull the blinds.   This temperature switch often happens by 9 A.M., even in December.   We were very surprised to see how hot it was actually getting outside without the trade winds – the thermometer often displays temperatures of 110 degrees or more on our porch.  With the door closed and the sunlight blocked, the house stays cool sometimes for the entire day.  Only during excessively hot afternoons when the inside temperature rises to the high 80’s, do we turn on the AC.   The super heated air outside quickly cools down after sun set, up to 1 degree a minute.  As soon as the temperature is several degrees cooler outside than inside, we open the windows.  With this approach, we turn the AC off hours earlier than we used to and are able to keep the house cooler longer by blocking the sun earlier. 

We were delighted to find that our electric bill was much lower than the month before, even though it was the hottest month we have ever had in Hawaii.

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