When I was a young kid, we lived in a cold climate and most houses way up north in this area did not have central air – well, definitely not when I was a child.
We had ceiling fans in the living room and kitchen, a window air conditioning unit in one of the upstairs bedrooms and one standing fan in my bedroom.
I am unsure of the insulation situation from the first floor to second but my goodness during winter when the heat was on it got dreadfully hot upstairs in the bedrooms. I would need to run my fan on high the entire night along with the window air conditioning unit! You are not supposed to keep those in all year long, especially since snow will end up sitting on it and ruin it! I did not care, I could not handle it. I begged my mother to leave the window air conditioning unit in all year and she reluctantly did. The weirdest part of all of it was that the downstairs area would be still “chilly” compared to the upstairs so when I tell you the heat rose, it really rose. It made it so difficult to find a comfortable temperature for us for the entire house. I suppose that is one of the biggest downfalls of an older home – you never know how it was insulated and it does not have a central system for heat and air like the homes down south do. Thankfully, my mom was very okay with leaving the window air conditioning unit in during winter; even though it probably wasted so much of her money!