With all the heat waves that have been occurring lately this post will give you some tips on how to stay cool when the power is shut down and there is no air conditioning.
Hopefully you have an older home. New homes are designed for air conditioning; they fail to have good overhangs on the eves and do not have good airflow with the windows open. If you are in a position to remodel, buy or build a new home, make sure that you have good airflow in your living areas. By this I mean that with the windows open you will have a cross breeze.
I was in Arizona a while back and I noticed that in many of the new homes many of the windows could not even be opened. Air conditioning is nice, but don’t depend on it.
The things to look for in a home that will help you stay cool are as follows
- Good airflow through the living areas.
- At least 3 foot overhangs on the eves.
- The home should be well insulated.
- There should be no air leaks around doors and windows; use caulking or weather stripping as necessary.
- Energy efficient windows.
- Louver blinds, cellular shades or lined curtains inside windows.
- Install sunscreens or awnings on outside of windows.
- Plant a tree or trees a safe distance from the house to provide shade on the home.
- A solar-powered attic fan helps home cooling by pulling hot air out of the attic from either a roof vent or gable vent.
Things you can do to help you and your home stay cool.
- Don’t cook or eat during the heat of the day, eat early or late. Digesting food takes energy and generates heat.
- Do not cook inside, eat cold meals or use an outdoor grill or camping stove. This is a great time to use your solar oven or wonder box.
- If you have good insulation open your windows at night to allow the house to cool off. Then close your windows in the morning and the house should stay cooler during the day.
- Keep your blinds or curtains closed as long as the sun hits them.
- Limit your physical activities to early morning or late evening, the more you move the hotter you will get.
- Dress in light loose cotton clothes, perspiration in cotton clothes can create an evaporative cooler effect.
- Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Get a solar powered fan.
- When outdoors keep your head covered, have a good wide brimmed hat.
- Wear a water soaked bandana on your head or neck.
- A friend who lives in the Sonora Desert said that prior to getting air conditioning; he often slept on a cot outside under a wet sheet.
- If you have a basement, you may want to consider sleeping in it, since they normally stay cooler.
While these are all good things to help you stay cool, the biggest factor will be to allow your body to acclimatize to the heat. Remember many people lived happily before air conditioning.