Monday, August 6, 2012

Ways To Stay Cool In Hot Weather

This post is about ways to stay cool in hot weather. I am writing this as emergency preparedness because too much heat can kill people, especially if they are not used to it.

We can expect hotter temperatures than used to be normal in most areas of the world because of climate change. We can expect the weather to continue getting hotter for the rest of the lives of all of us alive now and for several generations after us. That is if we stop making it worse in time.

If you have looked at many of my posts for this blog, you know that I am an advocate of underground homes. One of the reasons for this is that they are cooler during the summer than most other kinds of homes. It is possible to be comfortable  in an underground home during very hot weather without using any air conditioning.

If you are in a position to build a home it might be a good idea to look into building an underground home.

I used to live in a city that got very hot during the summer. While I was there we had two record-breaking heat spells. The first one was over 30 days in a row of 100f and up weather. The second one was over 40 days in a row of 100f weather.

City officials announced that they expected record breaker hot weather and that they were opening public cooling shelters for people who were at risk of health problems due to heat. This needs to be done in other hot places to save lives. Babies, young children, elderly and those with some chronic health problems should be in the shelters. 

Some kinds of medication can kill you if you get overheated as well. If you live in an area that gets unusually hot ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine is one of those.

When I lived in the hot city during the record heat I found ways to keep cool. I opened all of the windows at night and closed them before it got to the hottest part of the day.

I made window covers to put up during the hottest part of the day. They work best if you use aluminum foil or reflective mylar on the outside to reflect the heat away from your home. If you want to recycle, the insides of many potato chip bags and other packages are mylar or foil. You can cut them open and wash them out. Then you can use them as window reflectors. It works well to glue or tape them to cardboard.

You can grow vines over your windows to give you shade and make your home a lot cooler. The vines will evaporate water  into the air and have a cooling effect in addition to the shade they give.

I used wire fencing to make trellises to train the vines up over my windows. You can put cup hooks into the edge of your roof to hold up the wire if you don't have support posts for the wire trellis. The holes around the cup hooks could make your board rot faster in wet weather, though.

If you have windows that face north or east, they will be in shade during the hottest part of the day. I put up a mist watering system and ran it on the vines in that window at night. I put a double fan in the window. You could flip a switch and change the fans for intake or exhaust. I put the top one on exhaust to blow out hot air from my home and the bottom one on intake to bring in cool air.

If you use a very fine mist emitter for spraying the vines, it will take less water than a swamp cooler and work better.

Some hardware stores sell drip irrigation systems. That is what you need for doing the mist on your window vines. You can find drip irrigation systems that give you choices in what parts you buy for your system. The "emitters" are where the water comes out for the plants you are watering. You need a spray emitter. You want a very fine spray. They usually call the very fine spray emitters, "misters". The spray that comes out of a mister is almost as fine as fog. It is the same kind of mist that they use in produce departments in grocery stores.

Agricultural supply places sell these mist emitters and so do places that sell equipment to grocery stores. I have found them in irrigation supply stores, but these stores are so specialized you will probably only find them in areas where there is a lot of agriculture.

I am going to stop here with this post because it is getting too long. I will write more ways to keep warm in other posts. Stay cool.

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