staying cool during summer months

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by rrlangly, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. rrlangly

    rrlangly New Member

    Hi all,

    I live down in Houston where my biggest concern in being prepared is the summer heat. Supposing that the power goes out during the summer months where it easily reaches in the 100's, what can be done in order to cool down a single room? When it gets this hot around here, it just gets really difficult to operate anything, including myself. Note that I cannot run a generator where I live.

    Any ideas much appreciated.
  2. TotallyReady

    TotallyReady Member


  3. HarleyRider

    HarleyRider Comic Relief Member

    I've got the same problem here in Miami.... hot, sticky, and muggy both day and night. Into the high ninetys during the day with almost 100% humidity, (with a "feels like" temperature of up to 110), and dropping into the mid 80's at night (with around 90% humidity). Luckily, I can run a generator and power a portable air conditioner that will keep a room cool enough to be able to sleep comfortably.

    We have the ocean here to dive into to cool down; also canals and lakes in most of the subdivisions.
  4. hank2222

    hank2222 Active Member

    i was looking at the same thing when i move to hawaii to stay cool dureing a power black out ..

    my idea is basicing going underground with a hillside home set up with a place to get cool with a solar power system to power the fans and a few other things here and there
  5. Diego2112

    Diego2112 Well-Known Member

    I lived in Africa (in Sudan, for those that care) for about a year. During that ENTIRE time, we had power MAYBE three weeks TOTAL. Average temp over there was 100+ degrees (granted it's dry heat, but after 105 does it really matter? lawl) in the daytime, and not much cooler at night.

    What we did: We would sleep outside (mosquito nets were a MUST... Malaria is a BEAST.) at night, get up EARLY in the day to get our work done before the hottest parts (10AM-4PM), take our break during said hot time, and go back to it through the evening. On days where there was a bit of a breeze, we'd open up all the windows AND doors (granted, we DID have a wall around our entire house... EVERYONE did! lawl), and let the wind help cool it down. What made that system WORK though, was the fact that's how most natives also functioned (in our area, anyway). Stay hydrated (WATER, LOTS OF WATER. Gatorade, not so much... WATER), and keep a cool rag around your neck/head at all times. Avoid direct sunlight, working in the shade when you can.

    Also, those outfits that they wear in Sudan? Long white shirt, white pants? That goes a LONG LONG way to keeping you cool. Loose, flowy clothes (COTTON is BEST). Hats help too. If you can GET it, the arab kuffiyeh is AMAZING for keeping the sun off of you... Granted here in the STATES you get some not so nice looks... I PERSONALLY wore a tagiyah (not because I'm islamic, but rather it helped keep me COOL!) I picked up in Bahri Market for less than $2 USD... You can get 'em on line, just google "islamic hat" and you'll find it.

    Drink hot teas/coffee as well. It helps cool you down.

    So there's how we did it, and we made it through a'ight! :D
  6. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    I am having the opposite problem here. I found out this morning that yesterday at 2:00pm (local time) it reached the highest temperature of the entire summer. It was a balmy 29.1°C (84.38°F) ... :eek:

    Our normal summers reach that kind of temperature in June and continue into the mid 30's through July and can peak into the high 30's in August. This has been a very cold summer for us with more days of rain than sun, usually by this time of the year, we are on water-restrictions because of drought-like conditions and the lawns are no longer green, but, brown.

    I haven't watered my yard at all this year and it is the greenest it has ever been!
  7. longtime

    longtime Well-Known Member


    You are going to find most people don't understand your "heat" problem. I travel a lot and 110 F in Utah is a piece of cake, just step out of the sun. While 90 F in Houston is miserable even in the shade.

    I assume you are in an apartment, which really limits your options. The only thing I can suggest is common sense, inactivity during the day and work at night. Cool your apartment at night and keep it closed in the morning then use what ever ventilation you can to cool it as the day proceeds. You can also limit solar gain as much as possible (sun shades on the sun facing windows).

    Sorry I do not know of any magic for your situation.
  8. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    I remember as a child, we did not have air conditioning and for a while not even a fan. My grandmother hung damp sheets over the open windows. We slept on the screen porch and loved it. I have purchased several emergency "ice packs" that can be broken and used on injuries or in case of heat stroke on major areas of the body to cool the blood. We live in southern Arkansas and the past weeks have had heat index of 112*F
  9. TotallyReady

    TotallyReady Member

    I didn't want to post a very long post here which is why I sent you to read the posts on my blog but since this discussion seems stuck I will give you one of my favorite tips here. Place mylar emergency blankets in your windows that get the sun. These are cheap and work great. A few years ago our daughter and her family were living in L.A. and the power went out for three days. The first day it was 114 degrees! She raided her 72 hour kit and put mylar blankets in the windows and the temp. went down immediately. They are the perfect size for a sliding door and of course can be cut to fit from there. They reduce the amount of light coming in but not significantly and people can't see in but you can see out. Remove them in winter to get the heat from the sun. If you really want me to post long posts here I will otherwise please just check out my blog.
  10. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Well-Known Member

  11. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

    Back when they built houses that were actually FUNCTIONAL, lots of them had "sleeping porches". Our old house was built in 1907 and had a big one on the 2nd floor. The secondary master suite was directly next to the porch, and just off that suite was a "cradle room" with a window-so I guess if it got too hot mom and dad could sleep on the porch and keep the window open to hear baby? there were no ceiling fans up there. What we did have, however, were enormous casement windows that could be thrown wide open-it felt like you were sitting in the trees! There was also an extra door between two of the bedrooms, which helped with ventilation. Ah, that good old place...too bad the heating bill was $900 during cold months :mad:
  12. jehowe

    jehowe Active Member

    I don't live in Houston, but if I did I'd be wondering the same thing. It's miserably hot and humid in the summer, and would be absolutely debilitating in an emergency situation. Hurricanes are a seasonal threat for Houston, and if you were there for Hurricane Ike in 2008, you know a good part of the city suffered through long-term power outages.

    Besides what others have said regarding keeping your body cool without the benefit of A/C, I honestly think the best answer is self-generation with enough capacity to handle an efficient small window or portable A/C unit. A gas powered generator would be the easiest to obtain and use. Sustainable solar or wind generation would be a lot more complicated and expensive (and potentially damage prone), but can be utilized and provide benefits throughout the year.

    If you are in an apartment or otherwise space limited where self-generation isn't doable, bugging-out would certainly rank pretty high as an option for me.

    I know that this isn't what you're looking for, but here's an ingenious DIY 'dorm room' A/C that can be built cheap (it does require enough power to run a simple fan, and require access to cool water). Necessity is the mother of invention indeed. How to Build a DIY Dorm-Legal A/C
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2010
  13. kyhoti

    kyhoti Member

    When I was a kid, my grandparents and I used to vacation on some remote property off the grid. We had a propane fridge, a propane stove and a Coleman lantern for playing Yahtzee at night. My Walkman cassette player gave me tunes (yeah, this was a while ago) No fans, no A/C, but we had screened windows all along the front wall of our cabin. They were shaded by full length shutters/awnings, and with the screen door securely latched to keep the flies out, we caught a constant breeze. On a hot day, my grandmother would unfurl these gauzy curtains, clip them down to the bottom of the windows and spray them with water from a squirt bottle. As the breeze wafted, the water evaporated, making the curtains chilly to the touch. That dropped the inside temp 10-15 degrees and made it tolerable to be inside.

    When our A/C went on the fritz here, I hung a couple of damp cellulose quick-dry towels over some of our tower fans; while not exactly a deep-freeze, it did cool us enough at night that we didn't float away on a river of sweat. Mind you, the fans were blowing directly at us, but the air they were blowing was noticeably cooler with the towels than without. More experiments are called for, it seems.