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Recent experiment: Staying cool without an air conditioner. It’s been hot where I live – hovering around 100 degrees F for many days this summer. I live and work in a poorly-insulated house with a black roof. Although I’m blessed to have an air conditioner, I decided to see how I’d do without it. I am using electricity for fans and refrigerating food, but little else. It’s been comfortable in my home every day until about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Then things get a little stuffy and warm. It does cool off at night, so that helps. Here’s what I do, starting in the evening: – Open all windows and doors in the evening as soon as the outside temp is lower than the inside temp. – Use two big floor fans to push out the hot air and draw in cooler air. – Tie one of the fans to the windowsill of an open window so it pulls cool air more efficiently – Run the ceiling fan in the bathroom to further push out warm house air. – Cook outside or not at all. (Salad anyone?) You don’t want to heat up the kitchen any more than needed. – When we want pasta, I bring the water to a boil in a kettle, then pour it over the pasta in a pot. After a quick stir, the pot goes outside for a half hour and the hot water cooks the noodles. That way, the heat stays outside the house. – Squeeze half a lemon into a gallon or two of water and put them in the fridge to cool. That way, the refrigerator compressor (which throws a lot of heat) will work at night and the big jugs of water will keep the air inside the fridge cooler during the day. – Run the dishwasher and clothes washer or bake at night so the heat has a chance to leave the house while it is cool outside. – Use the clothes dryer only at night, or even better yet, hang laundry outside in the morning. It’s surprising how quickly clothes dry on a hot day. – Shower at night so all that hot steam has a chance to get out before morning. – Use a spray bottle to mist the sheets and lie down on a cool bed. – Ceiling fans over beds are a wonderful invention. – Leave the fans on all night to keep blowing out the heat hiding in warm pockets or corners. – Get up in the morning while it is still cool outside and shut all the windows. Turn off the fans. – Close the window shades or curtains to keep window-heat out. – Close the doors to unused or warmer rooms to keep the rest of the house cooler. – Drink that cold lemon water throughout the day. The lemon helps it go down easier and more often, and doesn’t have sugar. Stay hydrated, pee often. – Spray the dog and people down with the hose or in the shower then sit in front of a fan. If that’s not practical, I carry a spray bottle of water and mist myself down throughout the day. – Dampen a shirt and wear it wet, especially if you have to go outside. But stay inside if you can. – Do desk work or quiet activities during the day, and heat-generating activities like housework when the windows are open and fans are blowing. So far this hot summer, I ran the air conditioner only once. Then when the house was cool, I turned it off and sat in front of a fan. My body has adjusted to the heat, and I’m comfortable almost all day. I’m sure results will vary depending on your house’s orientation to the sun, shade from trees, and other factors. I live in a somewhat dry climate, so humidity would add a whole ‘nother level of complexity. But these are simple steps I’m trying in my day-to-day life to help me prepare for a hotter world.

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Recent experiment: Staying cool without an air conditioner. It’s been hot where I live – hovering around 100 degrees F for many days this summer. I live and work in a poorly-insulated house with a black roof. Although I’m blessed to have an air conditioner, I decided to see how I’d do without it. I am using electricity for fans and refrigerating food, but little else. It’s been comfortable in my home every day until about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Then things get a little stuffy and warm. It does cool off at night, so that helps. Here’s what I do, starting in the evening: – Open all windows and doors in the evening as soon as the outside temp is lower than the inside temp. – Use two big floor fans to push out the hot air and draw in cooler air. – Tie one of the fans to the windowsill of an open window so it pulls cool air more efficiently – Run the ceiling fan in the bathroom to further push out warm house air. – Cook outside or not at all. (Salad anyone?) You don’t want to heat up the kitchen any more than needed. – When we want pasta, I bring the water to a boil in a kettle, then pour it over the pasta in a pot. After a quick stir, the pot goes outside for a half hour and the hot water cooks the noodles. That way, the heat stays outside the house. – Squeeze half a lemon into a gallon or two of water and put them in the fridge to cool. That way, the refrigerator compressor (which throws a lot of heat) will work at night and the big jugs of water will keep the air inside the fridge cooler during the day. – Run the dishwasher and clothes washer or bake at night so the heat has a chance to leave the house while it is cool outside. – Use the clothes dryer only at night, or even better yet, hang laundry outside in the morning. It’s surprising how quickly clothes dry on a hot day. – Shower at night so all that hot steam has a chance to get out before morning. – Use a spray bottle to mist the sheets and lie down on a cool bed. – Ceiling fans over beds are a wonderful invention. – Leave the fans on all night to keep blowing out the heat hiding in warm pockets or corners. – Get up in the morning while it is still cool outside and shut all the windows. Turn off the fans. – Close the window shades or curtains to keep window-heat out. – Close the doors to unused or warmer rooms to keep the rest of the house cooler. – Drink that cold lemon water throughout the day. The lemon helps it go down easier and more often, and doesn’t have sugar. Stay hydrated, pee often. – Spray the dog and people down with the hose or in the shower then sit in front of a fan. If that’s not practical, I carry a spray bottle of water and mist myself down throughout the day. – Dampen a shirt and wear it wet, especially if you have to go outside. But stay inside if you can. – Do desk work or quiet activities during the day, and heat-generating activities like housework when the windows are open and fans are blowing. So far this hot summer, I ran the air conditioner only once. Then when the house was cool, I turned it off and sat in front of a fan. My body has adjusted to the heat, and I’m comfortable almost all day. I’m sure results will vary depending on your house’s orientation to the sun, shade from trees, and other factors. I live in a somewhat dry climate, so humidity would add a whole ‘nother level of complexity. But these are simple steps I’m trying in my day-to-day life to help me prepare for a hotter world.