by Shane White
The power has failed and the temperatures are rising. You know that your home is not designed to be cool without air conditioning like the old drafty houses from days gone by. Today's homes are designed to maintain their temperatures. The problem is that as the temperatures rise, they hold in the heat. So how do you stay cool in your home on a hot summmer day without functioning air conditioning?
Basements - If you are fortunate enough to have a basement, you should know that your basement will be several degrees cooler than the rest of your house. it might even be comfortable enough to sleep in. It will probably be dark so bring candles with you.
Blinds and Curtains - During the day you should keep your blinds and curtains closed to help block the sun from heating the inside of your home as much as possible.
Windows - Opening the windows in the early morning before the temperatures rise will give your house the chance to get some cool air inside. Remember that security can be an issue with the windows opened so be aware that some people may take advantage of your opened windows.
Fans - If you have enough power to run a couple of fans, this could be very beneficial for moving air through the house. I suggest getting a couple of box fans, put one at each end of the house at open windows. Point one fan inwards and the other outwards. Create a path from one fan through opened doors to the other fan. Make sure all the other windows are closed for this to work properly. If you do this correct you will create a sort of wind tunnel effect. If this does not work with your setup, you may need to try some other arrangements of the fans.
Cool Room - It is easier to have one room that is cool than all the rooms in the house. Find the room that seems the coolest. If you have a small air conditioner or some fans, put your focus on keeping that one room cool.
Water - Water is a great way to keep cool. If you get a bandanna, a towel, or washrag wet and keep that on your body, it will help you stay cool. Filling a bathtub or a small pool with water is also a good way to keep cool. Fill with water and get in.
Trees - If you do not already have trees around your house, consider planting trees in strategic areas around your house can be a great help in blocking the heat. That won't help you today, but as it grows, it will provide some nice shade.
Heat Stroke - If you notice that someone is turning beat red, is very hot, is no longer sweating, or has symptoms of confusion, you need to cool them down quickly. Move them to a cool area (shade, or a cool room), remove clothing (to promote heat loss), and cool them down with cool water. It is also important to give them plenty of water to drink. If they are unconscious or cannot drink, you may need to give them hydration intravenously. If available, seek medical attention.
The most important thing that you should be doing on a hot day is to stay cool. Heat related illness should be taken very seriously. Hundreds of people die from it every year. If you know someone in your area who may be alone, check on them every so often to make sure they are OK. Stay cool and stay alive.