Staying Cool

I am luxuriating in the cool temperatures of 19C this morning. After the last week of mid-to high 30C temperatures, this is a welcome respite. I don’t care if I need to put on a sweatshirt later – every window in the house is open to let the cool air blow through it.

I’ve always believed it isn’t necessary to spend thousands on central air in Alberta. We have such short summers, a week or two of high temperatures doesn’t justify the expense (though I admit, it’s nice to have!). We spend the majority of the year in winter and I remind myself of this when it gets too hot for comfort.

Staying cool in a home without air conditioning proved to be a challenge. By late afternoon, my indoor temperature was 81F (27.2C). My normal room temperature is 67F (19.4C). Fortunately, it cooled down slightly overnight, so by 0100 or 0200, I was able to sleep.

What did I do to try to beat the heat?

  • I kept all curtains and windows closed during the heat of the day. I’d only open them after the outside temperature dropped below what I had indoors.
  • I draped cold wash cloths over my fans. That didn’t work very well.
  • I froze water in 2l pop bottles and set them in front of the fans. This worked better than the wash cloths.
  • I bought a personal evaporative air cooler. It was better than the pop bottles. It kept me cool while I worked or sat on the couch, but not nearly enough to cool a room.
  • I took cool showers.
  • I put fans in the windows overnight to blow in the cool air. I got up early to remove the fans and close windows/curtains before temperatures started to climb again.

Today, I’m researching how to keep seniors cool in the heat. Martin’s dad is in his 90’s and still lives independently with his wife. The a/c unit in their apartment isn’t strong enough to keep up with the heat happening in their area.

What have I learned? A few things I should have tried last week.

  • Drape cool towels behind the neck and around the shoulders. I should have thought of this. I have a cooling jacket for Keo when we go to outdoor dog shows in the summer. Same concept.
  • Sip fluids all day to stay hydrated. Seniors are especially prone to dehydration.
  • Soak feet in cool (not cold) water while sitting.

I’ve also found cooling blankets online. I’m not sure how well they work, but the reviews seem to indicate they help for sleep (and, I’m assuming, afternoon naps).

Most cities also have dedicated cooling stations open during the day where people can go to escape the heat. With COVID restrictions lifting, there are also options to visit a library, mall, or coffee shop to get relief from the heat.

The trick will be convincing his dad to try these things.

For my area, the temperatures get back to more seasonal summer heat. Unfortunately, other parts of western Canada aren’t so lucky and will still be experiencing the heat wave.

For readers without a/c, do you have any other tips for staying cool in the heat?

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