Keeping cool during the East Coast heat wave

by

Boston, New York, DC are sweltering.  Hot and humid, most of the East Coast is in the middle of a heat wave—and it’s supposed to get worse as the week progresses.  Add the high humidity, and a lot of people are going to be uncomfortable.  While there are great long-term solutions, here are some things you can do now to help stay cool.

Keep the heat out of your house.

  • Pull shades/draw curtains to block the sun during the day.  Much of the summer temperature gain in a home comes through the windows in the form of sunlight.
  • During the day, use window or exhaust fans when it is cooler outside than inside.  Don’t use them when it’s hotter outside—that just helps pull more warm air into the house.  Likewise, keep windows closed if it’s cooler inside than it is outside.
  • Avoid cooking, baking, boiling water.
  • Use exhaust fans when showering and cooking to immediately remove excess heat and humidity.
  • Keep lights and electronics off when you’re not using them—they generate heat.  In particular, try to avoid halogen or incandescent lights which are like mini heaters throughout your home.

Cool off your home at night.

  • If/when it cools off at night, open the windows, and exhaust as much air as possible, drawing in cooler in.

Keep yourself cool.

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Use a fan to circulate air in the room you’re in.  (Unless you’re pulling in cooler outside air, turn the fan off when you leave the room—it cools you, not the room, and the fan motor actually generates heat.
  • Eat small meals—and cold ones.
  • Jump in the pool, hit the beach, cool yourself off.
  • When you’re outside, stay in the shade, avoid the sun.
  • If you don’t have AC, and the temperature in your home stays above 80 degrees, try to at least spend part of the day someplace cooler.  At the mall, at the movie theater, in a deep cave.  (And check your neighbors to make sure they’re OK, too.)

There are plenty of longer term solutions—from sealing and insulating your attic, swapping to efficient lighting, sealing duct work, using high-efficiency AC equipment, planting trees to help shade the house.  GreenHomes can help you with most of these.  But in the meantime, stay cool, and stay safe.

Thanks,
Mike

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