Escape from (Heat)

While certainly the presence of summertime is joyful for the few who are still in school but have an 8-10 week break here in the US, it’s also a dreadful time for plenty of people (especially those who work outside for a living).

While it’s not possible to totally avoid the heat, and live in a beautiful climate all year round, there’s a strategy to survive the summer, and some home improvement tips to get you as comfortable as possible.

Without wasting too much time on “fluff”, let’s dive into the deep end…

Swimming Pools!

This may have been a luxury for only IBM employees and wealthy financial advisors in the 1980s and 1990s, but now in 2019 anyone can really have a pool.

I’ve seen these pop up everywhere lately! Both the little inflatable units that showed up after Y2K and some relatively new designs (at least new to me) that have a plastic exoskeleton made of what looks like PVC and an inner liner made of some synthetic material.

So, what I’m saying is anyone can just got to Walmart with $200 and pick up a swimming pool to set up at their home or apartment?

That’d be a big “NO”. It’s the land of the free, but we know better than that!

You’ll have to make sure the following do or do not apply to you:

  • Is a swimming pool allowed in your lease? If it’s not specified, then your landlord really has the final say on it.
  • Does your home fall in a community that has to “okay” a swimming pool? You should check on that, or your nosy next door neighbor will be all over you with paperwork and maybe the local authorities. (I said leave me alone, Barbara!).
  • Are small children in the area? You might have to fence around your pool to prevent any accidents if it’s not over a certain height. Never be too cautious when it comes to the safety of others.
  • How do you plan to fill that sucker? Swimming pools take THOUSANDS of gallons of water… Or milk if you prefer.

Taking a dip in a refreshing body of water is one of the oldest ways to keep a cool head through a brutal summer. So if you can’t swing the pool, then scope out a local lake or public pool (if you dare).

Good old fashioned Air Conditioning

Folks down in Florida will not be strangers to the magical boxes that push cold air through the window of their studio apartment. The only means for existing year round (since it never gets cold enough there to enjoy being alive).

There are a few types:

  • Window Air ConditionerThese are probably the most “tried and true” options that you can go for. They provide the most efficient cooling for all different size spaces.**
  • Central Air Conditioning – Though a much more expensive option, this really is the most “hassle free way” to cool an entire home. If your home doesn’t already have it… It may be expensive, depending on your heating options as well. If you’ve already got a forced air heating system, then your ducting could be used to pump cold air through as well. But, if you’re running electric or baseboard heating.. You’re looking to shell out some more dough to get central air installed by a professional. [I do NOT recommend doing this yourself; find a reputable professional who charges fair pricing].
  • In Room/Portable Unit – This is the last option because it really should be your last resort. If there is not an available window to support a unit, then an “in-room” air conditioner will work about 60% as well as a window unit of the same BTU rating (in my experience). However, be aware that you’ll still need to route an exhaust vent tube out of the window for these also.**

**Be sure to order the proper size (BTU) for the space you’re trying to cool.

What about a regular fan?

I know I wanted to leave these out, but it really is an option if spending money on an energy bill to run an air conditioner all summer leaves you sweating more than the heat.

So, the tip I have is to install some ceiling fans in any room you can. If you’re an electrician, this should be a piece of cake! If you’re not… Hire one, please. Your family will thank you, so will your non-burned fingers and regular heartbeat.

This can be done easily by locating a support beam in the ceiling, and cutting a hole for a wire box/mounting point for a fan and/or light fixture. All that needs to be done by the electrician is to physically run the wires and hook it to the box.

Or you could go old school..

Stop by your local big box store or hardware store to pick up some standing fans or box fans. These both can push a considerable amount of air, and moving air can actually make you feel up to 4 degrees cooler!

Window Fans!!!

I can not stress enough how effective this product can really be! I personally never thought they were worth the price of the box they’re packaged in, but now that I have had 2 for a couple of years, they can make a big difference. If humidity isn’t an issue for you, popping open two windows on separate sides of your house/apartment (on the same floor), and installing these easily removable units, you can create a cross-breeze through your home.

Setting up one fan to pull air in, and the other to push air out will easily swap out air for refreshing outside air (assuming it’s not 100 degrees and dripping humidity).

At the end of the day

But at the end of the day, you’re likely to have an air conditioned car, so if you’ve got to suffer a little bit at home and find refuge in your vehicle… It’s not the end of the world to get through 8 weeks of summer (at least in the Northeast of the US).

Make sure you follow the rule of staying hydrated, and the heat really can’t get you down too much!

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