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Slashdot Asks: Beating the Summer Heat? 421

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-a-moist-suffocating-heat dept.
July is always one of the hottest months in the U.S., but this year the heat got an early start. Sustained hot weather has slammed huge parts of the country, and led to some serious consequences. All those AC units employed to bring some relief to homes have contributed to the extended post-storm power outage in the eastern part of the country; five days in, the count is still over a million customers in the dark. (I'm writing from Austin; this year Texas's famously warm weather is a little less impressive by comparison to the midwest, the Carolinas, and many other places; temperatures are expected to remain under 100 until Saturday.) If you're in one of the severely affected areas, how has it affected you? More importantly, what strategies have you used to beat the heat in the absence of (or simply unreliable) electricity? Details help. In particular, how are you keeping the human and animal members of your household safe from overheating? Read on below for an extended set of questions on dealing with the ongoing heat wave of 2012's early summer, and respond to any of them that make sense in your situation. Note, answers are of course encouraged from people who aren't in the worst-hit areas, too! Though you're free to respond however you'd like, it would be useful if you start with your location right at the top of (or in the title of) your comment, so others can scan them easily.
  • How hot is hot for you, locally? What temperature extremes have you seen in your own dwelling or neighborhood in recent weeks? (Also, how are you measuring them, if in any way more specific than reading local weather reports? Do you have a home weather station, and is it hooked to an upstream data feed like The Weather Underground?)
  • Have local power systems failed, and if so for how long? Do you have a generator, and do you have any advice for others who are considering one?
  • Some people (especially kids) face greater risks than others in sustained heat, and some types of medicine require refrigeration. What are the consequences for you and your household of extreme heat?
  • If air conditioning is part of your strategy for keeping cool, what do you do to maximize its effectiveness? (Insulate or cover windows? Run it at certain times of day? Raise the thermostat and rethink your idea of "room temperature"?)
  • If your power goes out, how prepared are you for a one-hour blackout? What about a day, or a week? Have you taken any measures to keep your life sane if a storm (or just a glitch in the grid) robs your home of AC, TV, and PC? Even if your local summer weather hasn't been unusually hot thus far this year, are you keeping more water or other supplies on hand in case your area later gets gets the heat-and-darkness treatment?
  • What advice would you give to others who want to maintain safety and sanity while under the broiler? (Especially useful are ideas for city dwellers, who don't generally have space for an extra freezer or a safe place for a generator.)
  • Whether you're in one of the worst hit areas or not, are you taking any steps to protect electronics and data from outages or extreme heat? Have you seen any failures that you believe to be caused by temperature extremes?
  • Finally, what are you doing to find some relief from this summer's heat, other than cranking up the AC? Are you spending more time at the local pool? Waking up early to enjoy morning temperatures? Scanning San Francisco real estate prices?

I hope your Independence Day is a good one, no matter the temperature.

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Slashdot Asks: Beating the Summer Heat?

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  • by ribuck (943217) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:37PM (#40543839) Homepage

    To beat the summer heat, turn off your Bitcoin mining rigs. If you turn on the air conditioning to compensate, it's going to cost you more electricity than the value of the Bitcoins that you generate.

    • Someone needs to start supplying PC heat pumps -- where all that exhaust energy is actually used to drive the pump, cooling the house and decreasing the overall amount of heat exhaust (as some of the heat will be converted into kinetic energy).

    • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:10PM (#40544119)

      Why should anyone on /. turn off their rigs? It's nice and cool in our parent's basements.

  • Atlanta area... (Score:5, Informative)

    by aapold (753705) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:38PM (#40543849) Homepage Journal
    It was 106 at my car on friday when I got out of work. It was 107 outside my house saturday. Some areas around atlanta his 109 reportedly. My work parking lot is a big slap of concrete surrounded on 3 sides by buildings and the 4th by a hill, so it focuses heat even more with no chance of wind. On way home from work stopped at a bank drive thru. While in line I normally fill out my slip on the back of my visor, which is solid enough to be a good writing surface. Couldn't. It was too hot to rest my hand on it, as it was painfully hot to touch. Mostly stayed indoors as much as possible. Installed some thicker curtains to block more sunlight. Drank a lot of water. Made sure dogs did not stay long in yard, and did not walk on pavement. I used to live in florida, which stays hot longer, but doesn't get as hot because the sea moderates it somewhat. But it was more humid there. Prior to that I lived in the republic of panama, which is even moreso (never gets anywhere near as hot, but even more humid). I just keep telling myself that here, at least the heat eventually ends.
    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:50PM (#40543939)

      My work parking lot is a big slap of concrete

      And I thought I hated going from my car to my building!

    • Re:Atlanta area... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by polar red (215081) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:53PM (#40543961)

      Installed some thicker curtains to block more sunligh

      shutters work fantastically. and insulation. Nothing can beat those 2 at ROI. (paybacktime sometimes estimated to be at 2 years !)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by StormUP (892787)
        Shutters on the OUTSIDE of the window work best. Inside shutters reflect some of the light back out, but its already through the glass at that point and some of it is converted to heat inside your home. Outdoor shutters block any of the light from getting inside the glass except of course any light that may enter between the slats.
      • Installed some thicker curtains to block more sunligh

        shutters work fantastically. and insulation. Nothing can beat those 2 at ROI. (paybacktime sometimes estimated to be at 2 years !)

        Seconded... although... on problem windows, a solar screen can pay for itself in 2 months.

        I've tried solar film and solar screens. With a screen, since the sun is blocked before it can
        start heating the window frame (which heats the house with radiant heating), they are the
        cheaper/better way to go.

        -AI

  • by tqft (619476) <.ianburrows_au. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:39PM (#40543859) Homepage Journal

    and my biggest weather problem is keeping my coffee warm.

    You know how a lot of people rag on the preppers who keep plenty of supplies & their own generating kit & stuff for end of of times. Guess who has power & food that isn't going to go off. Prepping isn't just for alien invasion scenarios.

  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:39PM (#40543861) Homepage

    I live in Seattle, you insensitive clod!

    (where many residents were still using their furnaces as of last week, and today's the first sunny and warmish-day in what seems like a month)

  • Shemagh/Keffiyeh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:40PM (#40543871)

    I bought one on Amazon just to try it out. Who would have thought a bunch of people living in a desert would have figured out how to stay cool. Re-wet it depending on how hot it is. Wring it out and put it on. Keep water in the fridge and it works even better.

    If I've come back from a long run nothing cools me down faster than 1 or 2L frozen water bottle applied directly to arteries.

    No AC growing up, and we just layed in front of fans and drank water. Human body can take quite a bit if you give it adequate water.

    • Re:Shemagh/Keffiyeh. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:02PM (#40544053)

      Shemagh / Keffiyeh only work in dry/arid environments. Crank the humidity up and you'll probably kill yourself from heat stroke while wearing it.

      Reason for their non-popularity in the jungle :D

      • Re:Shemagh/Keffiyeh. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:18PM (#40544195)

        It just means you have to cycle the water more frequently. It's been rather humid lately and the water doesn't evaporate but it warms up. So you get new water.

        AC is one of the least efficient ways of cooling someone. Just like in the winter you can save a ton on your heating bills if you get an electric blanket. One for the couch and one for the bed. The heat is applied directly to the skin and you're warmer. Cooling 1700 sqft of house for 3 people is horrible in efficient. Cooling 2 cups of water and putting it on your head to absorb heat from your body is much better.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by turkeydance (1266624)
          AC lowers the humidity so my books don't mildew. AC lowers the temperature so my dogs don't die. AC is better in a lot of ways.
        • Just like in the winter you can save a ton on your heating bills if you get an electric blanket. One for the couch and one for the bed. The heat is applied directly to the skin and you're warmer.

          Electric blankets are nonsense. You are a 100W radiator. If you're cold, you don't need to apply heat, you need insulation. Go to IKEA (Swedish company, they know how to deal with cold) and get a thicker blanket. A good blanket will have you and your bed warm within 5 minutes of getting in bed.

          Still don't believe me? There are lots of sleeping bags on the market for sleeping outdoors in temperatures as low as -40F (= -40C).

          • by cheesecake23 (1110663) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:45AM (#40551543)

            Electric blankets are nonsense. You are a 100W radiator. If you're cold, you don't need to apply heat, you need insulation.

            Alternatively, you could sleep with someone to double the wattage. I didn't mention this option in my first post because I assumed most Slashdot readers would find this alternative prohibitively expensive.

      • Good point. My father, who's been stationed around the world in various hostile climates over the course of his military-related job, has always suggested "doing as the locals do." figure out what the indigenous people of any location or climate do, and emulate them. they've likely been doing whatever they do to cool off/heat up/dry out for hundreds or thousands of years, and had much more time to figure out how to deal with the extreme climate than us.

        Same goes for other living condition issues like how
      • Roman air conditioner. Basically a pipe buried underground with air forced through it by heating it at one end. The air drawn in is cooled by the surrounding earth. In winter it will work as a mediocre heater since the temperature about 15-30 feet underground stays relatively constant year-round at around 50-55 F (not as effective as a fire, but this would work even in the absence of firewood). Would work in high humidity too, though you'd need to add some sort of drainage system to remove water which co
    • One way to do it, if you get any wind at all, is to cover your windows on the outside with bedsheets or the like. Wet them frequently, with a fine hose sprayer.

      Less work is to put troughs underneath your windows (like a watertight windowbox), fill them with water, and the bottom of your cloths dangle into these.

      Congrats. You now have a Swamp Cooler that needs no external power.
  • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:42PM (#40543881)

    Location = SC.
    Temps = over 100 last few days, 97 today, Horrid humidity as normal.

    I had coated black roofs for years (I prefer metal roofing because it's tough and taxes are lower. I loathe asphalt shingles!) but two years ago I hit all my roofs with white roof coating including my non-air conditioned shop.

    It reflects so much light that you can get sunburned by the reflection if you apply it on a bright day. I had to wear sunglasses while mopping it on!

    Hard to measure on my utility bill what with all the tools I run, but I'm much more comfortable. If your local codes/covenants allow white or light roof materials or coatings, give them a try.

    • How are your winters for heating with a white roof? I guess probably not all that bad in SC...

      • by bmxeroh (1694004) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:26PM (#40544263) Homepage
        My understanding is that with the sun at a much lower angle during the winter, it really doesn't make much of a difference, even more so if you're somewhere where the roof is covered in snow. I'm sure there may be some exceptions depending on geography, but it seems like the benefit of a white/light roof in the summer far outweighs the slight reduction in solar heating in the winter.
      • by csnydermvpsoft (596111) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @05:04PM (#40544605) Homepage

        Generally, you don't want to heat your attic. This is why properly designed houses have either a vented attic (designed to stay as close to outside temperature as possible) or thick insulation against the roof deck. Cathedral ceilings (i.e. no attic) also should have thick insulation in the ceiling. Either way, the roof should not contribute to heating the house in the wintertime unless there is a design fault.

      • by Solandri (704621) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @05:22AM (#40549117)
        It's a common misnomer that black gets hotter. Black has higher emissivity [wikipedia.org]. That means when the outside is hotter, a black roof will allow heat from outside to enter inside more quickly. But it also means when the outside is colder, the black roof will allow heat from inside to exit outside more quickly.

        Basically, you can think of black as a heat conductor, while white is a heat insulator. So a white roof will actually keep your house warmer in winter. In winter you'll have sunlight heating the black roof more than the white. But unless it heats it more than the interior temperature, the black roof is still going to radiate interior heat away more quickly. And at night the white roof will win by a huge margin.
    • by houghi (78078)

      If your local codes/covenants allow white or light roof materials or coatings, give them a try.

      It is crazy if they don't allow it. In fact they should not allow anything else if you live in a hot climate.

      • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

        Crazy unless you live on a hillside and you look down on a bunch of white roofs. It can actually be painful.

        One option is to try and shade the roof-- burlap or canvas with an air gap, plants on the roof, or trees around the roof. Putting a sprinkler on the roof is not bad in an emergency if it isn't too humid. Same goes for dark decks.

        As for the article, my advice after a couple years on an island in Thailand is to get acclimated to the temperature, drink water with electrolytes, and get yourself as much

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:25PM (#40544253)

      I was just about to post about these general methods.

      Shadowing things helps massively.
      Seriously hot areas sometimes have laws on the colors your house can be, sometimes even forcing you to essentially white only.
      Make things as reflective as possible.
      Even if you have to release a sail on the opposite side of the sun-facing side of your house, it helps. (this helps because if you open your windows on opposite sides, one side is cool, the other boiling, you get a nice air current)
      The more in shadow you can make it, the better. Just being on the opposite side of the sun won't help, it needs to be really dark.
      Sadly this won't work on all homes because some idiots decided it was a great idea to build houses that weren't in line with the way the sun travels...

      Sprinklers.
      A fountain works brilliantly in this case. More so if it generates a nice mist on collisions. Make as many falls as possible to maximize this. (plus it sounds real nice)
      Even better if it refills automatically when it falls below a certain level.
      That hose on roof sprinkler system is such a GOOD idea. I never thought of doing that before.
      If you could make a system like that run on automation, ultimate house cooling. (you'd need to basically intercept the water stream coming down the pipes, which I am sure I remember reading is illegal in some areas of the world, make sure to check beforehand)

      Coolboxes are fairly effective.
      Basically an inverse heatsink that takes heat out of the air in to ice inside the container. Bonus points for dry ice or more exotic.
      More effective if placed at fans and windows.
      If you can make a system that has the ice in a basement and cycles the pipes up through the house, ultimate liquid cooled house.
      If you do actually do this, make sure the pipes are also at ceiling level. I know this doesn't exactly sound safe in the slightest, but heat does rise.
      Make sure things are sealed! This is advanced so shouldn't really be attempted unless you are experienced with putting pipes together. (or you know someone who is absolutely capable of it, not just "oh yeah I could do it!" friendly favor type help)

      Try to find breeze channels in your house and attempt to maximize them. These are both a menace and a very useful cooling system.

      Many of those above can be combined in various ways for separate methods of cooling.

      For people and animals
      wet towels, cool strips and hats for the face.
      A water sprayer on a rough spray / mist setting if you can change the density, spray yourself with water every so often.
      White clothes, nothing else.
      Make sure they are thin and loose to allow sweat to get out.
      Make sure things are covered and not open to sunlight. That is the worst thing to do in heat.

      Most of these things are fairly simple to do for an average family to do with a little DIY.
      Some are more advanced, especially if you attempt to place pipes around a house.
      There is far more things you could do, some even involving simple DIY systems, but it also involves some electronics and pump systems which is beyond the scope of this, really.

      Alternatively, make a massive sterling engine in your garden connected to some pumps that moves water around your house.
      Because why the hell not? Steampunk as F&*@.

  • Native SC Here. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:44PM (#40543895)

    What heat wave?

    Seriously, South Carolina has always been hot and humid, even in winter. This past Saturday (it was 105 degrees) we spent all day outside. Took our 21 month old daughter to the zoo, and then we all went to a disc golf course built on a ball golf course. we were out at the course from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. We did rent a golf cart, which provided some shade, and I also made sure our daughter got water at least every 15 minutes. No heat stroke, no sunburn (and we didn't have any sunscreen on), and no dehydration.

    It's as if a bunch of people were brought up to believe human beings aren't adaptable to some moderate temperature hikes. We are, only stupid ones aren't.

    • Re:Native SC Here. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bacon Bits (926911) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:52PM (#40544511)

      It's as if a bunch of people were brought up to believe human beings aren't adaptable to some moderate temperature hikes. We are, only stupid ones aren't.

      It has nothing to do with stupidity, dumbass. The issue is that human bodies adapt slower than the weather changes. People in the midwest are not accustomed to these temperatures. Especially the old, the young, and the ill.

      I'm born and raised in central Michigan, but I lived a handful of years in Tucson, Arizona. It took me about two years before I could stay outside during the day as long as natives. I would simply get too hot and have to go inside, regardless of how much water I drank. One day I literally drank three bottles of water to every one my cousin drank, and I still had to go inside eventually because I was showing early signs of overheating.

      However, even in the middle of January when it would drop below freezing, I never once wore a coat in Arizona. Not even a light jacket. The natives thought I was nuts. To me, it was literally never cold because of the intensity of the sun regardless of the actual temperature. Even at night I could still feel heat radiating off the ground from the day since even mid-winter the daytime temperatures were still in the 70s.

      When I moved back to Michigan, it only took one winter to reset my body to this climate, but it was the coldest winter I ever remember (the weather was actually quite mild).

      In summary, I'll be pointing and laughing in six months when you get 8 inches of snow and have to shut down the entire state for a week.

  • Deal with the heat (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    After living in Memphis for some years now, here's how I adapted and feel completely comfortable at 90-100F

    The adaptation phase:
    1. Go outside, work in the yard, and sweat.
    2. Drink lots of gatorade.
    2. Set your thermostat at 80F, use fans when sleeping.
    4. Get used to feeling sticky.
    5. Drive with your windows down, no A/C

    When going outside, I wear a wide brimmed hat, a long sleeve Dry-tec shirt, any color.

    I now feel cold and need a jacket below 70F

  • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:46PM (#40543911)
    I've had a few power outages lasting maybe 30 seconds in total, which is rare, because prior to several weeks ago, it has been over a year since the last (20 second) power outage. It is currently 19C here, with a high of maybe 20. It will cool off to a chilly 6C tonight, so I shouldn't have any problems sleeping. My cat is fine and my AC unit is still sitting in the shed beside my snow shovel.
    • by Pope (17780)

      Calgary doesn't get humidity, even when it hits 30C during a heat wave, it's nice and dry. Far more pleasant than the humid mess we get near the Great Lakes. I didn't know anyone with AC when I lived there, I think all my dad did was have a fan running cool air from the basement through the heating ducts, and then leaving windows open at night to bring in the cool air.

      Nothing beats a summer prairie storm! :)

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Yeah there's really no such thing as humidity out in Alberta. Though in Southern Ontario? Today it's 36C, and the humidity is 45% making the humidex 45C. And that's not even the warmest it's been here, back in '88 the temperature hit 42C with the humidex hitting 57C. That was terrible, kinda like being in a really hot shower. Where you're breathing in all that misty hot water and doing nothing but choking. But cold in Alberta and it's not bad. It's just cold, and you don't feel it. Even when it's -3

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:48PM (#40543925)

    I moved back to Canada.

    Bonus: I don't have to hear about the presidential election.

  • Move to the Pacific Northwest. That's what my wife and I did.

    http://www.weather.com/weather/hourbyhour/graph/USOR0275 [weather.com]

    No concern of heat or dry or hurricane or earthquake or tornado ...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why can't you live without your AC? Many places are much warmer and people can't afford AC. They simply adjust and get used to the heat. Men is adapted to hunt kudus in the scorching heat of the southern African plains and should be able to deal with this. Accept the heat and stop wasting energy please.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Many places are much warmer and people can't afford AC.

      Why even bother owning things? Some people are extremely poor! If I can live without it, I shouldn't have it at all!

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:51PM (#40543945)

    Highest temperature I can recall ever seeing here in my 13 years living here. There haven't been any major power outages in the region that I've heard of (the local news has been pretty much leading every broadcast talking about the heat), although a few days ago a couple thousand people lost their power for a few hours in the middle of the night. Bet that was awesome, as our overnight temperatures are hovering in the high 70's, low-mid 80's. At 10 o'clock last night it was 85 or somewhere around there, I was sweating my ass off watching our local Independence Day fireworks...

    Our boxer absolutely cannot deal with this heat (he's got longish hair, looks almost like a miniature St. Bernard even though he's been genetically tested 100% boxer) so we've been minimizing his trips outside to potty breaks, although we spoil the shit out of him so I doubt he really minds being stuck inside with his humans in the A/C.

  • by Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:51PM (#40543947) Homepage
    Ponca City, Oklahoma

    Back in the 1950s, we used "coolers" - huge metal boxes that cooled by evaporative cooling. The walls of the cooler were filled with porous wood shavings and a pump circulated water that dripped through the shavings while a 10 horsepower motor sucked air through the shavings and into the house. My bed was right in front of the blast of air from the cooler and I remember that it seemed to cool quite well - probably lowering the inside temperature 5 to 10 degrees and making it quite comfortable during the night. I found out years later that what we called "coolers" were called "swamp coolers" in other parts of the country [wikipedia.org] and in my travels I saw swamp coolers still in use in desert climates in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

    One reason that coolers worked so well back then was that during the drought, the humidity in Ponca City was about zero so water evaporated readily [typepad.com]. It seems to me that up until about 1976, when Kaw Dam was built east of town, the humidity was a lot lower in Ponca City. My mother says that having Kaw Lake so close changed the weather patterns around Ponca City and that the humidity rose a lot since its construction. If someone tried to use a swamp cooler today, I doubt if it would work at all.

    Every summer I would spend a month with my grandparents in Boswell, Oklahoma. Nobody thought anything about the heat - it was just how life was. But everybody looked forward to the cool of the evening, just when the sun got low in the sky and the shadows would lengthen and the fireflies would come out. The whole family would go out on the big front porch, sit in the swing, drink ice cold ice tea, and wait for our neighbors to come around and sit down with us to talk about the events of the day. Simpler days and better perhaps - at least in memory.
    • Back in the 1950s, we used "coolers" - huge metal boxes that cooled by evaporative cooling.

      In Tucson, AZ, swamp coolers work great for about 46 weeks of the year, although they're not needed in the winter months. Humidity can be in the single digits, and usually 30%. But for the 6 weeks of Sonoran Monsoon season (storms hitting the town with a vengeance today) the humidity is through the roof and the coolers lose their effectiveness. If you can stand those 6 weeks, they are the energy efficient solution to have.

    • by tylernt (581794)

      a pump circulated water that dripped through the shavings while a 10 horsepower motor sucked air through the shavings and into the house

      10 HP = 7.5 kilowatts, which is about double what a whole-house air conditioner would use. Google suggests swamp coolers are usually equipped with up to 1 HP motors.

  • I've seen it snow on top of Trail Ridge Road in the middle of July. I was up there a couple weeks ago. It was 100+ down on the plains where I live, and 70 up there. Nice! You do get sunburned a LOT faster up there, so be sure to put sunscreen on before you go.

    We were without power for two days during the first snow storm of this winter. I've never had a huge amount of faith in our electrical grid, but that pretty much eliminated whatever faith I had left. I have gas for hot water and the furnace, but the

    • by vlm (69642)

      have a panel installed so I don't inadvertently fry linemen who come around to fix the power outage

      Ask the electrician for a transfer switch, or google the term.

      Its really for the generator's health anyway. My stationary diesel mechanic uncle told some story about a crankshaft shearing clean off when a gen got plugged into short circuit.

      If you ever try backfeeding at home, you'll instantly discover that your little generator cannot backfeed the entire neighborhood as it'll pop the breaker. The conditions required to electrocute the linemen are really rather far fetched. Happens occasionally non the le

  • How about not living in a hot place in the first place -- at least for the summer months?

  • maryland here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:53PM (#40543963) Homepage Journal

    Has been out of power 2 days. Having multilevel housing helps the temperature distribution vua wide vertical passage through the stairway. Spent it in the first level.

    Most pressing was having cellphone powered. Did it in the mosque (only two buildings in the area were left powered: mosque and McDonalds), thanks to Allah, I go there for all five prayers.

    Two of my friends (Virginia, Maryland) did not have it today. One of them got it today.

    Small detail. Monday morning during commute hours noticed police car in the ambush at the unpowered intersection with major road/minor road scenario), checking for rollers. Really, police? Really?

    I am originally from the steppe area of Russia, so we have derecho-shmerecho all the time, only it was called strong wind. Short after I left, there was the most serious hurricane that broke half of the trees in my parents town. The power was restored within few hours. That was 90s, the time of lawlessness and collapse in Russia, black years of Yeltsin, organized crime and disorganized government.

    This country is going down.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      Sorry forgot to answer questions while ranting.

      1/ did not measure the temperature. I was relying on my thermostat. Checked the weather via cell phone/weather channel app
      2/ home depot was out of generators pretty quickly
      3/ i did not have any consequences, I have got workarounds (I am young, only in my mid 40s)
      4/ when power is back on, I shield all the windows. I have "duck taped" (foil from grocery store) one of windows to increase the reflective coefficient. It works.
      5/ how prepared? I did not prepare anyth

      • 4/ when power is back on, I shield all the windows. I have "duck taped" (foil from grocery store) one of windows to increase the reflective coefficient. It works.

        I did this when I was a teenager living in Florida. My bedroom sat facing the front of the house and got direct sun all day, and to top things off it was a huge bay window with a window seat so the amount of light (and thus heat) coming in was astronomical. Bought a roll of tinfoil, covered the window, and the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees in that room within an hour or so.

        The problem was my parents, who thought that we were going to get "goddamned raided under suspicion of being a grow op", plu

    • Small detail. Monday morning during commute hours noticed police car in the ambush at the unpowered intersection with major road/minor road scenario), checking for rollers. Really, police? Really?

      Yeah, they always have their priorities right. Probably should have been going door-to-door checking on old people, who drop like flies when the heat's up.

  • As timothy mentioned, the Texas ozone hole has been working out and seems to be in better shape now. I typically bike for 20 minutes around noon everyday, and it tends to be ~95-100 F. If power goes out, I will survive for at max a day on. After that, I'm moving in my university lab.

    Couple of points to keep in mind to avoid heat/sun-strokes:

    - Wear a cap, no matter how douchebag-y it makes you look. Heating up of the head leads to headaches, drowsiness and other symptoms of a "heat-stroke"
    - Avoid frequ
    • Drink loads of buttermilk (the salty/sour ones, my choice [karouncheese.com]). It is culturally used as a coolant in parts of middle east and most of India since the days of the dinosaurs.

      Yeah, I always liked dinosaur milk better than the bovine stuff people drink nowadays. But it's gotten really hard to find.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      - Drink loads of buttermilk (the salty/sour ones, my choice). It is culturally used as a coolant in parts of middle east and most of India since the days of the dinosaurs.

      Another popular one is to eat lots of watermelons - also used as a way to keep cool without refridgeration in many parts of the world (they keep, after all). And they also hydrate, which is extremely important (even though it can be 100% humidity, your body still sweats and expels surprisingly large amounts of water).

      Also, switch hours - a

    • To avoid the douchebag-y look, just wear a proper hat, no? Linen clothes, light panama hat - instant style. In addition or as alternative to the buttermilk, I'd suggest some mint tea, the kind they drink in the Maghreb. Here we go - weathering the heat without looking like an idiot.
  • by jrmcferren (935335) <robbie.mcferrenNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @03:56PM (#40543983) Journal

    Currently it is 92.5 degrees at the high school weather station. When the storm came through we lost power twice, but only a matter of milliseconds each time (UPSes switched over and lights flickered). My family does have a generator that we can use if there is a long duration power failure.

    My biggest advice for purchasing a generator is to know how to size, maintain, connect, and most importantly for portable models store the generator. When sizing the generator, take the following priorities in order. (NOTE: THIS LIST DOES NOT TAKE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT INTO ACCOUNT, THAT IS PRIORITY ZERO!) First, you want to maintain your refrigeration of food, cooking can be done with non-electric methods. Remember, you can disconnect a refrigerator momentarily to run the microwave if you have enough capacity in your generator. Second thing you want to look for is cooling of people, if cost of the generator is a problem, rule out air conditioning and use fans during the outage if possible, otherwise you may want to look at dropping some of the lower priority loads. If you must have air conditioning and you have a central air conditioning system, use a window unit in one room temporarily and live out of that room for the duration of the outage, this reduces the cost of the generator substantially. Third priority is lighting at night. This is best provided by incandescent or halogen lights as CFLs and LEDs can be damaged by power fluctuations in smaller generators caused by refrigerators and air conditioners starting. Fourth on my priority list is battery charging for communications, The idea is to charge batteries later at night when your generator load is lower. Get a jump start pack and charge that up and use the lighter sockets in it to charge the cell phones during the day. Don't worry about cordless phones, that is a very low priority in this situation use a wired phone on the landline. Everything after these four priorities are considered luxuries. TVs, PCs, even your router and modem are very low on the list. A transistor radio will serve you well to bring news and information.

    In our household the extreme heat means we are running air conditioners harder than normal and in the case of the bedroom units, starting sooner than normal. The obviously affects our electric bill.

    Preparation for a long duration outage in my household simply means we will have to take the gas cans out of the area to get gas for the generator. If out power dies, at least two of the local gas stations will be down as they are served from the same substation and it is very unlikely that the line between my house and the substation would be knocked out as the line is short (I'm about a block from the substation).

    My advice to the city dwellers that don't have power or air conditioning in this heat is to simply get out of the situation. At a minimum go shopping at the mall during the daytime and best find another place to stay.

    Protecting electronics and data is actually of minimal concern to me as my equipment is protected by a UPS and my data is backed up with the most critical backed up in multiple places. I do recommend an off site backup of some kind though. I have not seen any damage directly related to this extreme heat in any of my equipment or any other equipment that I've seen.

    My method of beating the heat is simply cranking up the A/C and drinking more water. My home has air conditioning, my car has air conditioning, and my office has air conditioning.

    • by RulerOf (975607)

      TVs, PCs, even your router and modem are very low on the list.

      Gotcha. You said medical equipment was priority 0, so we've marked the TV/PC/Cable modem as -1.

      This IS Slashdot, after all!

  • 106 degees F briefly here in West Chester, Ohio this afternoon. Started planning for global warming in 1996. Down sized to a small 1100 sq foot house. Between then and 2007 put an additional 20" insulation in attic and attic vents, replaced all external doors with insulated ones (including the garage door on the attached garage), put in all new triple pane, xenon(?) gas filled windows w/ UV blocking exterior panes, installed a Kohler natural gas 17KW backup generator with auto-failover, replaced central air
  • It has been one of the wettest ever Junes here in the UK and it is still raining heavily. When it is not raining it's heavy cloud. Although that's stereotypical weather here, it's more like what you'd expect in the winter. I'm feeling like an extra in Waterworld and shall shortly be growing gills... The problems started when drought measures were brought in to combat falling water reserves.

  • Ok, so it hasn't been unseasonably warm yet but this weekend it's forecasted to be fairly toasty. I have an acreage with my own well. Having recently replaced the old oil burning furnace with a high-efficiency nat.gas furnace, I had the HVAC guy install a chiller coil in the plenum for an extra $150. The water I pull out of my 10gpm well comes out at 8C so I plumbed the well water through the chiller coil in my furnace (after removing the orifice), and hooked a solenoid up to the furnace so when the ther

  • But, San Diego has many other negative aspects, not least of which is the gaggle of idiots in Sacramento.

  • Personally, I find that few things beat a couple of bursts of liquid air in cooling, even if it doesn't last long...

  • I live in central Canada, so I use two A/Cs in my condo, at will. I love being Canadian.

    I try to open the windows if I can, but my condo has no cross-breeze that I can generate, and I'm on the third/top floor. I am sure the insulation in this place is crap or non-existent. Our heating bill in winter is almost what a small house's would cost.

    I have light-blocking curtain liners on all my windows, so I keep those closed in the morning (our side faces east), and crack them half-open in the afternoon. When

  • Gold Bond Powder and I go commando... What else is there to do?
    • by Pope (17780)

      Make sure to sprinkle some Gold Bond in your shoes, keeps them from getting smelly!

  • Don't live in a part of the world where you have to keep your house refridgerated.

  • 100 deg f in Ct have a home weather station. Backup generators make a lot fo things a lot more livable. At the time I bought my last portable unit the inverters were to costly at 10x the price for the same kw that's come down to 2.5x they are more fuel efficient and a lot quieter. Getting a generator large enough to start a whole home AC unit is rather expensive easily 10 or 20 times what your going to pay for a portable job.

    As to food etc I have a lot of family up north where having a month or more's co

  • I live in an expensive area of the country, partially just to avoid the heat. I spent 20 years in Phoenix and don't mind paying a few hundred extra per month to live here. I don't think it's hit 80 degrees yet today.

    Apparently it's raining in Phoenix and potentially ruining what few outdoor plans were made. In the summer (6 months of the year) it's either 110+ degrees or it decides to rain, thunderstorm and a dust cloud rolls in. I don't miss that place right now.
  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:37PM (#40544369) Homepage

    It's raining. As usual.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:37PM (#40544371) Homepage

    The local stores such as Lowes are completely out ... and have been even before the storm ... of the type of air conditioners people want. I talked to an employee there who told me even the store manager there is pissed off because headquarters is too clueless to send the kinds of air conditioners people want, in sufficient quantity. It's portables that people want. The store has over 200 window units that don't sell very well, and 0 portable units that are in high demand. This employee said he gets 10 to 20 queries a day for portables, and about 4 units come in every couple weeks. There's something stupid going on at headquarters ... his words!

  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:40PM (#40544401)

    Damn tiny mobile fonts! Thought it was a new porn site.

  • by Milharis (2523940) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:46PM (#40544457)

    I'm not an American, I live in Southern Europe where temperatures often go over 40C (*9/5 +32 = 104F IIRC the conversion).

    Our ancestors managed to survive without AC using common sense.

    1. Close every shutter early, and open them late (when the temperature is cooler outside). You don't want curtains, it won't work.

    2. Limit your movements : you don't want to open the front door very ten minutes.

    3. Shut down every electronic devices, or isolate the room in which they are.

    4. Have a nap during the hottest hours of the day ( 2-5 PM), and profit of the coolest hours of the day : early in the morning, or a bit hotter, late at night. (Obviously, if you're not working, and have the time to do it.)

    5. Drink often, and drink water.

    6. Take care of the young, and the elderly. The latter are usually forgotten, and left alone. Have a look at the 2003 summer in France/Europe if you want to know what not to do. Sometime people were found dead days or even weeks after they actually died.

    That's basic things that can make quiet a difference.

  • by macwhizkid (864124) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @05:05PM (#40544619)

    I'm in southeast Michigan. Temp here is 98 today, and has been similar for the past week. At home, I normally run the air conditioning a couple weeks of the summer. This year, it's been running constantly since April. At work, our buildings are serviced by an internal power plant and it seems to hit capacity when the temp gets over 95 or so, so we've been under instructions for the past week to turn off lights and computers to reduce the electrical and heat load. I'm sure HVAC systems in places like Houston and D.C. are designed to deal with this kind of heat, but Michigan ain't Texas (or at least we keep telling ourselves...)

    On the topic of dealing with the heat, one thing that helped me a few years ago was losing weight. I lost about 50 pounds (went from ~230 to 175), and one of the unexpected positive consequences is that I am much more tolerant of warm temperatures than before. Previously, just sitting around in anything over 80 degrees was uncomfortable, now that threshold is more like 90. (On the other hand, I'm now more sensitive to cold, but hey, that's what winter coats are for.)

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @05:08PM (#40544639)

    Do NOT do a DIY on a automatic power generator or try to jumper a manual generator to your house as if you do not do it the right way it can back feed and kill workmen trying to fix the power lines.

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