One of the most miserable parts of a power outage is how hot and muggy your house can get. Depending on where you live, this can even be true in the fall and early spring months. This is definitely the case where I live. Our weather is blazing hot from late April until the end of September. During the rest of the year, the temperature is fairly temperate, only rarely falling below 30 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. Because of this, a larger number of my preps are devoted to staying cool instead of warm. Here are a few tricks I have come up with to help me stay cool during a power outage.
Before a Power Outage
One way to stay cool during a power outage is to make sure your windows and doors do not have any leaks. This will help keep your home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. To find leaks, look for light that comes in from around the edges of your doors and windows. Also, check your doors and windows to make sure that they don’t rattle. Be sure to fix any problems that you find.
Although it can get expensive, adding insulation to your attic is a great way to keep your home cool. Insulation acts as a barrier between your living areas and the hot volcanic landscape of your roof. Outside of your home, large trees can also help shade your dwelling from direct sunlight.
Inside the Home
Isolate and close off warm areas of your home, such as sunrooms. Also, when sleeping, consider moving into an area without carpet. Carpets will absorb heat. This is great if you are trying to stay warm, but works against you if you are trying to stay cool. You can also use blackout curtains, thick towels, or blankets to cover windows.
Control Your Body Heat
One of the best things that you can do to stay cool during a power outage is to stay hydrated. All of your body’s functions require water, especially cooling. In addition to water, consider stocking sports drink packets. These will help you replace electrolytes within your body.
In addition to staying hydrated, your clothing can also help you stay cool. Any clothing that you wear should be loose-fitting and thin. Things like swimming trunks, workout clothes, short sleeve shirts or tank tops, and shorts would be perfect. However, if you have to go outside, try to cover as much of your skin as possible to avoid sunburns. To do this use long sleeve, lightweight clothing.
I personally like to wet a bandanna and put that around my head. If I am really hot, I will also place a wet bandana around my neck. This helps keep me comfortable and also helps to keep my body temperature at a safe level.
Avoid Candles and Lamps
Another way to stay cool during a power outage is to avoid using candles, oil lamps, and any other lighting method that involves fire. Even though they seem small and may only produce a small flame, these lighting methods can significantly raise the temperature of a room or dwelling in a short amount of time.
Another reason to avoid using light sources such as these is that they pose a fire hazard. During power outages, especially prolonged ones, residential fires increase dramatically. This is partly due to people using flame-based light sources. They are easy to knock over or place too close to a flammable object, such as curtains or magazines. Small children can also burn themselves badly if they grab a candle or lantern.
In addition, make sure that you do any cooking or water boiling outside. A stovetop or camp stove will heat a house very quickly. Also, most camp stoves are not designed to be used indoors anyway. They can produce unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.
Use a Battery Operated Tent Fan
Another way to stay cool in a power outage is to use a tent fan. They are usually pretty inexpensive and can be found online or in stores that sell camping gear. Tent fans are designed to hang from the top of the inside of a tent and act as a miniature ceiling fan. Many of them even include LED lights.
I found a way to suspend my tent fan from my ceiling using common household hardware. First, I drilled a hole in the ceiling directly above where my wife and I sleep. After I drilled the hole, I inserted a drywall anchor into it. I recommend using a sturdy drywall anchor so that nothing comes loose and falls down.
Then, I twisted a screw hook into the drywall anchor. It may be a good idea to glue the hook into the drywall anchor. This will prevent it from turning and falling down on you. Having a spinning object falling onto your face would not be fun. It would be even less fun if it happened to fall on your spouse…
If your tent fan is like mine, it will likely not have enough power to circulate air from the ceiling down to where you are sleeping. To solve this problem, I used a length of paracord to run from the hook down to the tent fan. This will allow you to get the tent fan much closer to where you are sleeping, allowing you to enjoy a nice stream of cool air.
Use a Job Site Fan
A rather unconventional way to stay cool during a power outage involves the use of a battery-operated job site fan. These are produced by power tool manufacturers and use the same batteries as their other tools. Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, and many other power tool companies produce fans such as these. They are usually part of their respective company’s 18-volt tool lineup. If you already own cordless power tools, a job site fan would be a great addition to your tool arsenal.
I have the Milwaukee M18 job site fan. I originally bought it to take to the deer lease to help my dad and I stay cool while we were working during the summer to get ready for deer season. It has three settings, each of which works well for different situations. The low setting is good if you are in a small enclosed space and just need a little bit of air circulation. The second setting works well to cool a tent or bedroom if you can get it close enough to you. The third setting blasts quite a bit of air quickly, but it is loud and will run down your battery much faster. I recommend using at least a 5.0 ah battery. On the second setting, this should last most of the night without completely draining the battery.
One of my favorite things about this particular fan is designed to accommodate several different mounting options. It can be set on the ground or a table, suspended via a rope or wire, and it even includes keyholes in the bottom which can be used to hang the fan on a wall or post with nails or screws.
Wall Hanging Method
I wanted to be able to use the fan to keep the bedroom cool if needed. To do this, I measured the distance from one keyhole to another on the base of the fan. I then installed drywall anchors based on those measurements into the wall next to the bed. The fan is heavy, especially with a battery connected, so it is best to use heavy duty wall anchors. I used two anchors, both of which are rated to 75 pounds each. This may or may not be overkill, but I like to play things safe. They can also be hidden, which I’ll explain in a moment.
I positioned the anchors so that when the fan is hanging, the air will be flowing over our upper bodies. Having the anchors already installed allows me to quickly mount my fan on the wall in just a couple of moments. I simply adjust the screws to the proper length and place the fan’s keyholes over the screws. The only tool I need to do this is a Phillips screwdriver to adjust the screws to the needed length. It is easy and fast.
When not in use, the screws that go into the wall anchor can be driven further into it and a picture placed over them. This will allow you to have a mounting system for your fan ready when you need it, but not look tacky. I have found that my wife is much more on board with prepping when it doesn’t interfere with the decor.