Tips and Tricks to Beat the Heat

As a resident of Los Angeles, I have found myself battling the summer heat. At times it has gotten up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 Celsius) in some parts of the city.

I used to have an air conditioner but the electrical wiring in my old apartment was not able to run it and other electrical appliances at the same time. Then it gave up the ghost and I was in serious trouble. But I decided not to replace it and see how I would survive.

At home, I would walk around naked and I got used to temperatures up to 100F (38C). A fan doesn’t give any relief over that temperature even if you put frozen water bottles in front of it. Then one day it got up to 117F outside and inside of my apartment.

I came up with an idea. I placed a two-gallon bucket of water in a small chest freezer and waited until it had a thin layer of ice on top. I then punched through the ice and dipped a tight fitting t-shirt into the frigid water. When I put it on I shivered for less than two seconds but immediately after that, I felt blissful relief. That effect lasted about twenty minutes and then I rinsed and repeated it again.

Nighttime is worse, being that temperatures only go down by about 20F (11C) from daytime temperatures. This means that at times temperatures would get no lower than 90-95F (32-35C). At those temperatures, the house cannot be cooled off by opening windows.

So I dipped a bed sheet in the frigid water, put it over me, and had a small oscillating fan blow across it. The fan will relieve you only if the water is frigid not just cool.

If the power were to go off, as it sometimes does when there’s peak demand for electricity, then you would have to rely on your freezer keeping the water cold for a few days. Open it every once in a while to keep the humidity from making the inside mildewy.

Another trick would be to keep the water in a small picnic cooler instead of a bucket or water bottle. You can then keep it out in the hot room and not worry about it getting warm too soon.

I suggest investing in a chest freezer. An upright freezer will lose much of its cold when the door is repeatedly opened. Fill up your freezer with 1-gallon bottles. Take about 10% of the water out since the full bottle will expand when freezing.

I can’t wait for the next heat wave to try out some new ideas!

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