Getting ready for the heat…

Temps are going to jump up to 100 degrees F. on Monday and start staying in the 90’s for daytime highs for summer.  I know a lot of people are already dealing with high summer temps and the threat of rolling brown outs or blackouts can add stress when no one needs any more stress.

I stopped by the local Grocery outlet store and got a couple of items I think will be useful this summer in the event of rolling black outs. The first item is a rechargeable LED bar light for the bathroom for $13.00. I have a couple of similar lights I got at Home Depot for $20.00 that I keep in the kitchen and computer room in case of power outages.  I like these lights because you can move them around easily and are bright enough to work/read under. I can recharge these lights with my portable battery banks but I have not test if the lights can be recharged via the 15 watt solar panel. The new light is not as high quality as the Home Depot light but it is $7.00 cheaper and will work fine as a light in the bathroom if power goes out.  I have other battery powered lights, candles and oil lamps but these lights provide better light for working and if you have cats like me you know flame and cat fur do not mix!

I picked up one of those mini Air Conditioners that are nothing more than a small swamp cooler but I wanted to see if the15 watt solar panel could run it. Yes the solar panel will run the little cooler up to medium speed on the fan with the panel in full sun.  My portable battery packs will run the small cooler fan up to full speed.  The cooler can’t cool much more than your face and head while sitting in a chair or perhaps sleeping in bed but any cooling you can get when the power is out should help you feel more comfortable.

Battery packs and small solar panels to augment power during rolling black outs.  I know there are a lot of people like me that can’t afford a solar energy set up that supplies all of our electrical needs.  But there are low cost solutions to provide some electricity in emergencies.  I love the small Battery packs for jumping car batteries.  These are the smaller paks that could fit in a jockey box and not the larger boxes that are the size of a car battery.  Some of the battery paks for phones and tablets are the size of lipstick cases or couple packs of cigarettes and people use them all the time to power small electronics.  You can’t power your home with these battery packs but you can keep them charged for back up power for small item in an emergency and store some power when you use a big generator to power some electrical appliances you recharge those battery paks.

I have a couple of small 15 watt solar panels that are made for backpacking and charging small devices like cell Phone or hand held GPS etc.  But they will also power up batteries and a tiny swamp cooler. Having so many of these items use a USB cord to power up is great because many on the smaller battery packs and solar panel are now plug and play power devices and there is no need for special connectors or knowledge to use these devices for power.

Low entry costs to start adding power to your prepping supplies.  On average I spent about $50.00-$60.00 each for my larger battery jumper paks and the 15 Watt folding solar panel.  I have bought smaller electronic power packs for $10.00-$20.00 for things like a cell phone.  What is great is you can start small and at low cow cost and pick up a battery pack for a phone anywhere including gas stations. Most stores with car stuff have car jumper battery packs and you can order online for them or check out camping stores for battery packs and small solar panels that charge electronics.  I would add the battery paks first as you can charge them at home and then add the small solar panels as your budget allows but I think having these for a power backup is at least as important as having a generator and the fuel on hand for blackouts.

Of course if you have a few more bucks to spend you can buy larger power paks and solar panels to charge them like the yeti, Jackery and other brands.  Heck I have seen a company that makes a portable 4000 BTU Air conditioner that has a battery pak and solar panels to power the unit.  It won’t cool the average home but it would cool a room to sleep in.

I use my basement to help cool my house.  I have a couple of  big fans that sort of blow cool air in the basement into the living quarters of my house and my guess is it makes up to 5 degrees cooler in the room the fans blow air into. Window and ceiling fans to circulate the cooler night time air into your home.  I live in high altitude desert so the temp drops at night and with low humidity you can use fans in windows to draw in cool air at night to cool your home. I usually close all windows around 9 am to keep the cool in the house. This works great when night time temps drop into the 50’s not so great when the night time temps stay in the high 60’s or low 70’s.  Ceiling fans should be set to run counter clock wise in summer.  The fans just move air and make it seem cooler but have no affect on the temp.

Last but not least get outside and acclimatize to the heat as much as possible.  If you go from a cool Air conditioned home to a Air conditioned car to an air conditioned job with the temp set around 72 degrees F. You will melt if there is a electrical blackout if the temps are in the 80-90’s.   Take it slow getting used to the heat, stay in the shade, have plenty of liquids on hand to hydrate and drink when you are not thirsty.  If you feel you are getting overheated go inside to cool down but try and push yourself to get used to warmer temps rather than avoid any exposer to summer time weather.

Out here in the west in a low humidity environment you want to sweat as that cools you and then slow down enough to keep the sweat going while drinking water.  In humid regions you need to mozy in your work and timing is everything. Sweat won’t cool you when it is 80 degrees + and the humidity is 80% +.  Places with high humidity, people take a shower in April and finally dry off in September or October.  😉

Drink water and have ways to flavor/improve the beverages you drink to hydrate you.  I found Powdered Gatorade drink mix.  One package makes 2.5 gallons about 1/3 of a cup makes a half gallon.  I added a half gallon of Country time drink mix in the fridge.  You can add the drinks you like such as sun tea or just plain old cool water but have liquids for hydrating this summer.  I’m buying reusable Ice packs to my freezer so I can add cold to a fridge or help keep a freezer cold besides storing blocks of ice.

You folks that live in tornado alley and hurricane country think about storing your food in the freezer in Construction grade garbage bags. If the storm comes and you have to bug out all you have to do is close the bag before you leave/the power goes out and you can remove any bad food but your fridge/freezer won’t stink of rotted food when you get home and it is easy to clean out. Put one block of ice in the freezer and if the bag melts and refreezes flat you know know the food melted and re froze and is not safe to eat.

That is about all I can think of for summer-time survival and the things I have done to make the best of a bad situation that is low cost and doable for most everyone. If anyone has better or different ways to keep cool or deal with simmer time emergencies I’d love to hear what works for you in a hot survival situation.

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