Cooling Post TEOTWAWKI

Maintaining your core temperature isn't just a matter of comfort, it's a matter of survival. In my previous post on Heating Post TEOTWAWKI, I discussed ways to keep your house warm after a collapse. On the other end of the spectrum, we have cooling - how to keep from dying from the heat. This is a very real danger, as we see regularly during summer power outages. Without the grid down and the air conditioning gone, people overheat and die.

If you have robust enough backup power, you could keep the air co running off the grid, but air conditioning is a major power hog - just check your electricity bills during the summer months! That scope of sustainable backup power may be out of reach for most, so we will look into other methods.

First up is good ol' air flow. On a large scale, you want to take advantage of any breezes or cooling winds; open up you windows and doors - a seeming no brainer. Simple electrical fans require also much less electricity than air conditioners and can be viable on a modest solar system. This 12V fan is well reviewed for that purpose. On a smaller scale, old fashioned hand fans can be a help and require only a waving hand. 

Next up is minimizing your exposure to the sun's radiating heat. It's cooler in the shade. I know - another earth shaking revelation. Draw your blinds, cover the windows and keep 'em closed during the daySimilarly, rooms with fewer windows or in more central parts of the house - those with less direct sunlight exposure - will be cooler. Less obvious is re-arranging your schedule - start working in the still cool early morning and take a break/siesta during the hot afternoon. 

Thermal mass is another ally to keep in mind - this is the reason why marble or tile floors are so cold in the early mornings and one of the reasons your basement is always cooler than the rest of the house. Thermal masses exchange heat slowly - they are slower to heat and slower to cool, but once hot or cold, they stay that way longer. So, the cold concrete floor of your basement or the tile floor in your bathroom may be a powerful ally in cooling things down.

Hot air rises, cool air sinks - the lower you can get in your home/retreat, the better. The ground floor (or basement) will be cooler than the upstairs, and sleeping on the floor will be cooler than sleeping in bed. Get low, my friends.

For no electricity-involved, evaporative cooling is going to be an ace up your sleeve. This is the basic principle that your body's sweat mechanism works on - water cools as it evaporates. Evaporative cooling is also what makes the swamp cooler and the groovy zeer pot fridge work. Wet towels, wet bandannas, wet clothes - all these can cool you massively. A damp bed sheet strung over your sleeping area is a pretty good bet. 

There are also several pump-powered water misters on the market that should do a good job; the MistyMate Cool Camper is $40 shipped and is intended for misting a small shelter, and there are smaller, personal models available. You could rig up something similar from components from the local hardware store.

Unfortunately, if you live in an area of high humidity, evaporative cooling may not be of much help - there will be little evaporation into the already saturated air. You'll also need water, which may be in short supply post-collapse. 

Combine several of these together for best effect. Shade, air flow, evaporative cooling and ice-cold brewskie from your portable fridge/freezer. The BEST run down of keeping cool (and maintaining temperature in general) comes from Cody Lundin, in his book When All Hell Breaks Loose. Cody goes into all of the above, and more, in much more depth and detail than I can hope to cover in a blog post. Check it out.