We asked Seattle Times readers to share their unusual and creative ways to try to beat the heat without A/C.
Just 33.7 percent of homes in the Seattle metro area have air conditioning, our FYI Guy Gene Balk reports. One reason: Westerly wind over Puget Sound cools us just enough for most of the summer.
Until it doesn’t.
When people of the Pacific Northwest endure a heat wave, they first, of course, complain. Then they get creative.
Here’s a sampling of the nearly 100 responses to our reader call-out about unusual ways we try to stay cool.
“100 gallon galvanized tank out on the deck and filled with about 80 gallons of Seattle tap water, into which I periodically immerse my body on hot days.” – Richard Carpenter
“Having a cool shower, then standing wet and naked in front of a fan.” – anonymous
“After sunset, I rinse off the exterior of the house with the garden hose, then water the garden beds until everything on or near the house is cool. Then I go back inside the house and open all the screened windows where I have ‘duo’ window fans in place. The fan blades reverse to pull the hot air out of the house during the day and reverse to bring the relief of cool air in at night. In addition, I use blackout shades on the southern and western windows to keep the heat of the sun out of the house. Hosing down the house is not an original idea. I grew up in the Midwest and my father used a ladder to climb up and hose off the roof of our house when temps hit over 100 degrees F in the years before we could afford A/C.” – anonymous
“I tell my husband this is ‘no touch me’ weather. No action until early am. I cuddle an ice pack instead.” – anonymous
“I wet my clothes and then put them in the freezer and then put them back on after they are nice and frozen.” – Crystal O’Donnell
“I’ve become nocturnal. 🙂 I feel hugely unproductive working at home during the day so I’ve started just working from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. If I need to work earlier in the day (so I can get up earlier than noon for a meeting or whatnot), I work in my apartment lobby which is air conditioned. I just feel so sluggish and unproductive in an 80+ apartment; I’m a night owl anyway so it’s only about a 4 hour shift in my sleep schedule, which is pretty doable with blackout curtains and a mask. Thankfully my projects at work aren’t dependent on others, for the most part, and if I need feedback from my boss, it works fine to send it off at 6 am and I can usually expect a response by the time I wake up.” – anonymous
“Eat Popsicles and ice cream for dinner and dessert.” – Lisa Hoffman
“Vent the house at night when it’s cool. The next day when the outdoor temp exceeds the indoor temp, close the windows for the day. If you are lucky enough to have a shaded house the indoor temp will stay 10 to 15 degrees cooler than outdoor. Air will be still inside with the windows closed so adding an indoor circulation fan is a good idea. When temps drop in the evening open the house up again.” – Chris Pfohl
“Wait for death to overtake me” – Lilly Monica
“Put an ice block (or lots of ice cubes) in a bucket, fill with water and place my bare feet inside the bucket. Instant relief! Also I freeze a few damp wash cloths, and wrap one around the back of my neck. When the cloth warms up, I put it back inside the freezer and replace with a cold one.” – Victoria Coleman
“I grew up in the swampy summertime heat of St. Louis, where knowing how to stay cool was essential to survival. Simply soak a cotton bandanna or neck scarf in ice water, wring it out and tie loosely around your neck. Repeat as needed. You will be cool and look chill.” – Chris Benson
“I put box fans in windows, each connected to a timer and I run them starting around 10 p.m. and they automatically switch off at 6:30 a.m. When I get up, I close all the windows. The place then stays cool until at least around 5 p.m.” – Michael Devine
“Grow up buy air conditioning” – Andrew Gilbert
Keep it cool, Andrew.