How to beat the summer heat?

It’s been really hot here in Pittsburgh the past few days, and finding ways to beat the heat have been paramount to getting anything done. My strategy has been to be nice to people who have A/C. Michael Colombo, however, decided to take matters into his own hands, and set up the above DIY Evaporative Cooling system. We’ve covered homemade air chillers before, but this has to be the simplest- just set out a dish of water in front of your fan, and you are good to go. Michael also points us to an explanation of the wet-bulb temperature, which is a measurement of how cool you can expect an evaporative cooler to work in your conditions.

Got a better way to escape the sun? Speak up in the comments!

24 thoughts on “How to beat the summer heat?

  1. I was just visiting Pittsburgh this past weekend, and DC, by far, is so much worse. I was outside all day Sunday for the Regatta and didn’t sweat one drop. Consider yourself (somewhat) lucky.

    1. Yeah, DC is brutal. My AC is overwhelmed. It’s actually scary-hot out there. Yesterday was 102 here. With really high humidity. You wear it like an oppressive blanket.

  2. Unfortunately, evaporative coolers are less effective when the humidity is high and the water doesn’t evaporate as fast, and here in the midwest, high heat is usually accompanied by high humidity. Plus, they put more humidity into the air, and most people are more sensitive to humidity than heat– I’ll take 90 and dry over 80 and humid any time.

    1. Yeah, I hear you, but I think at around 95, I’m looking to get cooled off, humidity or not. If it’s that humid already though, I’m guessing that a nice fan is all one needs to achieve some personal evaporative cooling.

  3. OK, I’m being a bit insensitive to those of you in the northeast. I know that not everyone has AC up there. Us here in Texas regularly endure triple-digit temperatures. But everyone here has AC (why else would we move here?).

    With global warming, you better start buying some AC units and earning enough to pay for the electricity to run them!

    1. Ha! When I lived in Phoenix, AZ, I had air conditioning and relied on it during the summer. Here, I don’t think it makes as much sense to purchase a unit that will only get used for a couple weeks in the summer. Also, we have that whole snow thing going on here in the winter, if you want to start talking about who’s more of a wimp ;-)

    2. …or better yet, instead of submitting to global warming, help fight it by moving some place where AC and its carbon footprint isn’t necessary.

  4. Thinkgeek used to sell a little desktop fan (it looked almost like a car air vent), and it had drop-in, freezable blocks.

  5. In the midwest, night temps are usually cool enough to chill a house. Using a box fan in an upstairs window blowing air OUT, it works with the natural flow of HOT AIR RISING, and with downstairs windows open, the cool evening air POURS in the windows, as the hot air is purged out the top. By bedtime we close the lower windows and open the opposite upostasirs window for cool crossflow. By morning the house is cool and we close all windows to seal it in. Start over in the evening. Meanwhile the neighbors electricity hog central air runs ALL summer. We use ours 10% of the summer when night temps are sultry also.

    1. That’s a great point! My parents used to do this when I was growing up in Michigan, before we got central A/C. It was also fun as a kid (ok, it still sounds fun) to camp out in the basement on hot summer nights.

  6. We have western facing windows, so we suffer from glare and heat during the summer. We found that installing window tint on these windows helped with both problems. Take a look at window tint kits, we found their pricing affordable and quick to install.

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