Beat the Heat

I live near Portland, Oregon and we are in the midst of a heat wave. We usually have temperatures in the 80s at this time of year, but today it is forecasted to be 105! Many people, including myself, don't have built in air conditioning. Here is what my family is doing to keep cool.

Keep the Doors Closed

Every day this week, I have cautioned my family about leaving the doors open. Generally, we leave our back sliding door open to allow our dog to wander freely. Right now, I want to keep as much of the heat outside as possible. During the day, we try to go outside as little as possible. I make sure all the windows are closed in the morning and that the blinds or curtains are drawn. We have hung a bamboo screen in front of our living room window, which gets the brunt of the late afternoon sun.

Water is Your Friend

Yesterday, my husband installed a mister hose above our back patio. The mist makes the heat more bearable. You can jury rig a mister by using the right setting on a spray nozzle or by just using a spray bottle full of water. If the weather is not too hot outside, a sprinkler or wading pool is a summer favorite, even for adults.

Another way to cool off in a hurry by taking a shower or bath. This is a good activity for bored kids who have been cooped up inside for too long. A cold wet washcloth is also good for instant relief from the heat.

If you have animals, make sure the water dish is topped off regularly. I like to add ice to my dog's bowl. You can also use this opportunity to give your dog a bath, which will cool you both down. We bathed my dog in the backyard last night, in a kiddie pool. She never enjoys baths but she looked much more comfortable afterwards.

Find a Place With A/C

When it is hot, it is difficult to imagine turning on a stove to cook dinner. Not only would you be adding to the heat but most people do not feel like eating much in hot weather. For my family, that has meant seeking out a restaurant with good A/C. After being in the cooler temperatures for a little while, our appetites return. However, in heat waves, the normal A/C unit might be overtaxed. Our favorite pizza place was a literal oven when we visited last night, with an indoor temperature of 91 degrees! Tonight, we are going to a place where I always have to remember a sweater because the A/C is up so high.

If you do not want the additional expense of eating out, you can still find places to go with air conditioning. Art galleries, museums, libraries and malls generally have good A/C. If you are willing to pay a little, bowling alleys and movie theaters are a good way to use up a few hours.

If you are planning to eat at home, consider ways to avoid the stove. Grilling is a popular choice as is using a slow cooker or microwave. Personally, I serve cold dishes like sandwiches or salads. I also try to make lunch the bigger meal of the day and keep dinner light.

Cooling Airflow

We have ceiling fans running in the dining room and the master bedroom. The other bedrooms have box fans. This keeps the house feel cooler than stagnant air. As soon as the sun sets and the outside air is cooler than the inside, we open up all the windows and doors and use window fans to cool down the entire house.

Sometimes, this isn't enough to cool off the house quickly. For the worst hot days, my husband and I sleep in the backyard on an air mattress. We did this last night and it was much more comfortable than my bed the night before. I'll do the same tonight.

What are your tips for keeping cool in hot weather?


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August 6, 20170 found this helpful

If you go to bed in a wet T shirt or nightgown, it helps you go to sleep and stay asleep.

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August 15, 20170 found this helpful

My husband before we had air conditioning in the living room there was none in the whole house so what he used to do is have something on the mattress under the sheet so the mattress would stay dry, he would get in the tub get washed, stay wet and put clean underwear under running water and put that on and get into bed with a fan air running over him and he was nice and cool all night.

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August 20, 20170 found this helpful

That seems like it would be very uncomfortable to sleep in...

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August 6, 20170 found this helpful

I place a portable fan about a foot away from a wall with the fan facing the wall. The air from the fan travels in every possible direction you can imagine.


The air coming at your body hits all parts of the body, resulting in a general all over cool feeling.

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August 15, 20170 found this helpful

In the morning, I half fill the bathtub with water and a handful of baking soda. When it gets hot I just soak a while. I also keep a spray bottle of water set on mist. A quick spray on my face or bare feet is a great cooler. I also spray my dogs and cats when it gets hot. Above them and let the mist fall on them. The first time they don't like it but after a few times they come and ask me to spray them. They come and look at me then the bottle then back to me and back to the bottle. The first time I sprayed my new dog, he looked in the air like, "Oh! Its raining indoors!" Even though he had drinking water my older Dauchshund wanted me to spray him in his mouth.

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August 15, 20170 found this helpful

I got a kick out of your fur kids and how they get you to spray them after getting sprayed the first time. All your suggestions were great and I think in my 73 yrs on the planet I have used them all, especially when I lived in Kansas.

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