Thursday, July 21, 2011

Best Hot Weather Tips You Don't Know About

Antarctic iceberg photo by Bill Adler.
Think cool, it might help.

We all know the basic guidelines for coping with the "dome of heat" that's over us and will continue to make our lives miserable for days to come.  Basically, it's: Don't. Go. Outside.  The Capital Weather Gang sums up what we're in store for us this way, "A potentially deadly combination of heat and humidity is upon us. We have not seen a combination of heat and humidity this intense in a number of years."

While staying indoors is the best prescription, followed closely by jettisoning your suit for work this week, here are three other lesser known, but also very helpful tips for surviving the next few days:

1. If you have to drive, deploy this trick for cooling your car quickly: Open one window all the way. Then rapidly open and close the car door that's opposite that window. Doing this will expel the super heated air that's in your car. How hot can it get inside a car that's left in the sun? Try over 140 degrees on a 90 degree day. You can read more about this terrific tip on Lifehacker.

2. Keep your cell phone alive by keeping it cool. The iPhone's maximum operating temperature is 95 degrees, and other smartphones also have temperatures above which they become very unhappy. If you're going to be out in the heat for a prolonged period of time, think about powering off your phone entirely. There's more about how heat and smartphones don't always get along here.

3. If the summer gods aren't smiling on you and cause your air conditioner to break. Or if Pepco decides that you're on their blackout list, you can make a single-room air cooler that will keep you sane until everything is working again. All you need to do is fill a Styrofoam cooler with ice, cut a hole in the top, place a battery powered fan on top of the cooler and punch a few holes in the cooler's sides for air intake. You can read the details about how to make an emergency air conditioner in 5 minutes here: . Have a cooler and a battery operated fan on hand just in case.

4. Power down your PC or laptop when you're not using it. Computers get hot --over 100 degrees or hotter is normal-- and that heat has to go somewhere. Thinking of your computer as a space heater will give you incentive to flip off the power switch.

5. If you are traveling about by foot, make pit stops in cool places. We were wandering around Metro Center last night, trying to figure out where to have dinner. Standing on the sidewalk, we were consulting Yelp and TripAdvisor and OpenTable on our iPhones, when we had an epiphany: We could do the same thing inside with air conditioning. And by the way, flower shops are kept very cool.

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