Most people in Seattle don’t have air-conditioning, since the average temperature in June is only around 69 degrees. But the temperature may top 100 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. Portland, Oregon, may well hit 113 degrees.
It’s hard to find air conditioners at local stores in the Pacific Northwest these days, and they aren’t an ideal solution anyway: A small unit in one room can use as much electricity as four refrigerators, making your power bill spike and adding to the global warming that is leading to more extreme heat in the first place. When everyone switches on air-conditioning at the same time, it can also lead to blackouts. For those who can’t find or afford an air conditioner—or who want to avoid getting one—here are some ways to cool down.
PULL THE SHADES
“There’s a lot that can be done to prevent indoor temperatures from rising,” says Brendon Haggerty, a program supervisor at the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland. Closing the blinds or shades during the day can slow the heat gain from the sun pouring in the window. Blackout curtains or cellular shades, which are more insulating, can help even more, as can solar film, which sticks on windows to reflect away sunlight. It also helps to keep electronics and lights off, and to cook with a microwave or outside on a grill instead of using the stove.
VENTILATE AT NIGHT