How do you beat a heat wave? I’m sure I’ve mentioned how HOT it is here. You could even say Panama’s Azuero Penninsula is having a permanent heat wave. I’m always looking for ways to cool off. And as I sat at my computer this morning, dripping, researching, dripping… Guau! (Wow!) I found a wonderful article on ways to keep cool.
Yes, I have heard of aire condicionado (air conditioning). And yes, I’m a big fan. But no, I don’t have it right now, and it must be at least 90 degrees this very minute.
I don’t keep a thermometer because I really don’t want to know, thank you. It would just make me feel hotter and sweatier.
Some of the ideas in the article I found sound really good. I was particularly charmed by the homemade “air conditioner.” It appeals to my inner MacGyver. And I’m definitely trying the astringent collar. But before I pass along all this coolness (at the bottom of this post), I’d like to share an idea of my own.
In the afternoon the sun beats into all the western windows in my little rental here in Las Tablas. That particular wall is on the driveway, so the heat is intensified by the reflection from the concrete. I figured blocking some of that sun might help, so I took some shade cloth that I had left over from a dismantled project and made some screens.
These concrete block homes often have a metal – what do I call it? A C-beam? – along the edge or as part of the raftering. My neighbor showed me how to hang laundry on the porch during a rain using these and what she called a tubo. The tubo is simply a length of plastic pipe with a coat hanger bent to shape and stuffed into one end. I use it to hoist the clothes -loaded coat hangers up and hook them onto these C-beam rafters. It works quite well.
So I hemmed my shade cloth top and bottom to provide a sturdy foundation for grippers, shoved a length of aluminum pipe left over from that same dismantled project through the top hems, cut up some wire coat hangers to make hooks, forced them through the top and bottom hems in appropriate spots, and used Sr. Tubo to install the shades. I tied the bottoms down weighted to concrete blocks. That puts some space between the shades and the windows.
The temperature in the house now feels at least ten degrees cooler than the driveway, in spite of the shades being black.
I’m sure the effect would be even more dramatic if the shade cloth were green. Or better, white (which isn’t available).
Next time, green.
And now…(drum roll)… here are a whole bunch more excellent ways to cool off.