10 Ways to Stay Cool during a Summer Power Outage

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Power outages are common during the summertime – they can be caused by wildfires, thunderstorms or an over-loaded electricity grid. For the majority of people, extreme heat can be very uncomfortable, but for some, it can be life threatening.

If your power goes out, are you prepared to stay cool without air conditioning? These tips are quick and easy and do not require any long term changes such as planting trees or upgrading to double-paned windows.

Stay cool during a power outage

Change your curtains

The best way I have found to keep the summer sun from warming up the room is by using thermal insulated curtains, also known as blackout curtains. I installed them in the warmest room, even though the room already has blinds.

Don’t just take my word for it:  according to the Department of Energy (DOE), medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.  these curtains also have additional benefits:

  • They make the room darker when you sleep, leading to a better quality sleep.
  • They keep the draft out so they also keep the room warmer in the winter.

Keep your curtains closed during the hottest hours of the day.

Take a cool shower

Set your shower to the cool water setting when you take your shower.

Alter your cooking methods

In the summer, I try to avoid turning on the oven as it warms up the house. I also avoid deep frying and using the cooktop as that also seems to make the kitchen warmer. Instead, I use the slow cooker more often, or make salads that require no cooking.

Misting bottle

A personal misting bottle can help you stay cool – you can get a personal water bottle that doubles as a mister.


Have you ever stood in line under the hot sun and seen people using hand held fans to stay cool? It does provide some relief. It’s even easier with a battery operated fan.

Use evaporation

You’ve heard of “swamp coolers” that work by cooling the air with evaporating water. The ancient Egyptians cooled their homes using this method long before air conditioning was invented. You can use the same technique if you have a window and a bed sheet. Simply mist the sheet with cool water, and hang the sheet across an open window. As the air passes through the sheet, the water in the sheet evaporates and cools the air.

However, if you live in the first floor of your building and avoid opening windows, you can use the same trick by misting your sheets.

Cooling scarf

For extra relief either indoors or outdoors, try a cooling scarf – it’s a cloth scarf that contains a water absorbing gel, bringing hours of relief. It does require soaking the scarf prior to use. They are inexpensive to purchase. 

We bought one for each member of the family, and even had one for the dog.

Wear loose-fitting clothes

Summer is not the time to wear tight, dark clothes that constrict and attract heat. Wear light-colored loose-fitting clothes instead.

Change your diet

Eat lighter meals with emphasis on vegetables and fruit instead of fatty foods.

It is also said that spicy foods can help you cool down. Have you noticed that warm weather climates have spicy cuisines?  That’s because spicy foods cause your body to initially sweat, which then lowers your body temperature.

Stay hydrated

Finally keep your water intake up to keep yourself cool. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks when out in the heat – they increase the risk of dehydration. Don’t forget your pets can get overheated as well, so make sure you give them plenty of water as well.


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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.




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  1. The curtains are really helpful. I also find that opening doors and windows early in the morning when it is cooler lets in fresh cool air and then as it warms up close them up along with the curtains.

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