If you live in Seattle, you probably know just how miserable it can feel during a heatwave.
According to studies carried out during 2015, Seattle is one of the least air-conditioned large cities in the country, with only about 33 percent of local residents using some kind of air conditioner to keep cool. That compares to the national average of about 90 percent, and it makes the city one of the hottest large US cities. To compare, about 36 percent of homes in San Francisco have air conditioning – another US city not normally known for its hot summers.
Portland isn’t that far away from Seattle, but even in the Rose City, about 70 percent of residents use an air conditioner, according to FurnaceUSA, to keep themselves cool during the summer. However, Portland can be
about 10 degrees hotter than Seattle during the summer, and Seattle residents can at least benefit from a sort of natural air conditioning, in the form of cool breezes coming in from nearby Puget Sound. But of course, you can’t rely on those cooling breezes every day.
If you live in one of the city’s almost a million homes without some form of an air conditioner, you probably complain when it’s unbearably hot. But after a while, complaining isn’t enough, and you have to come up with a solution. Almost 100 local residents replied to a call from the Seattle Times, asking locals just how they keep cool during those hot summer days.
Solutions were quite creative and ranged from lying on a hardwood floor with a wet towel draped over the body, to swimming and wearing the damp swimsuit until it’s time for bed, and putting clothes on that have been frozen ahead of time.
Another person who responded advised that she was able to cool down her home by about 10 degrees by hosing down the outside and the roof of her home after the sun has set. That reader grew up in St. Louis where it got much hotter and learned that useful trick during the hot summers as a child. That same reader also pointed out that houses in the Northwest, with their sliding windows, made it difficult to install air conditioners in the home.
A reader who routinely put up with hot Tucson summers shared the following tip: Spray water over your bed sheets on a particularly hot night, and then allow a fan to blow all over the sheets.
Other readers described how they would carefully open and close specific blinds and windows at designated times during the day in an effort to keep their home cool. Another respondent, who admitted to being cold because he’s old anyway, simply stays awake at night when it’s cooler and takes naps during the heat of the day.
More than one person who responded suggested that the only way to deal with the hot weather is simply to ignore it and learn to put up with it – a question of mind over matter. One local resident went so far as to try to keep cool by watching old clips of the Winter Olympic games.
Statistics from the American Housing Survey indicate that just over 53 percent of Seattle residents who do have air conditioning have room units, rather than a central A/C unit to keep cool.
The numbers of homes with an air conditioner of some sort are higher among residents who have a higher household income, and homeowners are about twice as likely to have air than those who rent. Air conditioning is more common among white people than people of color, although air conditioning isn’t present in most of the homes of those who do have a six-figure income. And only about 20 percent of those under the age of 30 have an air conditioner in their home.
Heat-related medical emergencies are a very real risk for seniors, although despite that only about 37 percent of Seattle residents aged 65 or over have air conditioning where they live. If Seattle is experiencing one of its unwelcome heatwaves, you should make a point on checking on any elderly friends, family members or neighbors, advises the public health department of Seattle and King County.
Article brought to you by the professional air conditioner installers at FurnaceUSA. Visit their Seattle office today:
Furnace USA – Seattle
113 Cherry St, Seattle, WA 98104-2205