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Thread: heat wave and what's reasonable

  1. #1
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    heat wave and what's reasonable

    I didn't know where to post this.

    I'm watching the heat wave news on the television.

    First let me say, I am a wimp when it comes to heat. I hate to be hot. I'm better as I'm older but I still hate it. And I live in the West. We routinely get heat waves but they are blessedly dry for the most part.

    Here's my question. On the news they are telling folks (in the east) to stay indoors. It's a must. And air conditioning is a must. Now, I know that heat stroke/exhaustion is a serious thing, but I have to wonder at it. What did people do before electricity? Did the health authorities go door to door seeking to see if people were properly cool. (as reported on the World news.) In Haiti and other countries, what do people do? I just kind of wonder at this kind of alarm and call for air conditioning.
    Don't get me wrong. I'd be all about the air conditioning and am when it gets hot.

  2. #2
    Mrs-M
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    I put it down to Nanny guidance. Intervention through displayed and broadcast concern which helps comfort and calm the select percentage of population affected by such weather patterns and cycles.

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    Senior Member Bronxboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiam View Post
    Here's my question. On the news they are telling folks (in the east) to stay indoors. It's a must. And air conditioning is a must. Now, I know that heat stroke/exhaustion is a serious thing, but I have to wonder at it. What did people do before electricity?
    1. The hottest pasts of the southern U.S. had populations one-tenth or smaller than they have now. In Florida's case, about one-thirtieth. http://www.glencoe.com/sites/florida...geography.html

    2. People lived in houses not designed to require mechanical ventilation and cooling, with features such as tall windows and ceilings, window awnings, porches on all sides, etc.

    3. People often slept outdoors, or simply stayed outdoors, but in the shade, in the hottest part of the day.
    http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.co...summer-nights/

    4. As happens today, people who didn't (or couldn't) take care simply died from the heat.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_No...ican_heat_wave

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    1. The hottest pasts of the southern U.S. had populations one-tenth or smaller than they have now. In Florida's case, about one-thirtieth.
    Yea, maybe it is only AC that made such places reasonably livable!

    2. People lived in houses not designed to require mechanical ventilation and cooling, with features such as tall windows and ceilings, window awnings, porches on all sides, etc.
    + 1 It makes an immense amount of difference at least for dry heat like we have here. When I compare hot little apartments to houses it is just APPLES and ORANGES. There is no way such things are comparable. When it's hot as heck, I daydream, I wish I had a house with an attic (rather than a flat roofed one story apartment whose gray roof absorbs heat), I wish the water heater was outdoors (and not in the apartment heating up the whole place), I wish I had one of those giant energy efficient fridges that doesn't generate any heat, I wish I had a big ol shade tree to shade the building. Dream on and crank the window AC (it doesn't even work that well compared to a large attic and so on, but it's what I actually have).

    3. People often slept outdoors, or simply stayed outdoors, but in the shade, in the hottest part of the day.
    hmm yea can definitely be cooler outdoors than in.

    Also

    5) It is getting hotter, it's hot more often. We don't even need sea temperature measurements to know it is getting hotter, that the number of hot days is increasing is obvious just from having lived a few years. There is climate change, but additional factors like urban heat island effects are probably also playing in. When you pave everything with black asphalt of course it's hotter! Before electricity was also before the whole world was paved in black asphalt, in fact much of it was unpaved!
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Senior Member Bronxboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    Yea, maybe it is only AC that made such places reasonably livable!
    Many people who have studied the issue agree with you.

    5) It is getting hotter, it's hot more often. We don't even need sea temperature measurements to know it is getting hotter, that the number of hot days is increasing is obvious just from having lived a few years. There is climate change, but additional factors like urban heat island effects are probably also playing in. When you pave everything with black asphalt of course it's hotter! Before electricity was also before the whole world was paved in black asphalt, in fact much of it was unpaved!
    Urban heat island effects are a big deal. We live on the north side of a hill 15 miles north of downtown DC, and are just outside the heat island. I anticipate development changing that in the next decade.

    I can't say from my own experiences that summer days are hotter, but mornings in all seasons clearly are. It's rarely cool in the early morning through the summer, and winter after winter passes here and the temperature never falls below 10 degrees F. In the 80s, I rarely remember getting into the car in the morning and turning on the air conditioning. Now I do it almost daily in the summer, even though I tolerate heat better today than I did in my 20s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronxboy View Post
    1. The hottest pasts of the southern U.S. had populations one-tenth or smaller than they have now. In Florida's case, about one-thirtieth. http://www.glencoe.com/sites/florida...geography.html

    2. People lived in houses not designed to require mechanical ventilation and cooling, with features such as tall windows and ceilings, window awnings, porches on all sides, etc.

    3. People often slept outdoors, or simply stayed outdoors, but in the shade, in the hottest part of the day.
    http://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.co...summer-nights/

    4. As happens today, people who didn't (or couldn't) take care simply died from the heat.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_No...ican_heat_wave
    My house is a hundred years old, so that doesn't occur to me, but really, most modern homes seem cooler just in design these days even without mechanical ventilation. My house is not heat repellant or well ventilated at all. In fact, in heat waves, it's an oven. I do agree with sub urban heat. I'm surprised more urban design doesn't try to reduce it. But I still notice that large parking lots don't have shade trees, and now urban design looks for smaller trees that don't get over 25 feet or so, so that root systems aren't an issue, but the result is much less shade.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiam View Post
    My house is a hundred years old, so that doesn't occur to me, but really, most modern homes seem cooler just in design these days even without mechanical ventilation.
    oh gosh no, my dark cavelike victorian house with it's high ceilings and and skinny, few windows is cool in design, although brick is a bad material for keeping cool. Like an oven, it is.

    But I am celebrating this summer! Last year we installed air conditioning on the first floor. Now our entire house is cool. The doggies are so much more comfortable.

    The only time we had cooled air downstairs was a few years ago when DH's favorite bulldog was elderly, and she suffered in the heat. For two summers he lugged a giant old window air conditioner from blocks away to here, heaved it up into the window opening, and installed it for her comfort. She was very popular those hot summers because we all crowded into her little room.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Miss Cellane's Avatar
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    My house was built in 1920. It's a three family house, one unit per floor. Every unit has a front and back porch. The back porch was designed to be a sleeping porch--it was screened in, and instead of railings, the sides are solid wood, so that you could drag a mattress out there and sleep and no one could see you. Most of the houses in my neighborhood are like this.

    There's also good cross ventilation, because there are windows on all four sides. And it is somewhat shaded by other house and trees.

    Now, I live in New England. The house is really designed to trap and hold heat, because for most of the year, keeping warm is of greater importance. The design of the bedrooms in particular makes it very hard to cool them off without using window fans all night.

    I try not to use the window air conditioner much, but as the summer goes on and the heat gets higher, it's harder to cool the house down. Yesterday, we had a high of 92. In spite of deploying every trick I know, closed windows and blinds, etc., the temperature in the house got up to 88. This morning, the rooms with the window fans were down to 79 degrees, but the rest of the house, despite having opened all the windows, was at 84. And it will be hot again today. So in the afternoon, when the heat is the worst and the humidity is high, I'll run a window A/C in one room, to get a little relief.

    I think in years past, people organized their work so that they would not be doing hard physical labor in the middle of the day. Farmers would be out in the fields at dawn, and take a break mid-day, and finish up in the relative cool of the evening.

    My neighbor and I were talking about this yesterday. We don't have to wear the layers and layers of clothing people did 100 years ago. We aren't cooking on coal stoves the way the original residents of our houses were. And yet we were complaining bitterly about the heat.

    As for Haiti and other countries, first, I think that if you live in a place with that type of weather, you can become acclimatized to it. And work patterns would take into account the hottest times of the day. There's a reason very hot countries traditionally have siestas--no one wants to be doing anything when it's hot out.

    The door to door visits--a lot of people don't realize that heat can be just as deadly as cold. The visits and warning are just an attempt to make sure people are aware of the dangers and of what relief is possible for them. There was a massive heat wave in France a few years back, and many elderly people died--there's not as much air conditioning there as there is here. http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news...nce-heat_x.htm

  9. #9
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    Down here in central Texas, we have now had a month of 100 or 100+ days. 104 today. I have been living in this region for 50 years and have never seen it this hot and dry so early and for so long in my life. The city feels much hotter than ever with all the asphalt and concrete and no breeze at all. When a rare rain shower pops up, it skirts right around the city because of the heat. I am watering only my trees because without shade we couldn't live here. It is truly oppressive. I just heard that a neighbor lost her dog to heat stroke/shock when she took it for a long walk on Sunday morning. It is that hot. I can't imagine the poor and or elderly sitting at home with only a fan.

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