You probably don’t have A/C.
Only a third of all houses in the Seattle area come with air conditioning—compared to the national average of 89%. Fortunately, there are other tricks for getting through this heat wave.
1. Keep the shades down all day. The less the sunlight can warm your house, the better you’ll feel. If you’re sweltering, you can even cover south- and west-facing windows with aluminum foil.
2. Set up an air replacement circuit. In the evening, once the temperature dips below 75 degrees or so, put a box fan—facing outward—in an upstairs window. Then open your downstairs and bedroom windows. Put a second fan in a downstairs window facing inward (if you can, on the breezy side of the house). Meet your air replacement circuit. As cool evening air flows into your house on the ground floor, the warm air that’s been trapped inside all day will rise and get blown out an upstairs window. You can keep this system running all night. But when the temperature crests 70 degrees in the morning, it’s time to close the windows, draw the shades, and use the following tricks.
3. Turn on your bathroom and kitchen fans. This will help pull hot air out of your house.
4. Run your ceiling fans in reverse (counter-clockwise). This will pull hot air up and away from you.
5. Run a dehumidifier. Especially if it’s humid.
6. Fill a large bowl with ice water, and set the bowl in front of a fan. As the ice melts, the the fan will distribute all that cold air throughout the room.
7. Put cool, cotton sheets on your bed. Then spritz the sheets with water and then let a fan blow over them.
8. Take a cold shower, or escape your house and go for a swim. If you’re really desperate, you can also lie on a hardwood floor with a wet towel over your stomach, or you can dip your clothes in water, put them in the freezer, and—just before they get frozen and crusty—slip into your freshly chilled garments.
9. Don’t use your hot appliances. Eat cold meals that don’t require the oven or range, and wash dishes by hand to avoid running the dishwasher. Hang dry your clothes so you don’t need to use the dryer. Also, keep your refrigerator full—even if that means stocking it with jugs of water. The larger the thermal mass inside the fridge, the less work the fridge needs to do, which means the less heat it will put out.