Off-Grid Survival Tips: Staying Cool

Off-Grid Survival Tips: Staying Cool

( – Air conditioning (AC) is one of the greatest conveniences of the modern world. Once you’re used to having it, going without is a miserable experience. Ask anyone who has had their unit go out in the middle of summer — it’s not fun.

Let’s face it, there are numerous reasons your air conditioning could go out. Blackouts, natural disasters or even simple wear and tear on the unit could all cause it to crash, and leave you sweating. Even simply moving to an off-the-grid lifestyle could leave you without the means to run an AC. So, how can you stay cool without one?

The Dangers of Heat

Staying cool isn’t simply for comfort. If you live in a hot climate, the ability to lower the temperature can actually be critical to your survival. Hyperthermia, dehydration and heat exhaustion are very real threats to your wellbeing. Heatstroke, for example, can be lethal if left untreated.

In a survival situation, in which access to freshwater could be questionable at best, the threat of dehydration and heatstroke cannot be overstated. If you can’t cool off and get help, things could go south in a hurry.

Time Tested Cooling Methods

In the days before AC was invented, one method of cooling homes was to hang wet sheets in the doorways and open windows of homes. As the water in the sheets evaporates, the air traveling through the cloth will be cooled, which in turn will lower the temperature in your home. This method has been used for centuries, and has been traced back to ancient Egypt.

Another method of cooling buildings from the past is to build second walls outside of your home. In India, a series of lattice-like walls are constructed outside of the main building as a way to block the sun from hitting the main structure.

Preventative Methods

There are a few simple actions you can take to help lower the temperature in your home should the AC go out.

  • Close the blinds/drapes
  • Avoid cooking in the house
  • Unplug unused appliances
  • Set ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise
  • Shut doors to unused rooms
  • Turn on bathroom fans

Planning Ahead

For those of us who intend to embrace an off-grid existence, there are a few options to efficiently cool the homestead. Unfortunately, these will require some planning ahead to be implemented in the construction of the home.

One building method to stay cool is to live underground. Below ground dwellings maintain a consistent temperature year-round. Also, underground homes are much easier to camouflage than a standard house. The drawback here is that construction can be expensive, and for many, living underground can be somewhat claustrophobic.

If living underground isn’t your thing, earth tubes are another option to naturally cool your home. This technique uses a series of buried tubes to bring cooled air into the building. By burying the tubes 6’ underground, the air traveling through them cools to roughly 50 degrees before entering your home. In the winter, cold air will be pulled in through the tubes and heated by the insulating soil (though it will not get “warm” by any means).

With a little bit of ingenuity, you can control the temperature of your home, even without power. Simple hacks can help, but planning ahead with the tips provided above (or even a well-placed shade tree) is generally a better option. Regardless of how you do it, stay cool and survive!

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