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Roundup: Hot Hot Heat and How to Stay Cool

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It’s been insanely hot this past week as the thermometer has routinely broken 100 degrees in the Baltimore Washington area. We’ve been fortunate in that we live in an area where blackouts and brownouts, even as air conditioners are running full blast, are rare but the temperatures have just been unbearable. I don’t know what’s worst, the temperature or the humidity, walking outside is like being waterboarded!

A few tips on how to keep cool followed by our links for the week:

  • Take advantage of other people’s A/C… and by other people I mean the local mall.
  • Cook outside if you can, such as on the grill, or using the microwave to keep your home cooler. Avoid using burners and definitely avoid the oven.
  • Eat cool dishes, rather than hot ones.
  • Line dry clothes, you don’t need your dryer competing with your air conditioning.
  • Only cool the rooms you use. If you live in a house and can block off some vents, do so when you have central air on. If you use an room-sized AC unit, stick it in the room you’ll be in.
  • Use the fan. A fan works by blowing your body heat away from you, so you don’t need it on when you aren’t around. You can use it to exhaust hot air from a room by blowing it outside and create natural circulation in your home.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated!
  • Limit your time outdoors, the sun can significantly sap your strength.


Here are the week’s links:

  • Ignore generic personal finance advice. That’s the advice Carl Richards offers and while I agree with the basic premise, that generic personal finance advice is like any type of generic advice, you need to view it through the prism of your own life and set of circumstances. You can’t blindly follow it and assume it’ll work. If the name sounds familiar, you might know him better as the mind behind behavior gap.
  • Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Work Week fame has a pair of posts that all prospective MBA candidates need to take a look at – How to create your own Real-World MBA part 1 and part 2. But remember, much like Carl above said that generic advice isn’t something everyone should follow, you need to read Ferriss’ posts with that in mind.
  • Proposition 19 in California would make recreational use of marijuana legal in the state, which means they would be able to tax it… but studies show that if marijuana were legalized, it would drop in price by 90%. It’s a classic case of economics. If something is illegal, it’s more expensive because buyers have to pay sellers for the added risk of selling. If it were made legal, then there is no risk and you’re now just talking about supply and demand. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out if this is passed as it’s an even larger case of state law conflicting with federal law.
  • Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the Obama administration hopes to keep the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 20%, rather than to tax them as ordinary income (as they are scheduled to be if the Bush tax cuts expire). It won’t make a tremendous difference on my personally but it would likely be a punch to the gut of the stock market, where people look to when they need a morale “wealth effect” boost.

Have a great (cool) weekend!

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9 Responses to “Roundup: Hot Hot Heat and How to Stay Cool”

  1. Michael J James says:

    You shouldn’t close the vents in rooms with central air. It will cause leaks in seals of he ducts your attic

  2. echidnina says:

    It’s super hot here too, but not because of the heatwave… I’m spending the summer in a country where 100+ temperatures are the norm. To top it off, houses here rarely if ever have AC… I’m spending a lot of time in the few air-conditioned restaurants and cafes in the city, drinking lots of cold water, and taking midday naps to beat the heat. It’s much easier to be active at night after it’s cooled down than to run around in the sun.

  3. I live in Florida and am fairly used to the heat and humidity. Actually I enjoy the heat, no really. We recently downsized to a much smaller house and it is amazing how much cooler the house stays and how much lower the electric bill is now. We do have a pool in our backyard which really helps to stay cool in the summer heat and a natural gas grill so we cook outside all season. Stay cool!

  4. Taking advantage of other people’s air conditioning is good advice. When the heat is unbearable I take the kids to the mall or the movie theater instead of the park.

  5. otipoby says:

    “Limit your time outdoors, the sun can significantly sap your strength”. I have 3 childeren under the age of 7. This is one of the best parts about summer. Let the kids play outside all day (with sunscreen, of course). They get good exercise and then they are ready to go to bed at a decent time. In my cul-de-sac, I see kids playing outside at 10:00pm. I can’t imagine what it is like to wake those childern up in the morning.

  6. Thanks Jim for mentioning the New York Times post on advice.

    I think you are among the folks providing valuable information, a filter for noise, and a community to help people take all the generic information and make it into “wisdom” that can actually be used in real life!

    Thanks!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for the kind words Carl, I hope that everyone takes the approach you recommended in your column towards anything I write – you have to filter it through circumstances before making any decisions!

  7. ChristineWithRegence says:

    Great tips! For ideas on how you can take charge of your own health care costs, check out Whatstherealcost.org

  8. eric says:

    This summer for us has been a bit strange. It hasn’t been unbearably hot as it usually is but warm enough that I try to stay inside.


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