Saturday, August 6, 2011

How To Stay Cool During Rolling Black Outs

No doubt that many of you have heard that Texas is on the verge of rolling black outs due to the immense amount of energy being used to keep cool homes. According to an article, one megawatt powers about 200 homes in Texas during hot weather when air conditioners are running for long periods. With the entire country going through a heat wave, it’s no wonder that the energy levels are out of control. Although I am hoping these blackouts will come to pass, I feel we need to prepare ourselves for this possibility and do what we can to decrease our energy usage, as uncomfortable as that may be. Preparation, after all, provides us with the peace of mind to hope for the best.

Prepare for the Problem

To be proactive, begin using perishable foods in the freezer and refrigerator to minimize food spoilage. Also, to keep items as cool as possible during rolling black, limit the amount of times the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. If you are concerned that the meat may spoil, preserve it beforehand, by either the canning method or the dehydration method.

Freeze soda bottles filled with water and when the rolling blackouts occur, place the frozen soda bottles in the refrigerator to maintain the optimum temperature.

Stay indoors and try and keep your body temperature as cool as possible. See tips below.

Close window blinds and curtains to keep the heat out.

If the home is too hot to stay in, try and beat the heat and head to the local pool.

Stay Cool

After exposure to extreme heat for extended periods, the body loses its ability to cool down naturally through sweating and evaporative cooling. Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. If you exhibit any of the symptoms listed below, be sure get to a cool location, and if symptoms persist, seek medical attention.


Severe headache


Hot, dry skin without sweat

High pulse rate

High body temperature



Slurred speech or hallucinations

Typically, the duration of the black outs may only be for an hour or so. During that time, follow these tips to stay cool:

Wet your hair. Just like you lose the most heat from your head during winter, you can apply the same principle in the heat. Wet all your hair, or just all along the hairline in a pinch. The evaporation of the water will cool your head (though it may make your hair a bit frizzy if it’s curly!).

Take a cool bath. Taking a cool bath will lower your body temperature and relax you at the same time. When the air hits the wet skin, it will create a cooking sensation.

Wear a bandanna. A water-soaked bandanna or cool cloth tied around your neck or placed on your head will help lower your body temperature. Another option is to wear a wet terrycloth headband on your forehead.

Keep a spritz bottle filled with water in the refrigerator. When you’re feeling hot, mist your face and neck a few times with the cold water for instant relief. If you have a battery operated fan, you can use this to cool off further. As you mist and fan yourself, the water is evaporated on you skin and cools you off instantly.

Stay in the lowest part of your home. Downstairs is the coolest part of the home. If you have a multiple story home, limit your time upstairs.

Learn From the Experience

If we can use these brief interruptions from our modern day conveniences as a rehearsal for short and long-term emergencies, then we can use it as a learning experience towards being better prepared for hot weather during emergencies. As uncomfortable as this energy conservation method may be, using the above stated tips and staying as healthy as possible during the black outs will make this a short-lived minor inconvenience.

By: Tess Pennington

Thanks Tess for a very timely and informative post. RW


Falcon15 said...

Yeah, the family and I just got our notice from ERCOT. Correct me if I am wrong, but there have been no symptomatic brownouts from grid overload, at least in my area. Now, having grown up in a hotter place than Texas - South Florida, I can tell you from experience, when there is inadequate power to meet demands, the system browns out. Anyhow, great post!

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LethiciaL said...

We live in San Antonio... and boy has it been HOT! No blackouts yet. A few years ago we lost everything in our 2 freezers because of a prolonged power outage. That was over a thousand dollars... lost. That got us thinking and we stared looking into alternative ways for our food storage. We found that freeze dried meats and vegetable were a much better investment since they are shelf stable. Many have a 25 year shelf life and the taste is wonderful! We got most of our stuff with a discount account from You can buy a large package or get a little at a time as your budget allows. The ship it right from the manufacturer to your home so anyone can order not just people in San Antonio. I even had them send a 3 month supply to my son that lives in New Hampshire.

Mikeh said...

Great post. I don't live in Texas and haven't for over 20 years. I lived in Temple. It has always been hot but from what I read it is hotter now than before. I hope this passes soon.