Heat. Heat. Heat. The recent high temperatures have caused problems. The house lacks any form of air conditioning. I have both ceiling fans and portable fans that I can place in open windows to bring in fresh air, or to force heated air out. But the fans only deliver a benefit if they have access to a source of cool air. Once external temperatures rise above internal temperatures the only thing to do is shut off the fans, close up the windows, and wait for external temperatures to once again drop below the internal temperature.
Until this differential exists, the house acts as a form of convection oven. The fans do nothing but recirculate high temperature air. Operation of the fans, the stove, the computer, or any other electrical device, simply adds to the thermal burden. When the temperature gets too high, I am forced to seek out the cooler temperatures found on the forest trails. It was this search for cooler air that caused my high walk mileage in May.
Getting Outside to Beat the Heat
Being outside is not a complete solution. The heat increases the onset and severity of headache. I have greater trouble thinking during high heat. On the last walk into the city, I found myself “jumping” in response to perceived phenomena that were not really present. I have to take greater care in all situations where I face vehicular traffic. My frustration threshold drops. I become increasingly clumsy and ill coordinated. Nothing seems to go correctly.
A Key Heat Metric
A key heat metric is the number of days with a night time temperature in excess of 14 degrees C. When overnight temperatures are above this value, the house never gets a chance to cool down. The walls, the furnishings, all of the material contents, stabilize at a high temperature. When internal objects have a chance to cool, they counteract daytime high temperatures and moderate any internal temperature rise. When internal objects are already hot, and remain hot throughout the night, then there is no thermal buffer available; the next day’s high temperatures have immediate effect and will drive the internal temperature to uncomfortable new highs.
These high temperatures make it impossible to work and impossible to sleep. Somehow I have kept working but it has been a huge struggle. Tonight is the first night in an extended period during which the temperature is forecast to drop back to 14 C. The cool air feels wonderful against the skin. But I am becoming drowsy as the body seeks to make up the sleep deficit resulting from a week of high temperatures and difficult sleep.
I was wrong about chill nights ahead.