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The last two summers I lived in a horribly hot apt. I ordered a portable swamp cooler online. It ended up costing about $170 after shipping and was worth every penny.

I haven't had to break it out yet this year because my new place is much much cooler but last night I was almost ready to pull it out and plug it in.

Oh, and your plants will dig it!

Posted by monkey | July 11, 2007 1:38 PM

The ice and fan works well. We've been using it off and one the past week or so.

Posted by dj girth | July 11, 2007 1:45 PM

Is it a dry heat? If not a swamp cooler may not work so well since it's an evaporative cooler.

One summer me and my (then, now wife) girlfriend were watching a movie, at the end of which we should have been snuggling. But it was too frickin' hot; we were at opposite ends of the couch. Fortunately we had two things: an inflatable boat (it keeps water in as well as it keeps it out) and an ice rink just down the road. We inflated the boat, then made about a half dozen trips (we had a small bucket, and no shovels; ouchy hands, but it was HOT AND STICKY) to get ice to fill it up; we got a fair pile, set a fan on it, and it cooled the whole place nicely. But good god that was some filthy water in the morning. Why do those hockey players gob on the ice alla time?

I hate the heat, and I view all those who claim to love it, then sleep in air conditioning, as minor hypocrites.

Posted by Heat Hater | July 11, 2007 1:48 PM

a simpler thing is just to wrap a bag of ice in a towel, let it hang between two chairs and put something under it to catch the water. Put fan directly in fron of it. A good fan. And youre good to go. Personally, I dont think is that hot.

Posted by SeMe | July 11, 2007 1:51 PM

Putting together a swamp cooler is a waste of your time. Days like this went on for four months each year in New Mexico, and in my dad's office, all they had were two sad swamp coolers. They're ridiculously ineffective, basically cooling you only if you're in the direct path, at which point, you're also effectively deaf.

Posted by Gitai | July 11, 2007 2:35 PM

Ugh. Swamp coolers. I'd never heard of the things until I moved to New Mexico almost 3 years ago...and 2+ summers later I'm still yearning for the "real" a/c of my parents' house in Portland. I've lived in 3 different places (3 different swamp coolers) and they've all felt damp and too humid after running the cooler. So, I've devised a scheme for avoiding the swamp cooler at home this summer:

a)house-sit for people who have refrigerated air, thus making money while spending theirs running the a/c

b)find as many patios as possible for after-work beers (I think it's all in my head, but it doesn't seem as hot when I'm sitting outside with a nice cold beer).

c)work more/later in the day, because the lab has real a/c and if I get home after work (and aforementioned beer on patio) after about 9pm, the wind has kicked up and that cools my house pretty well...

Posted by md | July 11, 2007 2:58 PM

@6 Yeah, but then you're at work. A lot. And who wants to be at work when it's beautiful out? I'd rather be anywhere else right now, even though we have AC...

Posted by Callie | July 11, 2007 3:07 PM

that diagram is blowing my mind. "simplified"? a couple bags of ice from 7-Eleven and a table fan is what a was talkin - Michigan style.

also, when I lived in Arizona, we spent a ton of time at the mall. but that gets boring. a good thing to do is put a shiny quarter or half dollar at the top of an escalator. the top step. it'll bounce a little, but it'll stay put. stand off to the side, and watch how many people try to bend over and pick it up. it's hard to do, and then the people coming up behind them inevitably crash into them and it causes a big scene. hours of free entertainment.

Posted by KELLY O | July 11, 2007 3:13 PM


Not necessarily...I could be drinking beer on the patio A LOT. :) But if I show up at noon and work until 7 or 8pm nobody cares, and I can go for a bike ride or go play golf or just generally do whatever I want until 11am or so before it gets unbearably hot.

Weekends take a little more creativity, but I usually do have to work some on weekends (I'm a grad student, and research tends to proceed on its' own timeline...) and there's always movies, the mall or general outdoor activities--mostly I just don't enjoy being inside w/ a swamp cooler when it's hot, I don't mind being outside when it's hot...

AND, when it's 90-95 and sunny damn near everyday it gets a little old so I don't mind being inside some when it's nice outside. When we get a good day of rain (rare), I'm never at work, I'm out playing in the rain :)

Posted by md | July 11, 2007 4:02 PM

i couldn't sleep cool contraption other than a fan i did what it appeared all the other fags were doing...manhunted ; ) got tired real fast...fell right to sleep.

Posted by uhmmmm | July 11, 2007 4:20 PM

Or you could do what my mom in SC does, and just buy a heat exchanger.

Runs off electricity.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 11, 2007 6:14 PM

boo hoo ELI, I work night shift and have an apartment that exposed to the sun on 3 sides with no ac. i get back from work at about 8am.

( i know i sound like that grandfather saying that he had to walk to school 15 miles in the snow but its true and I'm fucking tired but its too hot to sleep during the day and i have to be at work during all of the hours the sun is set)

Posted by war pigs | July 11, 2007 6:16 PM

I'm with ya. Actually the last two weeks or so I would have gone and slept in my downstairs garage if there weren't so many hobo spiders there, ready to attack at the slightest provocation. A big ol' gin and tonic and a Hitchcock film until 2 a.m. usually does the trick. And to all those bitches who complain "I lived in New York where it was 103 degrees and 85 percent humidity and I lived in a 300-square foot apartment on an air shaft"... well this ain't NYC, and it's fucking HOT. Give us a break.

Posted by rb | July 11, 2007 11:04 PM

There are window-mounted AIR CONDITIONERS available at many stores. I have two of them.

Posted by lawrence clark | July 12, 2007 12:35 AM

I forgot to mention that each air conditioner cost $90. So, it is not exactly cheap to have air, but it is cheaper and more effective than the swamp cooler @1.

Posted by lawrence clark | July 12, 2007 2:46 AM

I forgot to mention that each air conditioner cost $90. So, it is not exactly cheap to have air, but it is cheaper and more effective than the swamp cooler @1.

Posted by lawrence clark | July 12, 2007 2:46 AM

Swamp coolers are much cheaper to operate than A/C or a heat pump, something like 90%. They are amazingly effective, but they do require more maintenance than A/C. I've only used the fixed-mount style, though, so I can't really vouch for the effectiveness of those little portable jobbies.

Posted by Bison | July 12, 2007 9:51 AM

Growing up in Phoenix we had both a swamp cooler and regular a/c in our house. We used the swamp for most of the summer (Mid March - Mid July). When it got more humid (above 15 %) we used the a/c.

I can't see how a swamp cooler would be very effective here, although sticking some ice in front of the fan is at least cheap.

Posted by Mike of Renton | July 12, 2007 11:56 AM

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