Keeping cool on the patio

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June 20th at sundown begins the new season. June 21 is the first full day of summer (September 20th will be the last). Many hot days await us in the coming months. Since we’re usually indoors through most winter and spring weeks, we want to maximize our time outside. When temperatures soar into the 80-90 degree Fahrenheit range (~27-32 Celsius), it is tempting to stay inside.

The Hardscaping™ experts here at EP Henry know how the sun and heat in outdoor spaces can be daunting, but getting outside is healthy for us. Finding ways to enjoy even the hot days is the key to a great summer. Plus, who doesn’t want to host parties on the patio? We can’t let a little heat stop us! Here are a few tips on keeping cool during these hot summer months.

Safety First

The Centers for Disease Control has some great information about heat safety. A few of their top tips: If you are heat sensitive (e.g., small children and the elderly), avoid the hottest hours when the sun is at its peak, from 10am-4pm daily. Cotton, loose-fitting and light colored clothes are best. Drink plenty of water while outdoors and take care to watch for signs of heat-related illness. See more information at their site here. 

Tailgater secrets

Diehard sports fans are the true masters of setting up camp on a hot “Hardscape.” Your brick paver patio may be cooler and is better at releasing heat than parking-lot asphalt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use some masterful beat-the-heat moves from tailgators.

1. Set up a shady area away from the grill

2. Use personal hand-held misting fans. Pack extra batteries

3. Cooling towels and ice-pack neck wraps work. Cooling the nape of the neck releases heat pressure on the head and    helps the whole body feel cooler

4. Soaking feet in a tub of icy water can also help cool the whole body

5. Freeze water-filled plastic bottles. They serve as cooler ice and stay cold while you drink them (as the ice melts)

6. Special baseball caps exist that evaporate water over time. This can lessen the heat on your head by many degrees, which in turns cools the body. You can also dunk a regular baseball cap in ice water and wear it to get a similar effect

7. Have the kids make a sponge necklace. Cut new sponges in triangles or small decorative shapes. String them on a ribbon or thread. Dunk in ice water. Instant cooling!

Other options for keeping cool while patio living:

            1. Mist systems. Mister hoses release microscopic drops of water that quickly evaporate, therefore cooling the air. Evaporation and cooling from misting systems works best on dry days. Humidity will lessen the cooling effectiveness of the water droplets because they won’t evaporate as quickly. Mist hoses come in all lengths and usually come with clips to attach to umbrellas or overhangs.

            2. Good old fashioned fans. Fans have the dual benefit of cooling the skin while blowing away mosquitos who cannot land in the strong air current. If the blown air isn’t cool, place a  solid ice 2 liter bottle in front of the fan. The ice will cool the air. This is also a good tip to remember when trying to sleep in a non-air conditioned room.

3. No alcohol until after 4pm. Alcohol is a notorious dehydrator and evidence shows the dehydration from alcohol consumption directly contributes to vulnerability to sunburn. Once happy hour hits, sit in the shade and enjoy a cold one.