When most preppers imagine all the ways that a collapse of the power grid could hurt civilization, they usually think of our food distribution networks, water systems, financial networks, and the internet. But one thing that usually isn’t at the top of that list of concerns, is the heating and cooling of our homes.
That’s probably because we know that human beings have lived in extremely hot and cold climates for generations, and many of us just assume that if the grid goes down, we’ll find a way to deal with the temperature outside. This is no small matter however, especially when it comes to air conditioning. If it weren’t for the invention of AC, the Goodman air conditioning, stoves and furnace systems, there would be tens of millions of people who never would have bothered moving to the Southern US or the Southwest. A city like Phoenix would never have 1.5 million people without affordable AC units in every home. If the grid went down now, a large swath of the American population would be living in a climate that they have no idea how to deal with.
And unlike heating, there really aren’t any comparable non-electric alternatives to cooling your home. If you lived in the northern climbs of the US, then you probably aren’t far from sources of firewood, but non-electric cooling methods never work as well as an AC unit. Swamp coolers work really well and use very little electricity, but that’s about as good as it gets. Plus, they only work well in low humidity environments.
While unpowered cooling methods simply can’t compete with AC units, there are still some methods of cooling your home that can take the edge off the heat. One of the newest methods involves a device called the Eco-Cooler, and it is incredibly simple.
The Eco-Cooler is nothing more than a board filled with half cut soda bottles. It works by compressing and cooling outside air before it enters your home. It’s just like when you exhale with an open mouth the air is warm, but when you purse your lips and blow, the air that comes out is cool.
The board is placed over a window; preferably one that is facing the wind. The air goes into the bottles, gets compressed and cooled as it’s pushed into the neck, and then cool air enters your home. The only concern that isn’t addressed in the building instructions, is the possibility of bugs entering your home through the holes. I’d wager that a mesh of some kind could be easily added over the holes, which might actually help compress the air even more.
As stated previously, it’s no match for the air conditioning unit that you probably have in your home right now, but in an emergency the Eco-Cooler can reduce the temperature inside your home by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Not bad for a non-electric device that’s made out of trash.