One Second After: Heating and Cooling

This is the fifth topic for our Group Book Discussion of the novel One Second After. To return to the main discussion page click here.

In the story, heating and cooling did not appear to be too much of a concern for the characters as they lived in a moderate temperature area. However, it is mentioned that in other areas people were suffering severely from heat due to living in areas and homes not meant for no central air conditioner. The story skipped over the winter months but did mention that many more townspeople died during those months.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  • What times of year and temperatures would be a concern for you?
  • What modifications could you make to your home to improve heating/cooling?
  • What would you use to provide enough warmth to last through a cold winter?
  • If planning to use a fireplace or wood burning stove, what sources nearby do you have for more wood? Do you have the proper tools to chop it?
  • If you live in an extremely hot area, how will you protect your family from heat stroke, discomfort, etc.?
  • What sort of long term solutions could be developed?
  • Do you have medication/treatments on hand for heat stroke or hypothermia?
  • How could you utilize your cooking methods to help minimize heat or utilize the heat for warmth?

DISCUSS

In our comments section below, ask questions, discuss your thoughts on this topic, and these questions. We will be covering a lot of the other issues over the next three days, so to keep it organized please stick with this topic.


We encourage everyone who participates to do so in a very respectful manner. As we read the novel, we soon became very aware that the discussions around this book could become very political, and personal. Such topics have a tendency to bring out strong opinions. Please share your opinions in a kind, and mature way. We reserve the right to, and will delete any comments that may be considered offensive or encourage illegal or unethical activities.

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  • TK

    Live in an older home so cooling isn’t too much of a problem. Opening the house up at night allowing to cool and closing it up tight in the day. We have retreated to the basement many times to escape the heat before having AC. Our biggest challenge from the heat would be in the long term… hauling water safely in the early mornings for hydration and cooling wet towels for the elders.

    Woolen quilts and wood heat to keep us through the winter. Moving beds to one room taking advantage of body heat. Sheets can be hung from the ceiling for privacy. Axes, Hatchets and Saws for when we need to gather more wood. Hmm, wonder how the neighbor will feel about sharing his acres of trees? We have a few trees but in the long run would have to look elsewhere. Another question to solve is how to haul the wood home?

  • For us, where we live now, our concern is heat. Not needing it, but having too much. I’d like to say it would just be ‘summer’ that we have problems with, but really from ‘spring’ onward through October.

    Modifications: The house we grew up in was better suited for no a/c than where we are now. Back then no homes had a/c. Would love to add whole house attic ventilation, that can be activated with the pull of a cord. As well as update our windows. We have casement (I think that is name) windows now – I want the crank windows that we had down in South Florida, screens were on the inside of the windows, and could crack them open even if raining outside!

    Our winters don’t get like winters further north, but for us who are not used to it, it is cold sometimes. My grandparents and mom were all born in PA, so even though living in Florida, we grew up knowing how to stay warm. Layers, and not jeans. As for house, put quilts up on windows, along with plastic. During the day on south facing side, take them down so the suns heat can get in. (Have used bubble wrap in a pinch on windows, just spritz with water then lay bubble wrap up there, the air pockets help.) Lots of quilts and afghans handed down through generations, so we still use those.

    Have trees in backyard and beyond for wood – have ax and a couple of machete’s, but that is it for cutting.

    Live in South Central Florida, so yes, it gets hot here. Luckily I grew up way down in South Florida, so know a few tricks to keeping ‘cooler’, not necessarily cool.

  • Abmiller

    Has anyone living in the Northeast tried a solar oven? I’m just not sure we’d be able to get much use from one being overcast here so much in the winter. I’ve seen the videos that say the outside temperature doesn’t matter but without the sun it’s useless. I just want to be informed before spending the big bucks. Any input?

  • Abmiller

    Has anyone living in the Northeast tried a solar oven? I’m just not sure we’d be able to get much use from one being overcast here so much in the winter. I’ve seen the videos that say the outside temperature doesn’t matter but without the sun it’s useless. I just want to be informed before spending the big bucks. Any input?

    • Anonymous

      The inventor of sunoven lives in Chicago and uses it all the time from his apartment patio. He & I learned I have a lot less sun south of there on the MO/IA border. The year we kept tabs on it we only had two sunny days in 4 month’s time. They actually use these things at the base camps at Mt Everest. Yup, even they get more sun light then I do! He did share with me that I could do my sprouts in the sun oven with a candle and it works great. I depend on my sprouts to feed my chickens and it’s a night mare in winter until I got the sun oven to help me out! when I teach my prep classes I show them my sunoven but I also show them several other methods of cooking especially ways to cook inside in the winter. the 3 weeks we had to power/phones it was -10 with 40 mph winds. cooked over our little emergency heaters just fine and only went out twice a day to take care of animals. Brought in enough water when we broke ice for livestock. that kind of weather you learn how to conserve water in a big way! I’m glad I have my sunoven but using it to cook in the winter isn’t my reason for having it.

  • Cherlynn

    well not in the desert so not to concerned about cooling, open the windows and live with it. Heat is a whole other question! We have 4 to 5 month’s that heat is essential! Trying to get DH to get a wood stove and pipe just in case something happens and we need it. Have our little emergency heaters and enough fuel for one maybe 2 season’s but I sure would feel better with a wood stove tucked away!

  • Sharon

    As an afterthought, before we got our wood stove once when we had a long lasting power outage my husband took a metal burning barrel, tipped it on its side, supported it on cement blocks, cut a hole for a stovepipe in it, directed a stovepipe up an existing old chimney and kept a fire going in it. When the power and all the lights came on in the middle of the night he woke up in a panic believing that the house was on fire. It wasn’t and he kept a bucket of sand by it just in case.

  • the volcano stove is a good one, its high on my wish list it uses propane charcoal and wood so as supplies dwindle it will remain useful. wood gas is interesting and something I am looking at. A haybox is a good idea to learn ro use. i have burners on the grill and a solor oven isn’t hard to make if you haven’t bought one yet. There are so many things I want to get I would never have them all bought in time so I have to think what I could make on my own in a pinch and gather instructions. I may try making one this summer with the grandkids as a fun prodject.

  • winter is a concern, we have a fire place and the couch scooted close to the fireplace with a tarp tent would hold the heat into a smaller space for a short term solution but if it was a long term one i would want to plastic all the windows and doors into that room to try to create a warm cave.when the fire wood is gone, (and how will I keep others from stealing what we have out there along the fence) we would need help to cut and haul in wood. Do have a chain saw so maybe barter some sharing deal there as long as the tas holds out.you know the more you think on this the more scary it gets

  • Hntersmom

    Temps are so nuts here(SW Missouri)..we actually went without power for 3 weeks right after the youngest was born due to an ice storm. It was cold! me and the kids had to go to my moms as soon as she got power. hubby wants to build a fireplace as soon as the house is paid for. As for coling, we have a basement we could all stay in the summer if it came down to it because it stays fairly cool there.

  • Npp1966

    For those of you who have wood burning stoves and any access to coal you could supplement your wood with coal. I was raised on a farm in Ky and my dad every fall took a truck down to the mountains and got a load of coal straight from the mines. We then used both the coal and the wood. the coal was a slow burner and used mostly at night to help keep the fires going while we slept. My dad would get up early and stoke the coals to bring them back to life and throw on a few pieces of wood to get a roaring fire going before everyone else got out of bed.

  • Lillian

    Living in the great the State of Minnecolder, last year for two weeks straight the high temperature of the day was – 2 (Negative…that’s right – 2) was the high in December. Then in January we had a week, where the high of the day was -10. Without two wood stoves and a lot of wood already stored on the day of the EMP attack thousands of people would freeze to death in Minnesota if the attack occurred December – April. I don’t want to think of the house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning from houses being heated the wrong way. In the Twin Cities, houses are built very close together. Since an EMP attacked disables all communication the fire department wouldn’t be able to respond to fire houses, I could see blocks on fire. Also I am assuming most fire employees would be at home protecting and securing the own family. I think a huge breakdown in emergency services would occur in major urban cities. It’s a very scary thought. This is my number #1 concern if I was going to continue to living in Twin Cities, Minnecolder. Due to this fact, I have decided to move out of the urban city soon. In my new home, I plan to have two wood stoves installed. I have researched types of wood stove options, ordering wood by the cord, wood storage shed that I can secure because dry wood has the potential for high theft December – early April, hand tools necessary for cutting and splitting wood, and the proper way to dispose of ashes as not to burn the house down or start a fire outside. Lots of research need before an EMP attack. Far as cooling, in the past three straight days of 100+ degree weather in the summer. Staying inside in basement level and closing the drapes (make sure white lining on the back to reflect the sun in the summer). We would drinking plenty of water and not too much work during peak temperatures between 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    I ordered one solar oven and can’t wait until it arrives. However, I am saving for a second solar oven so I have at least two burners. I am worried about theft of that during an EMP. I would imagine outdoor cooking can be hazardous to your health during a long-term emergency and neighbors would smell your food and want you to share. So I plan to test placing the Sun Oven in an upper floor window and moving the oven around the house to different windows as the sun moves during the day. I really don’t want my neighbors to know I have a Sun Oven or food. I could see it causing problems and I don’t plan on sharing.

    • I love the idea and am thoroughly intrigued by solar ovens, but the efficiency and time it takes to cook concerns me if we had to cook for the family and possibly others.

      It would be really nice if you were able to share your experiences with the solar oven once you get it, and you are able to test it out with a few recipes, etc.

      There are a couple of brands that come to mind. Are you willing to share which one you purchased?

      • Lillian

        I purchased the Global Sun Oven. The great reviews and dependability is something I need in terms of a crisis planning. I need something that works for sure. It was $200+ but I cannot complain about price when my families survival might depends on it. I don’t need video games, scrapbooking, and other unnecessary stuff until I have all of my planning essentials covered. I tell my co-worker everyday that I can’t eat Wii games.

    • J – newbie

      Lillian, since your heating stove purchase is in the future, you might take a look at one that burns either wood or coal.

      Advantages being that a supply of coal could be kept in the basement – or garage if it can be accessed from the house – so no worry about theft; and, I’m not sure, but perhaps there are more BTUs of heat (and longer lasting?) per piece of coal than per stick of wood, with no energy (calories from food) expended on your part to get it. Disadvantages = higher purchase price and *careful* construction of chimney (not stovepipe).

      A quick check turned up a question (from a Canadian) and below Answer (from this US-based web site: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/QA_Templates/info/869/ )
      Answer:
      Very few companies make a combo coal/wood stove anymore…one is Harman Stoves at http://www.harmanstoves.com. This is a nice unit, but more costly than wood or coal only stoves. Also, these are designed for hard coal…not sure if that is what you use up there. You can use any class “A” chimney, which means either a masonry chimney built to current codes, or a stainless steel double or triple insulated chimney. Metalbestos is one well-known brand. Either way, you’ll have a good backup source of heat.

    • J – newbie

      (Okay, my reply didn’t seem to “take” the first time but I might be hasty and thus it will be duplicated.)

      Lillian, since your heating stove purchase is in the future, you might take a look at one that burns either wood or coal.

      Advantages being that a supply of coal could be kept in the basement or garage if can be accessed from the house so no worry about theft; and, I’m not sure, but perhaps there are more BTUs of heat (and longer lasting?) per piece of coal than per stick of wood, with no energy (calories from food) expended on your part to get it. Disadvantages = higher purchase price and *careful* construction of chimney (not stovepipe).

      A quick check turned up a question (from a Canadian) and this Answer (from US-based web site: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/QA_Templates/info/869/ )
      Answer:
      Very few companies make a combo coal/wood stove anymore…one is Harman Stoves at http://www.harmanstoves.com. This is a nice unit, but more costly than wood or coal only stoves. Also, these are designed for hard coal…not sure if that is what you use up there. You can use any class “A” chimney, which means either a masonry chimney built to current codes, or a stainless steel double or triple insulated chimney. Metalbestos is one well-known brand. Either way, you’ll have a good backup source of heat.

    • thats one thing I worry/wonder about, the smell of food cooking, how are you going to cook and NOT have starving hungry people smelling their way to you willing to kill to feed their children?

    • Npp1966

      stock up on puzzles. we always had a couple of puzzles going in the winter time. when we’d get snowed in we”d be outside long enough to get chores done, animals feed/milked, wood/coal carried in, then we’d sit around working on puzzles or reading books until it was time to go do it all again. My mom said when she was growing up they’d build the same puzzles over and over again so many times that they’d eventually sit with the puzzles upside down from themselves for variety.

  • Lillian

    Living in the great the State of Minnecolder, last year for two weeks straight the high temperature of the day was – 2 (Negative…that’s right – 2) was the high in December. Then in January we had a week, where the high of the day was -10. Without two wood stoves and a lot of wood already stored on the day of the EMP attack thousands of people would freeze to death in Minnesota if the attack occurred December – April. I don’t want to think of the house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning from houses being heated the wrong way. In the Twin Cities, houses are built very close together. Since an EMP attacked disables all communication the fire department wouldn’t be able to respond to fire houses, I could see blocks on fire. Also I am assuming most fire employees would be at home protecting and securing the own family. I think a huge breakdown in emergency services would occur in major urban cities. It’s a very scary thought. This is my number #1 concern if I was going to continue to living in Twin Cities, Minnecolder. Due to this fact, I have decided to move out of the urban city soon. In my new home, I plan to have two wood stoves installed. I have researched types of wood stove options, ordering wood by the cord, wood storage shed that I can secure because dry wood has the potential for high theft December – early April, hand tools necessary for cutting and splitting wood, and the proper way to dispose of ashes as not to burn the house down or start a fire outside. Lots of research need before an EMP attack. Far as cooling, in the past three straight days of 100+ degree weather in the summer. Staying inside in basement level and closing the drapes (make sure white lining on the back to reflect the sun in the summer). We would drinking plenty of water and not too much work during peak temperatures between 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  • Michelle

    We are in northern WI so harsh winters are my number one concern. Probably half the houses around here don’t have a/c to begin with so summer isn’t a huge concern for me, it gets hot but not horribly hot for long stretches of time and we are on a lake so we could just go for a swim if it was a hot streak.
    As of now we don’t have a secondary, electricity free, form of heat. We have a forced air furnace that runs on LP. So I’m wondering if one of those buddy heaters that is safe to use inside could be rigged up to a 500gal LP tank. I would think that if we all slept in one room of our very well insulated house that one of those could keep us going, and since our LP tank is never less then 1/2 full 250-400gal of LP would last for a while with one of those. We have great southern exposure so I would take advantage of the sun heating up the house during the day, our furnace really doesn’t run that much during the day unless it’s well below zero out because of the sun keeping the house warm. I guess we would just have to take to sleeping in our snowsuits or something like that.

    We are in a very wooded area so wood wouldn’t be an issue for any type of fire we wanted

    I should a solar oven because of our great southern exposure on the front of our house. Our front door can get hot to the touch, even in the winter, being painted a dark color.

  • Julie K.

    My family lives in Utah where we have pretty brutal winters as well as hot summers. Our summer temperatures can reach the 100s and we hit single digits in the winter. I agree that we would close off areas of the house and all sleep in the same room. I have heard that a candle can generate enough heat to keep the temperature above freezing and we have plenty of those. I would really like to invest in a solar oven since we have so many clear days. As far as wood, we live in an area where that isn’t an option. We have extra propane stored, but it wouldn’t last long which is why I think the solar oven would work well. We have made storing first aid supplies a priority, so we do have items on hand to treat heat stroke like Gatorade, plenty of water, one time use ice packs, and areas of our home that are shady. Our basement is also considerably cooler and would be our place of refuge in the summer.

  • J – newbie

    This is about the only aspect that isn’t daunting! Weather here is coastal, so it’s windy, rainy and damp-chilly during winter. We have had snow a few times but it doesn’t last more than a day or two.

    No realistic option for heating once building’s water-boiler stops … must ask bldg. mgr. if there’s a generator but don’t expect a “yes” answer. However, with layers of clothing and lots of blankets it’s very doable.

    Bonnie, thanks so much for advising about your coffee cans, wax & wicks for heat and cooking! A few more things to the list, but they’ll go right to the top since it’s also a handy solution for our occasional power outages. LOL, they usually occur with our occasional snow … in a city that practically shuts down after a few snowflakes. Luckily I grew up in snow country, so have some knowledge.

    • Npp1966

      Check out how to make a soda can stove small portable they say burns relatively clean. Might make a good option for heat as well as cooking

      • J – newbie

        Thanks for your good suggestion. I definitely will …and also check to see if there’s a video ‘how to’ somewhere on the ‘Net. I find new knowledge “takes” much better if written instructions are augmented with visuals – either pics or video. 🙂

  • Rise’

    Winter would be my biggest condern. We have a small family. For sleeping I will clear out one of the bedrooms and put up our tent. We will all sleep inside the tent where the combined body heat can generate more warmth than you would think. One of the things on my wish list is an Alakanak tent that you can put a small wood stove in. I would vent this to the outside. We have several propane heaters and a kerosene. The Dietz lanterns also perform double duty by throwing off some heat and light. There is one version of it that also allows you to cook a 2 cup container of soup, boil water, etc. A good stock of long johns is imperative, as are Artic fleece shirts and hand/toe warmers.

    We are hoping to buy a wood stove as our family Christmas present but not sure if it will be feasible this winter or if we’ll have to wait until spring. We don’t have a huge supply of wood so I want to stock up on these fire-bricks you can buy from the Amish (www.lehmans.com). We have a couple trees that could be cut (break my heart!!!) but it would have to dry so you have to allow a year for that.

    Summer, while being a trial during days of high humidity, would be eaisier to deal with. Some old-fashioned ceiling fans that require no electricity, just breeze, to circulate would be good. Like others – plan our activities. I would have a good stock of gatorade powder, salt, sugar, potassium pills, and pedialyte. In the summer I would cook outside. We have a nice large shed in the backyard… a city dweller’s barn 🙂 … I would do most cooking on the propane grills inside the shed just to minimize exposure of our resources to others – but this keeps the heat out of the house. I would also employ ‘thermos cooking’. I have a set of pots and pans called AirCore that finish cooking food after they are brought up to a certain temperature and then left unopened.

    Another great heating method for sleeping is to heat bricks or rocks, wrap them in towels and use them as bed-warmers. I grew up in a house where we heated with 2 pot-belly stoves but none of that heat ever got upstairs. My mom would sometimes do this and we would use it to warm our feet while we fell asleep.

  • Bonnie

    December through March would be a concern here as I live in the northeast and it can get really cold. Blanketing off unused rooms would help in heating. When the ice storm hit, I was living in a mobile home with no electricity for 7 days. I put blankets over the doorways, leaving the living room and kitchen for us to live in. I had several large metal coffee cans that I melted wax into and added 4 wicks to each. They threw off more heat than people realize! I also cooked on top of one by punching a few holes around the top edge so air could get to the flame and placed a pyrex dish on top. I cooked beans this way and they were very tasty!
    I have many blankets also. Being a crocheter, I usually have one in progress all the time.

  • Ipreach4god

    well, here is a tough one…

    i have no problem with heat…right now my primary source of heat is wood burning stove and 3 fireplaces…i live in the country with plenty of woods to cut…

    i have 3 Stihl chainsaws (all bought used from a local tree trimming business that went under)…i have extra chains and can manually sharpen them…i also have a hydraulic splitter…gas powered….multiple axes, hatchets and hand saws…i have no fear of getting and splitting wood…i also have “fat wood” for starting fires…

    if this happens in the summer…i guess opening windows and not too sure past that…

    i do have a storm shelter and an old root cellar…so if it gets too hot, we have a place to go…not a lot of space, but will help…

    as far as cooking…no problem…volcano stove outside will work for me…

  • melissa

    What times of year and temperatures would be a concern for you? Summer time would be the major concern. Temperatures can get pretty toasty down here. Not too worried about Winter since we don’t usually have much of one but it does get cold sometimes. We do have a fireplace and could all sleep in one room.
    I would love to have more fireplaces but can’t change that. I do plan to have a propane heater or two but I don’t think we’ll need it.
    We have plenty of firewood and do live near wooded areas.
    We do have a chainsaw for cutting wood but also axes.
    To protect my family from extreme heat we will just have to drink plenty of water. I think having clean water will be the most important thing. I think I’ll make some of those neck wraps with the gel beads in them to put in our storage.

    I don’t have anything for heatstroke other than the items I already mentioned. I need to check the dates on gatorade and such. I guess salt will come in handy too.

    I would learn to cook on/in my fireplace during the winter months. Where there is a will, there is a way. During the summer, it would definitely have to be outside. Would most likely learn to eat the dehydrated food as a snack as someone mentioned on the facebook page. Just drink plenty of water with it.

    Oh, I just thought of something else…I will get some spray bottles to mist with
    How could you utilize your cooking methods to help minimize heat or utilize the heat for warmth?

    • melissa

      ah, sorry about that. I copy and paste the questions so that I can answer them and then delete but I didn’t delete all of the questions.

      • In our area we don’t get much below the 30’s in the coldest part of the winter. We would likely do lots of layering, wear hats and use blankets…also staying active is important. We have a fireplace but everything I’ve read about fireplaces is that most of the heat goes up the chimney unless you have an insert. We do pretty high temps in the 90’s and 100’s during the summer. We would do what a lot of people do in that situation…do the heaviest activities in the morning and early evenings ad take a siesta in the middle of the day. As for cooking we have a solar oven that we use regularly…probably 200-250 days out of the year. We could use the fireplace (I use cast iron for cooking) and if necessary we could do a firepit in the backyard. That one though we really need to practise because cooking over a open flame is not always easy.

        • Melissa

          I’ve heard that about fireplaces and I have to say my fireplace puts out a good bit of heat especially considering I have these really high ceilings in that room. hmmm…or maybe it’s because I just burn my fire really hot!

          I did find a way to build solar ovens with pizza boxes. I can post the link here just in case someone might be interested. I’m sure it’s not a super oven but something can be done with it during those hot days of summer. Pizza Box Solar Oven http://www.solarnow.org/pizzabx.htm

        • Angie

          Please share which solar oven you use. My husband grew up cooking on an open fire. We have a very nice set of cast iron pots and it includes one his sister brought from South Africa called a potjie (poykey). It is similar to a dutch oven, but has about 3″ legs and is round at the bottom. He makes all sorts of stuff, curries, stews, desserts, even bread, always yummy. It’s actually easier than you think.

          I agree with your idea of doing activities during am and pm during the hottest time of year. My husband and I talked of this and I don’t know how we would survive the heat here, it is so suffocating.

    • J – newbie

      Melissa, it might be worth stocking a couple of boxes of Gastrolyte oral rehydration salts with citrate – 10 packets of powder per box.

      They specify dissolving it into water but it’s so salty as to be undrinkable after one glass (they have a flavoured version but haven’t tried it). Of necessity re getting the person to drink enough glasses of it, I found ginger ale works. However, that throws off the precise balance they use to up a person’s electrolytes – which they absolutely do not want to happen (I called to ask and was *strongly* advised not to) but it’s ginger ale or ‘no go’ so what can you do.

      You also can make up at home with a combination of salt & sugar – ‘Net search will turn up variations on the same recipe so just choose from whichever web site seems most ‘professional’ I guess.