When we moved to Idaho, we had no idea that it could reach 105 degrees on our property. As we are trying to build a house, we have no choice but to frequently work through the heat of the day. We thought we’d share some of our best safety tips for working in the heat and hot weather.
1. Set up a shade canopy.
The first summer on our property we had absolutely no shade. Whether we were working on food preservation, splitting firewood or working on our diy hot tub, we were in full-sun. All day long. This year, we smartened up a bit. Jesse already had a 10×10 shade canopy, so we set it up!
We also purchased a larger 10×20 canopy for the extra shade. Guests love it when they’re over for a visit. Now, we can mill lumber with our portable sawmill or even fine-tune our solar power setup, knowing we have a shady spot to retreat to!
2. Reduce heat by setting up a misting system.
In addition to the canopy, a tip for working in the sun is to try setting up a mist cooling system to keep the heat at bay. We were able to build our system for $15 or so from a local garden store. While this obviously doesn’t cool down the temperature of the air, it can help to moisten your skin and cool you down by evaporating.
You’d be amazed how a little mist to the face boosts morale on a hot summer day!
3. Get to know the shade schedule on your property or work site.
For us, we have a lot of projects to do all around the property, so it pays to know what will be in the shade and when! When we were finishing up our off grid water system, there were portions to do at the bottom of the hill (sunny in the day) and top of the hill (shaded most of the day)… so we chose to work in the shade, but never stopped working!
Work smarter to avoid heat exhaustion.
4. Wear clothing that’s suitable for hot weather.
This is something we’re passionate about – wearing the right clothing for working in the heat. Chose clothing that’s lightweight, wicking, light in color and even has long sleeves to protect your skin from the sun.
No longer do we shop at Goodwill - we invest in our clothing because we know that clothing can make or break us. We now see clothing as a tool that helps us do our job better, not something that holds us back.
5. Try products to stay cool in the heat.
There are various products on the market to help you stay cool in the heat. The first one we are trying is a cooling bandana - this is a bead-filled bandana that swells when placed in water. The bandana retains moisture and stays cool for quite some time. Great to place on the head or neck.
The second item we’re trying is a “Chilly Pad”. This is a pad you can soak that retains moisture for hours, and as it evaporates, it has a cooling effect. This is also great to drape over your neck and it stays refreshingly cool for hours.
6. Avoid working in the heat of the day all-together. Try to find indoor activities.
Easier said than done when trying to build a house as we are, but use a free project management software to organize our lives. We have task lists for “evening work” and “heat of day work." We recently got an RV air conditioner and let’s just say it’s really upped our productivity.
For us, there’s ALWAYS work to be done whether it’s inside or outside work, so when the heat is really unbearable, or we’re not under a strict deadline, we try to take advantage of air conditioning!
7. Hydrate days in advance.
It's a no-brainer to stay hydrated when you're working in the heat. However, not everyone knows that to be adequately hydrated, you must drink plenty of water days before you'll need it! We try to drink copious amounts of water maybe three days before we'll be working in the sun.
Also, be sure to have water next to where you're working. If water is near you, you're more likely to drink it!
If all else fails, throw in the towel to have some fun!
As a plan B (or C), find some water to play in! In all honesty, very few of us have the luxury to do this whenever we want which is why we created this video and blog post!
Stay tuned as we work through the heat to begin the construction of our home… should start the excavation within 1-2 weeks! Are you as excited as we are?!
Alyssa and her husband moved to Idaho after purchasing 5 acres of land where they are building a timber frame home and homestead from scratch. Follow their many DIY projects including milling their own lumber, building their own hot tub and making awesome things with reclaimed building materials. Find Alyssa on their blog, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. View her other MOTHER EARTH NEWS articles here.
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