Friday, August 26, 2016

Keep Your Cool

This week I am passing along a tip contributed by a reader, Mike Lilley. He keeps cool by wearing a cooling vest. After doing a little research I found three types of vests for sale: one that circulates air, some that use evaporation, and some that use phase change gel. For attic work I think we can rule out the air vest because it works by circulating ambient air through the vest. In dry heat the evaporative vests should work well, especially outside. However, in an attic in the southeast, I think their performance would not be enough to keep you cool. Mike said that the workers at his company use cooling vests with phase-change gel packs.

The gel packs are similar to the blue-ice packs you might use for your cooler, with one big difference. This gel freezes and melts at 58°F. Remember that the temperature of a substance stays the same as it changes state. This is an important concept in making air conditioning work. This gel stays at 58°F until all of it has melted, and 58° is comfortable, as opposed to keeping a 0°F gel pack next to your body. Further, you can freeze the removable gel packs in a refrigerator or in a cooler with ice. A couple of users commented that it is important to keep the packs flat during the freezing process. Otherwise, the hard, lumpy gel packs make the vest uncomfortable. Here is a link to learn more about these cooling vests. I must tell you that I have not personally used one – yet. But is certainly sounds like a cool idea.

Here are a few links to learn more about cooling vests.