Tips for staying cool in Germany
Living in Germany? Plan ahead for the hot weather that's coming or you may be spending time camped out at the air-conditioned commissary.
Open at night, close in the morning. Open your windows wide as the temperature drops in the evening. Place a portable fan in the window to circulate cooler air in and remove hotter air. Close windows and curtains, and lower Rolladens during the day.
To keep bugs out while the windows are open, pick up Fliegengitter (think “fly getter”) kits at an economy home improvement store. They are inexpensive, simple to use and temporary. Place the Velcro strips, sticky side down, around the interior window frame. Measure, trim and stretch the mesh material onto the Velcro. You can easily replace the screen if it gets torn — my cat has a tendency to tear holes in them while attempting to hunt the birds flying by the window — and remove the kit when PCS’ing.
Relocate your sleeping area for now. If you live in a multi-story home with bedrooms on higher levels, move downstairs. A sleeping bag or couch doesn’t sound appealing now, but it will when your bedroom is still stifling at 10 p.m.
If you have a basement, even better. Our TV room feels air conditioned year round.
Don’t use appliances you don’t need. Leave as many lights off as you can. Avoid using the oven, dishwasher and clothes dryer to reduce heat generated in your house. Air-dry your laundry and fire up the grill instead.
Hit the water. Visit a local pool or spa, such as Monte Mare (Kaiserslautern), Cubo (Landstuhl), Saarland Therme (Rilchingen-Hanweiler) and Azur (Ramstein). Take a day trip to a lake or water park. Lake Bostalsee, near Saarbrücken, is a Center Parcs facility with restaurants, lodging, playgrounds and archery. AQWA Walldorf is a paradise for adults and kids near Mannheim, featuring a spa, indoor pool, lake and mini golf.
Whatever fun activities you plan, stay hydrated and apply sunscreen frequently.
Cool off outside — it’s less stuffy. Find a bar or restaurant with shaded outdoor seating and feel the air cool off after dark. Pack a picnic and sit under a beautiful tree in a local park.
Visit a new destination, and book accommodations with air conditioning. Make sure that A/C is listed as a room amenity because most hotels do not have it.
Buy a portable air conditioner if you live off base. A new unit will cost more than 100 euros, but you can find them used on Stripes Classifieds and other yard-sale websites for less.
Four years ago, we bought one for our third-floor master bedroom. Our house faces the western sun with no shade, so we use it on and off about three weeks a year. It has made a tremendous difference in the temperature of our bedroom, from 85 degrees down to 73 on the hottest nights.
Beware that portable A/C units are prohibited in base housing on some installations, including all locations in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Stock up on fans, and make a swamp cooler with this tutorial.