Welcome to the dog days of summer with what appears to be a bumper crop of “Excessive Heat Warnings” this year. In just this last week, I got to enjoy a nice balmy 105° in St Louis as I was heading home, Vermont hit 97°, and Norton Dam Kansas managed to take the title from Death Valley for one day with a 118° scorcher. While many bloggers, news agencies, & others put out some good advice & tips it was plainly obvious that some might have been in the sun for a little bit too long.
- Look for a shady spot to park – even if it means you have to walk another 50 feet
- If you can’t park in the shade or it won’t be in the shade later – crack open a window to allow heat to escape
- REMEMBER – AT NO TIME should you leave a child or pet in your car even if it will be “just for a minute” (yes it will be too hot for them even with a window or two rolled down)
- Sun shades do work somewhat – the main reason to use one on newer cars is so that you can grab hold of your steering wheel without burning your hands. No sun shade? No problem – just throw a towel or something similar over the wheel
- To get in to a superhot vehicle without frying or standing in the sun for too long – roll down the windows partway & open & close a door a few times.
- Make sure if you have a GPS, laptop, CD’s, I-Pad, a copier or anything similar it is covered &/or placed in a shady area of the car (Trunk, Floor Board, Glove Compartment)
- Try to plan your activities so you are not out during the hottest parts of the day
- Wearing a hat with light weight, light colored & loose-fitting clothing that covers all the skin is best. Not only does this prevent sun burn but it also cuts down on how much heat you must shed (solar loading doesn’t only apply to buildings, steering wheels, or vehicles folks)
- Make sure you stay hydrated – as the saying goes, if you are getting thirsty it’s too late… (try to stay away from sugary or caffeinated drinks & no, water isn’t enough in some cases – see working safely article)
- For more information we recommend you check out our articles on;
- Heat stress – this article was designed mainly for those working in the heat & covers the signs, ways of avoiding it, & how to treat it
- The Sun & You – this article mainly revolves around those on vacation, & deals primarily with the prevention & treatment of sun burns
- Working safely in the heat – this article is pretty well a broad ranging article dealing with fluids, eating properly, do salt tablets work, bringing shade & wind with you, etc…
Cooking & Cleaning:
Wasted or used energy (electricity, gas, etc…) has one major by-product which is heat, so the less you use the less heat is dumped into the house which needs to be removed
- Consider cooking with your microwave, outdoor grill, or simply enjoying a nice salad. This will help cut down on the amount of heat introduced into the house
- Use the delay timer on your clothes washer and dishwasher so they run during the night
- Make sure your water heater is set no higher than 120° & any recirculating pumps are either use activated or turned off
Lights & Appliances:
- Turn off lights, and other devices not in use. Below is a picture of a bathroom light bar, an X-Box, a Blu-Ray player & a Cable Box that have just been left on & paused – e.g. their lowest power setting without being turned off.
- Change out incandescent bulbs with more efficient CFL or LED bulbs. Be warned even CFL’s give off heat as also shown below, so if you don’t need them it is better to turn them off also.
- For more money saving energy efficiency & conservation ideas you may also want to check out our 25 conservation tips & associated articles
XBox with Kinect & wireless adapter in Infrared
BluRay Player & DVR in Infrared – pretty interesting seeing the layers of heat
4-40 watt Incandescent lights in a bathroom light bar
But wait, that’s hotter than the incandescent bulbs… ahhh someone needs to attend Infrared class. With that said this also happens to not only be an older style ballast but the wrong type to be used with a ceiling fan (this one is actually designed for floor lamps)
Slightly smaller sized bulb with the same lumens as above
An Air Conditioning unit removes two types of heat; latent & sensible. Sensible heat is basically the temperature you see on a thermometer. Latent heat is hidden heat or essentially the removal of the excess “humidity” in the air. Controlling the amount of moisture is the key to being comfortable or why it might feel cool at 80 degrees one day & yet so hot at 80 degrees the next.
- Consider opening your windows at night is at or below an acceptable level AND the dew point is 50 or lower
- If that isn’t an option, turn the AC down at night (say from 78 or 80 to 75 or 76) as this will not only help you sleep better, remove more moisture, but also help cool the place off for the next day. (If you have a time of use plan you win even more)
- If you live in a “dry-heat” area consider utilizing a “swamp” or evaporative cooler – not only will this save you a serious chunk of change on your AC bill but will help prevent you & other items from drying out. Unfortunately, though as soon as the dew point hits 45 or above the “comfortable feeling” will disappear quickly & you will need to flip the cover & switch over to AC.
- Ceiling fans & portable fans are great for spot cooling / moving the air around. There have been numerous studies where people have felt just as comfortable (if not more) when utilizing them even with the AC set a few degrees higher. The catch is it only applies & works if someone is in the room so turn them off when leaving the room
- While moving air is great, leave the AC fan on “Auto” – If you leave the fan on you are simply reintroducing that that water that didn’t flow out through the condensate line back into the air.
- Check your air filter regularly & stay up on your homes maintenance
- If you have minimal overhangs or trees, consider installing some awnings, shades or exterior shutters that will block the direct sun during the summer but allow for it to come in during the winter. As an FYI, if you live in areas prone to hurricanes, tornados or high winds I would advise you to stay clear of large overhangs (anything over 16”) assuming you could even get it past the code officials.
- Storm doors & windows are great when it is cold out, but during the summer one needs to swap those out with screens. If you have a particularly sunny window or bank of windows, it might be wise to check out “solar screens”
- While one would love to have a large tree shading their home, that isn’t always possible which allows for a ton of solar heat to push into the house. While radiant barriers do work in some climates, the best option for all climates is to go with an ENERGY STAR® roof covering which helps block the heat from even getting in