What to do in a Heat Wave
Extreme heat can be a deadly situation for people, especially the elderly, children and people with chronic medical conditions. When it comes to staying comfortable during a heat wave, preparation and planning are essential. These heat wave procedures will help keep you and your family healthy, safe and as comfortable as possible during an extreme weather event.
Preparing Your Home for a Heat Wave
When a period of extreme heat is imminent, preparing your home can give you a leg up on the situation. Some steps that you can take right now include:
- Build an emergency kit. During periods of extremely hot weather, the power grid is stressed and your home may experience intermittent power outages.
- Add weather stripping to doors and windows to reduce hot air infiltration.
- Hang drapes or shades and keep them pulled down during the daytime hours. This reduces the amount of sun that gets into the house and increases the indoor temperature.
- Stock the refrigerator with refreshing foods with a high water content. Foods like watermelon, grapes, and lettuce help increase your hydration level.
- Fill the freezer with ice.
- Prepare plenty of cool, non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic drinks such as lemonade, water or fruit juice to keep hydrated.
- Create a window reflector out of cardboard covered in aluminum foil to reflect the sunshine back outside.
Taking Care of the Air Conditioner
Air conditioners quickly become overworked during a heat wave. The high temperatures and humidity levels cause the air conditioning system to cycle almost endlessly in order to keep up with the temperature setting on the thermostat. Some tender loving care and professional AC maintenance can help reduce the risk of an air conditioning system breakdown. Some things to do include:
- Change the air filter.
- Clean off the coils of the outdoor condenser unit. Simply use a garden hose on a gentle spray setting to wash off the dirt.
- Pour a few cups of bleach into the condensate drain line to clear any obstructions.
- Call for professional air conditioner service if the system has not yet had its annual tune-up.
In addition to using the air conditioning system, there are a few other ways to help keep yourself cool.
- Use ceiling fans. They help you feel cooler and you can set the thermostat six to eight degrees higher and feel just as comfortable.
- Dress in lightweight cotton clothing.
- Take a lukewarm shower or bath.
- Go to a movie, mall or library.
When the next heat wave reaches Opelika, AL, our team at Alabama Air Conditioning is here to help you. For more information on what to do in a heat wave, call us any time.