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Staying Safe in the Summer Heat

hydrationWith summer in full swing and temperatures heating up, many people want to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. While it can be fun to get out and enjoy the summer sunshine, it is important to take precautions before being too active in the heat.

Each year, extreme heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. Thousands of people are hospitalized in the U.S. each year due to heat-related illness. That is why it is important to observe these simple safety tips to keep you and your family safe, healthy, and cool all summer long.

Staying Cool at Home

If the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory, it is a good idea to limit outdoor activity. Here are some measures you can take to make sure your home stays cool, safe, and comfortable during a major heat wave.

Start With Your Air Conditioner

Air conditioning is one of the great inventions of the modern world. During the extreme temperatures of midsummer, your air conditioner can be your best friend.

While it is best to schedule an AC tuneup in the spring, before temperatures become extreme, sometimes it is better late than never. Regular AC maintenance will help you avoid inconvenient breakdowns and help detect small problems before they become big ones.

Annual maintenance will also keep your AC unit running efficiently, saving you money on your summer cooling bills. Plus, it will extend the life of your system. This is not a service you want to skip. If your air conditioner hasn’t had a check-up recently, bow is the time to contact your local HVAC professionals to schedule a maintenance visit.

Have an Emergency Plan

If the electricity goes out or your air conditioner stops working, the temperature inside your home can rise rather quickly. Have a list of local places you can visit for relief from the heat, especially during the hottest part of the day. These places may include the public library, shopping malls, and movie theaters. If a power outage is widespread and lengthy, you may even consider your community emergency shelter or a local hotel where the power may still be working.

Easing the Burden on Your Air Conditioner

During peak heat, your air  conditioner works hard to keep the inside of your home at a comfortable temperature. There are a few things you can do to help it cool more efficiently.

Cover your windows. Pull blinds and drapes, especially over windows that receive the afternoon sun. If your windows receive excessive sun exposure, consider installing awnings or louvers. This simple measure can reduce the heat entering your home by up to 80 percent.

Use fans strategically. A well-placed fan can help circulate air and make your home seem cooler. If your living space has a ceiling fan, be sure it is set to rotate to push air down. The breeze it creates will help you feel more comfortable. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, “If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.“

Avoid using appliances during the heat of the day. If you must use your oven, stove, or clothes dryer, wait until the sun goes down and temperatures begin to cool before turning them on. If possible, avoid using them altogether. Consider drying your clothes on a clothesline. FOr cooking, try using a slow cooker or table top grill.

Dress for Success

Even if you plan to stay indoors, you should still dress or the weather. When outdoor temperatures are extreme, shorts, skirts, short sleeves, and loose fitting clothing will help you keep your cool.

Also, choose natural fabrics that breathe in light colored hues. Darker colors absorb heat, making it more difficult for your body to stay cool.

Stay Hydrated

Summer heat will make you sweat, making it important to drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to rehydrate. Instead, drink plenty of fluids throughout the course of the day. Adults should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, although more may be necessary if you are active or the heat and humidity are intense.

If you are concerned about the heat, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks. These beverages can contribute to dehydration, increasing your risk of heat-related illness.

Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat-Related Illness

Heat-related illnesses can be serious. It is important to know the warning signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other dangerous heat-related illnesses.

If you, or someone around you experiences any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fast or shallow breathing
  • Clammy skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Severe headache
  • Loss of consciousness

 

While summer weather is the perfect setting for fun and recreation, don’t take chances with your health, hydration, or your air conditioner. Stay cool and drink plenty of water. If you need help with your AC, call your local HVAC experts to schedule emergency repairs or overdue routine maintenance.

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6 Proven Ways to Reduce Your Summer Cooling Bill

As summer temperatures start to rise, so does the typical utility bill. The often expensive cost of cooling your home leaves a lot of people feeling burned. However, there are many proactive measures you can take to reduce your summer cooling bill. Here are 6 proven low-cost ways to slash your bill and keep your cool.

 

Tips for Lowering Your Summer A/C Costs

Turn on a Fan.

When indoor air is stagnant it can feel much warmer than it really is. The solution to this problem can be as simple as flipping on a switch. Turning on a ceiling fan or other circulating fan can make the temperature in any room feel as much as seven degrees cooler. Often referred to as  “The Wind Chill Effect,” turning on a fan works to make the air seem cooler in much the same way outdoor temperatures seem colder when winter winds are gusting. In the summer, we can make it work to our advantage by using a fan to get the indoor air moving.

It may seem like overkill to run a fan while your air conditioner is running, but it may actually save you money. When your air conditioner is running, a ceiling fan will help disperse the cooled air more efficiently. This means you can raise the thermostat several degrees without feeling uncomfortably warm. Over time, that can save you some cold hard cash on your utility bills.

Just remember to switch off the fan when the room is empty. Otherwise, You’re wasting electricity and just blowing cash out the window,

 

Use a Programmable Thermostat.

A lot of your summer utility bill probably goes toward cooling an empty house. Not many people remember to raise the temperature on their thermostat when they leave for work or school, so many hours of the day your A/C could be running just to keep your houseplants cool.

A programmable thermostat will help you solve this problem. By setting a higher temperature for times when your house is vacant, or when you may be sleeping, can bring you significant savings on your cooling bill. You can still program the thermostat to change to a cooler temperature before you usually arrive home so your house will be comfortable when you arrive. This will help keep your unit from running unnecessarily without compromising your personal comfort. Once you program it, you won’t have to remember to adjust the thermostat on your way out the door.

 

Turn Up the Thermostat.

Aside from using a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the indoor temperature of your home, you should also bump that thermostat up a few degrees when you’re at home. Christina Kielich, spokesperson for the United States Department of Energy says, “Setting your A/C as high as is comfortably possible and using a programmable thermostat to increase the temperature when you’re out, or asleep, could easily decrease your summer cooling bill by ten percent.”

Also, when coming into a warm house, especially if you are feeling heated from outdoor physical activity, don’t be tempted to turn the thermostat down. Turning a thermostat down won’t cool rooms any faster. If your A/C is running, it is working to cool your house. When you turn down your thermostat you risk forgetting that you turned it down, which could result in an inflated electric bill.

 

Take Care of Your System.

It won’t matter if you install an energy efficient system and a programmable thermostat if you fail to properly maintain your A/C system. Keep your filters clean and make sure your floor registers aren’t blocked with dust or furniture. Dirty filters and ducts can restrict airflow and cause your unit to work harder to cool your home.

Your unit’s evaporator and condenser coils should also be kept clear debris and dirt. Before the summer heat hits your area, schedule an appointment for a check-up and regular maintenance with your local HVAC company. This could actually prevent costly midsummer repairs. Just like a tune-up on your car can help improve fuel efficiency, a tune-up on your A/C unit can help increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

Avoid the Heat of the Day.

Try not to generate extra heat when the outdoor temperature exceeds the indoor temperature of your home. Avoid running the oven, dishwasher, or dryer until after the sun has gone down and the outside temperature starts to drop. The heat of summer is a great time to fix dinner in the microwave or on the grill. Also, try hanging laundry on a clothesline to dry and wash the dinner dishes by hand. This will keep these appliances from contributing to heat build-up in your home as they run.

 

Draw the Blinds.

While it might be tempting to open up curtains to let in the bright summer sunshine, it’s only going to cost you once your utility bill comes in. When the sun shines through windows, it actually hits the interior of your home causing your A/C to work over time. However, if you draw your curtains and lower your blinds, you’ll prevent solar heat gain inside of your home.

When possible, try to use lighter colored curtains or reflective blinds to help deflect the sun’s rays. Also, hang blinds as close to your window panes as your windows will allow. This will help block the outdoor heat, preventing it from radiating inside and raising indoor temperatures.

 

When you follow these cool tips you’ll be well on your way to reducing your summer cooling bill. Not only will you feel more comfortable in your home, but you might even find you have some extra cash at the end of the season. Just make sure you do something cool with it.

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Innovations: Air Conditioning The Outdoors?

Every field has its innovators, its sci-fi of today, realities of tomorrow kind of people. So what is it these people are working on in the heating and cooling industry. We don’t know about all of them. But we do know the man in the video below offers a plausible theory for solving one of air conditioning’s and the sporting industry’s biggest problems!

You know the feeling— you’re a die hard fan, and your eyes are glued to the field. Still, you can feel the sweat running down your back, making your shirt start to stick and itch. And it sure is getting humid. It’s too bad that rain never came through last week. Your head hurts just a little and you can’t tell if it’s your fear of the opposing team’s impending victory or the fact that you’ve only had one glass of water all day and the seats you purchased are a direct stairway to the beaming sun. Slightly frustrated, you think, “With all these high-tech scientific advancements and research these days you’d think somebody would finally figure out how to fix this situation. It’s a shame we can’t just air condition the outdoors.”

Well, as it turns out, we can. As a result of some of those brilliant scientific minds, it’s possible that air conditioning the outdoors and relieving sports patrons of the dreaded game attendance pitfall, is a reality that’s right around the corner.

How? Listen to Wolfgang Kessling’s (the man who Qatar, the 2022 host of the World Cup, has commissioned to help both athletes and spectators enjoy their time at the games despite the country’s 106 degree heat) TED talk on air conditioning outdoor spaces to learn more about the vast opportunities this concept could offer and exactly how it can be achieved.

 

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