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While late spring through early fall are the hottest months for us, you should remain prepared for extreme heat and humidity throughout the year. Follow these tips:
IN YOUR HOME
These are a few seasonal steps you can take to be sure your home Is ready for the heat. Check our Green Your Cooling Routine page for more extensive advice.
Check, clean and update air-conditioning. Maintenance is the key to a properly functioning HVAC system. This keeps your unit running efficiently so it will cool your home thoroughly and consumes less electricity. Change and/or clean air conditioning filters regularly (at least every three months) and more frequently if your system is on most of the year.
Increase the reflectivity of your windows. A quick update to curtains and shades can make a difference. Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes or shades with white or light backing, or cover the windows directly with protective films. Outdoor awnings or louvers can also reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent. If you don’t have shades, you can prepare temporary window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside when the sun hits those windows directly during particularly bright hours.
Check home openings. Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in, but be sure to allow the appropriate amount of air flow to prevent the formation of mold. Check that any fireplace damper handles work properly. Consult professionals to assist.
Clean your roof. Lighter color roofing material is best to prevent heat absorption. Mold, dirt and stains can blacken a roof. An easy way to lighten the color of your roof is to have it cleaned at least once per year.
Update light bulbs. Incandescent bulbs, now no longer manufactured, put out a lot of heat. Switching to updated compact fluorescents or LED lighting helps to lower the temperature in a room. Turning the lights off as much as possible helps even more!
Plant trees. The right tree planted in the right place can significantly lower the temperature inside a room. A tree can shade your house, the surrounding pavers and even the HVAC unit, resulting in lower temperatures and more efficient use of energy. Take advantage of one of our quarterly tree give-away events.
IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Meet your neighbors! You may need their help in the event of an emergency, and you should know who may need your help, including the elderly, young, or sick.
Be sure that your house numbers are complete and visible. This assists emergency personnel to locate you.
Get rid of asphalt and replace with native plantings. If you are on your neighborhood HOA board, or if you help with neighborhood maintenance, do whatever you can to encourage removal of unneeded paved surfaces.
Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature and air quality changes.
Get trained in first-aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.