We've been talking home cooling on Facebook and Twitter this week, and this topic is even more timely as dangerous heat envelops much of the United States. Many states are under Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories as a "heat dome" forms over the central part of the country. Extreme heat can be dangerous, and we hope you're preparing yourself to be safe, healthy, and comfortable.
Ready.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have some great tips for preparing for the heat, staying safe and healthy, and understanding heat-related illnesses. Many of the tips for preparing for the heat are the same as those we share here on Energy Saver—they can improve the efficiency and comfort of your home AND help keep you safe and healthy during a heat wave.
- Air seal to reduce the amount of hot air leaking into your home. Follow our how-to guides for weatherstripping and caulking.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers
- Keep storm windows up all year. Here's how to install exterior storm windows.
- Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
- Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
- Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible during the heat.
- Avoid cooking when it's hot outside; prepare cool, light meals instead.
- Avoid hot showers; cool showers or baths will keep your body temperature down and avoid adding heat to your home.
- Avoid running appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers, and clothes dryers during the heat of the day. All of these will add heat to your home. Run them at night instead, and dry your clothes outside if you're able.
- Stay inside as much as possible, and consider visiting public buildings such as libraries if you don't have air conditioning in your home.
- Keep your body cool by drinking plenty of water (even when you're not thirsty) and using fans. (Note that fans won't prevent heat-related illness, so take other measures to cool your body as well!)
Check on neighbors, friends, and family to ensure they are staying cool, especially if they don't have home cooling systems or spend a lot of time alone. Also be sure your pets are cool and have plenty of water. Stay safe, take care of yourselves, and take care of each other—cooler days are ahead!