How to Survive a Heat Wave

By Lyle Weischwill | Jul. 29, 2023 11:36 am PST

The heat wave of 2023 has been brutal and devastating to many Americans. Temperatures above 100 degrees plague much of the country.

These practical tips will help you survive in the short term and thrive over time as we seemingly acclimate to a new norm – HOT!

Short-Term Strategies for Surviving the Heat Wave

Staying cool during a heat wave is challenging – especially if you encounter rolling blackouts or power outages during this most inopportune time.

Follow this common-sense advice for staying cool during the hottest summer ever.

Stay Hydrated

Getting dehydrated during hot weather can lead to health catastrophes. Staying hydrated during a heat wave is essential to surviving. Drink the recommended amount of water for your body type and health conditions. A common rule of thumb is to drink about 8 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated but the specific amount you need to drink can vary. Follow your doctor’s recommendations or the advice of experts to maintain a healthy level of hydration.

Take Care of Your Air Conditioner

It’s difficult to survive a severe heat wave without adequate air conditioning. Make sure that you’re replacing the air filter regularly. During a hot summer when the unit runs almost constantly during the day, you may need to replace the air filter more often – every 2 weeks instead of monthly. Also, check your cooling system to look for problems. Make sure that condensate is draining properly. or you could face a sudden cooling outage.

View this popular DIY video to learn more about how to prevent an unnecessary air conditioner failure because of a clogged condensate drain line:

If you didn’t have your AC checked and tuned up in the spring, schedule HVAC maintenance now. A Sears Technician will visit your home and check and tune up your cooling system.

Here’s what Sears HVAC experts do during a comprehensive HVAC maintenance check:

  • Check thermostat settings and review the settings with you.
  • Check electrical connections. This can help prevent unexpected breakdowns during the hot summer months.
  • Make sure the system controls and safety circuits work properly.
  • Lubricate the blower motor.
  • Check the central air conditioner condenser coil and clean it, if appropriate.
  • Check the evaporator for adequate air flow.

The technician will advise you of any repairs needed to keep your AC system working smoothly.

Stay Indoors as Much as Possible During the Afternoon

Limiting outdoor activities to morning and evening hours will help you avoid heat stroke. If you are outdoors during the afternoon, stay as cool as possible by dressing appropriately using a misting fan to cool down the surrounding outside air.

Long-Term Strategies for Dealing with Hot Weather

Plan ahead for hot summer weather by scheduling an AC system tune up every spring. Keeping your cooling system in top shape will help prevent breakdowns and your AC will cool efficiently during the hot months ahead.

Here are some additional long-term tips to help you deal with hot weather.

Stay Healthy

Your health condition can play a role in whether you’re able to cool off enough in very hot weather. Maintain a healthy weight and stay hydrated all year long so that your body will be able to handle hot conditions during the summer.

Plan Trips and Vacations in Cooler Climates during Summer Months

Look for cool places to visit during the summer so you can avoid hot weather. Take trips lakes and beaches to cool off in water. Take a vacation in the mountains or northern climates with lower summer temperatures.

Image of shade trees around a house

Plant Trees in Your Yard to Provide More Shade

Shade trees provide several benefits that can help you stay cool in hot weather. Here’s how they help:

  • Reduced sun exposure. Shade trees create a shaded area underneath their canopy, blocking direct sunlight from reaching the ground. This reduces the amount of solar radiation and heat that would otherwise hit you directly, helping to keep you cooler.
  • Evapotranspiration. Trees release water vapor through a process called transpiration. This natural cooling mechanism cools the surrounding air as water evaporates from the leaves. As a result, the air around the tree and the shaded area becomes cooler.
  • Reduced heat absorption. Trees can absorb a significant amount of heat energy, especially compared to surfaces like concrete or asphalt. When the sun’s rays hit these surfaces, they can become very hot and radiate heat. Shade trees prevent such surfaces from getting excessively hot, thus maintaining cooler surroundings.
  • Shade for your home. Shade trees positioned strategically near your house can help keep the indoor spaces cooler. They reduce the amount of solar heat that enters through windows and walls, easing the load on your AC system.

Overall, shade trees play a crucial role in moderating temperatures and creating a more comfortable and cooler environment, which is especially important during hot weather conditions.

Image of a whole house backup generator

Install a Whole-Home Back-Up Generator

Power outages and brown-outs can occur frequently during extremely hot weather. You can insulate your home from utility power problems by installing a whole-home back-up generator.

A back-up generator will keep your AC unit running during a summer black-out or brown-out. A transfer switch will automatically start the generator and keep your home supplied with electricity when utility power problems occur.

Plan ahead and keep your family safe and comfortable by starting the back-up generator installation process now.

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