As we enter August, which is typically the hottest month of the year, the heat is telling us that it is here to stay. At least in the Kansas City area, where we’re at, temperatures continue to stay in the 90’s, with the occasional dip into the high 80’s for some relief. These temperatures are causing excessive heat warnings, and with excessive heat comes hazardous health risks. Places with higher humidity have additional issues. High humidity slows the evaporation of the body’s sweat, and this causes our body to overheat, and could pose even more dangerous health risks if not monitored carefully. Finding a way to stay cool in the hot weather is imperative for health reasons, as well as overall comfort.
The vast majority of heat-related illnesses are preventable. Some basic tips to avoid heat-related illnesses include the following:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If A/C isn’t available in your home call a service company ASAP, or use a public facility. DO NOT RELY ON A FAN AS YOUR MAIN COOLING DEVICE DURING A HEAT WAVE.
- Limit outdoor activity, especially from the hours of 10AM-6PM.
- Drink more water than usual.
- Try not to use the stove or oven to cook, as it will make your house hotter.
- Check on a friend or neighbor, and have them do the same for you.
Hopefully the tips above aren’t a huge worry to you, as you have a dependable air conditioning system in your home. If you do then your focus should be on staying cool, which is the result of a well-functioning and well-maintained system. However, another focus should be on saving money with your air conditioning system. Running your A/C all day every day for 3+ months (as is necessary during the regular Kansas City summer) can prove to be expensive. Here are some tips on lowering your monthly electric costs:
- Use your windows to your advantage. Keep your windows well insulated, as this will keep out unwanted warm air. Also, during rare cool periods turn off your A/C
and open up your windows to cool your home.
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortable. An often recommended temperature is 78 degrees when you’re home, and 85 when you’re out of the house. You can save 3% – 5% on your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the thermostat in the summer.
- Install a programmable thermostat as an alternative to constantly monitoring and changing the thermostat yourself. Programmable thermostats allow you to be in absolute control of the temperature in your home, day and night, home or away, saving you money in the process.
- Keep your filters clean. Check your filters monthly, or as often as specified by the manufacturer. Replace filters when needed. Preventative maintenance is important to keep your equipment running efficiently.
- Consider installing an energy efficient air conditioner. New energy efficient A/C’s have several advantages over their predecessors, including a longer lifespan, lower energy bills monthly, and the use of environmentally-friendly refrigerant.