Many of us living in Southern California either don’t have air conditioning or if we do, don’t run it very often because of the expense. However, during these extremely hot days, I feel lucky I have the option. However, I found myself on Friday and Saturday without an air conditioner. For whatever reason, the air-conditioner deity was not smiling down on us and our air conditioner just stopped working. Luckily, it started working later Saturday afternoon, but I spent a pretty miserable 24 hours feeling the heat as the temperature in the house rose to 87 degrees. While I’m hoping this won’t happen again, I’ve learned that when you live in a warm climate, hope is not a plan. So I wanted to learn better ways to cope in the heat and share them with the Patch readers.
First, fans are your friend. For most of you this may seem like a pretty obvious choice for air circulation, but since we have air conditioning we don’t have an adequate supply of fans at our house. I now know, just for these hot days, fans work to circulate the air and are much more economical to run. In addition, avoid heating up your oven, running the washer and dryer, and dishwasher. An afternoon without cooking, dishes and laundry not only keeps your house cooler, but gives you a great excuse to keep those not-so-fun chores on the back burner.
Use water to cool you down. For example, take a bucket of water and soak your feet or put a cool washcloth at the base of your neck. I remember as a child going out into the yard and running through a sprinkler on a hot day, which always felt good. Just remember the sun is the most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so be sure to use sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin.
Keep your hydration level high, especially children and senior populations. Avoid caffeine and alcohol on hot days because these are diuretics and can cause dehydration.
Since heat rises, try to stay on the main level of your home and turn off any unnecessary lights.
Also, don’t forget about your pets, they are hot, too. You should never leave your pets unattended on a hot day in the car or chained up when they don’t have access to shade and water.