Very high humidity is expected to accompany the extreme heat this week, and that moisture—combined with the high temperatures—will create what's known as a "heat dome". Those conditions could be dangerous. Forecasters say the heat index, which measures what the temperature really feels like when you add in the humidity (the summer equivalent of the winter wind chill) will likely reach the dangerous category, increasing the risks of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and death (source: CNN). Read more about it here.
Air Conditioners are designed to keep your home 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature and are sized based on regional summer temperatures. The extreme heat will cause your air conditioner to run continuous and it may only be able to cool your house down to 78-80 degrees during the hottest time of the day depending on the level of attic insulation and the quality of your windows and doors.
Here's what you can do to help stay cool:
- Turn your thermostat down to the desired temperature and leave it on until the heat wave is over.
- If you have a thermostat programmed to shut off or raise the temperature while your away, we strongly suggest you bypass that setting and leave your A/C on your desired temperature.
- Change your filter! A new clean filter will help tremendously.
- Make sure your outside air conditioner has room to breathe and is clear from bushes, shrubs, etc., on all sides.
- Take a hose and gently rinse the outside of the air conditioner to remove any dust and debris. This will help better cool your home.
- Close all windows, blinds, drapes, and doors in the entire home leading to the lower level.
Extreme Heat Tips from Ready.gov:
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
- Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
- Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available. Close all blinds, drapes, and doors to keep the sun out.
- Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy, or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
For more tips on extreme heat preparedness, visit: https://www.ready.gov/heat