With the announcement that 2014 was the hottest year EVER on the planet (not just Australia), it’s time to give some thought to dealing with extreme heat. Hot temperatures cause a series of issues for everyone from the very young, to the very old. Even the first few days of January here in Melbourne reaching 39 degrees C, put people in hospital with heat exhaustion, caused drain on the power supply and set people on a mission to find somewhere cool to be for the day.
So with that in mind, and more extreme heat to come, here are a few tips to help keep you and your home cooler in the hot weather.
1. Shade your house as much as possible, especially the windows that get hit with direct sun. This will help minimise the heat build up in the home during the day. If you don’t have any shading, consider putting up something temporary for the day, it really helps.
2. If you’re in a fire prone area, be sure you have a fire plan ready to action. Extreme heat often comes with hot dry winds and extreme fire risk. You could even download the Fire Ready app to keep track of where local fires are and current warnings.
3. If your home is well insulated, close the house up while it is cool and keep internal window coverings closed. The insulation will help to keep the home cool for a period of time.
4. Use fans before turning on the air conditioner. And when you do use the air conditioner set it at 24 degrees and keep the fan on to assist with air movement. It has a cooling effect of up to 5 degrees extra!
5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and have a hydration product (for dehydration prevention) in the cupboard in case you need it.
6. If you have an elderly family member or friend, check on them regularly or invite them to your place for the day to help them to keep cool and ensure they don’t suffer a collapse from heat exhaustion.
7. Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and working before the hottest part of the day hits. This will ensure your communication with others if you need it.
We hope you’ll never have an issue, but with all the extreme heat we’ve been getting over the past few years, and more to come, it’s best to be prepared.
As an aside, The Smart Living Handbook has a handy Extreme Heat Healthy Home Checklist (from Healthy Interiors) in the Checklist section. If you’d like to find out more about the book click here.
So this summer try to keep cool, stay hydrated and shade your home and yourself as much as possible on those stinking hot days!