Tips from the National Weather Service and Allegheny Power on what to do when a heat wave strikes.
For your body:
- Drink more nonalcoholic, noncarbonated, caffeine-free beverages such as water and juice.
- Wear clothing that is light in color and loose fitting.
- Avoid the outdoors during extreme heat.
- Stay out of the sun.
- Stay in an air-conditioned environment if possible. Shopping malls offer relief if your home is not air-conditioned.
- Check on the elderly. They are especially susceptible to heat-related illness.
- Eliminate strenuous activity such as running, biking and lawn care work.
- Eat less foods, such as proteins, that increase metabolic activity/heat. Increased metabolic heat increases water loss.
- Keep window shades, blinds and draperies closed on the sunny side of the house.
- Keep lamps, television sets, and other heat-producing appliances away from air-conditioner thermostats.
- Schedule activities that produce heat and humidity, such as showering or laundry, for the early morning or late evening when outdoor temperatures are generally lower. Avoid doing only partial loads in dishwashers and clothes washers.
- Use the microwave rather than the conventional range for cooking.
- Lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees, vent the clothes dryer to the outside, and close fireplace dampers to prevent loss of cooled air.
- Use devices such as awnings, overhangs and sunscreens to shade windows from the sun.
- Plant shade trees on the south, east and west sides of the house to provide shade. Plantings also will cool the air as moisture evaporates from the leaves.
- Use light colors to reflect solar heat. Keep this in mind when selecting shingles for the roof or paint for outside walls.
- Install the proper amounts of insulation in your home, and caulk and weather-strip doors and windows. It's just as important to keep heat outdoors during the summer as it is to keep it indoors during the winter.
- Control humidity levels by using kitchen exhaust fans when cooking and bathroom exhaust fans when showering or bathing. Turn off exhaust fans after humidity is cleared to avoid venting cold air.
- Increase attic ventilation. The attic temperature should never exceed 130 degrees. Consider a power ventilator if you are unable to provide enough natural ventilation.
For the air conditioner: