A heat wave is a period of unusually hot weather (meaning it has temperatures outside the historical averages for a given area) that typically lasts for two or more days. Although some people may see them as a fun opportunity to bust out the water balloons and soak in some extra sun, heat waves are an extreme weather phenomenon, which can be very dangerous.
In today’s post, we’re taking a look at how to stay cool in New York this summer. Read on to learn more, and if you want to make sure your air conditioner is prepared to beat the heat, then contact Blueox Energy for expert air conditioning maintenance and repair today!
New York’s History of Heat
New York state has a long history of heat waves. 2010, 2006, and 1972 all saw particularly extreme temperatures, but one of the worst heat waves of all time happened all the way back in 1896.
For 11 days straight, the entire state was gripped by temperatures above 90 degrees and 90% humidity. It did not cool off at night and there was no breeze. Cities had fire hydrants opened in the streets to cool people down, and future president Theodore Roosevelt personally distributed free ice from local police stations. In the end, the 1896 Eastern North American heat wave killed more people than the New York City Draft Riots and the Great Chicago Fire combined.
Although the 1896 heat wave was particularly brutal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that extreme heat kills more people every year than any other weather hazard. With that in mind, it pays to be prepared!
If you find yourself caught in a New York heat wave this summer, remember to:
Keep Your Body Cool
In extreme heat, evaporation takes longer, and the body has to sweat and work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Overworking your body under these conditions can quickly lead to death. Seniors, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk for heat illness.
To keep your body as cool as possible, make sure to:
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
- Stay hydrated — you’ll be sweating more than usual, so you’ll need to drink more water than usual
- Avoid high-protein foods — they can increase your body’s heat production
- Avoid strenuous labor
- Stay indoors or in the shade
- Don’t use electric fans in temperatures above 95 degrees — according to the CDC, fans create airflow and a false sense of comfort without reducing body temperature
- Find working air conditioning — whether in your home, a public library, a mall, or somewhere else in your community
Keep Your Home Cool
There are some steps you can take to make sure your home stays as cool as possible during extreme heat. To prepare your home to withstand higher temperatures, you can:
- Draw your curtains — cover your windows with curtains or blinds to keep the hot sunlight out
- Add weather stripping to doors and windows
- Use window reflectors — you can put aluminum foil in your windows to reflect heat back outside
- Use attic fans to draw hot air up and out
- Use your air conditioner — make sure to schedule routine air conditioner servicing to keep it operating at peak capacity
Watch For Heat Illness
Make sure that you understand the signs of heat-related illness and know how to respond to each.
Heat cramps are characterized by muscle pains or spasms in the arms, legs, or stomach. To recover, head for a cooler location, remove excess clothing, and take sips of cool sports drinks. If cramps persist for longer than an hour, seek medical attention.
Heat exhaustion is characterized by heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea, and dizziness. To recover, find an air-conditioned location, remove excess clothing, and lie down. Take sips of cool sports drinks. You can also take a cold bath or shower. If symptoms persist for longer than an hour, seek medical attention.
Heat stroke is characterized by extremely high body temperature (typically above 103 degrees), rapid pulse, dizziness, confusion, and unconsciousness. If your skin is red, hot, and dry, and you’ve stopped sweating, call 911 immediately and cool down by whatever means possible until help arrives.
Can Your Air Conditioner Beat the Heat?
If you want to make sure that your air conditioner is prepared to keep you cool this summer, then call our heating and cooling experts at Blueox Energy in Oxford today. Our team of highly trained HVAC system technicians have been providing air conditioning installation and air conditioning repair to communities throughout New York state for years, and we’re ready to get your home prepared for summer.
Make sure you stay cool all season long, no matter the temperatures outside. Contact us to schedule your air conditioner service today!