Now that the summer season in OKC is heading into the dog days, when temperatures rise to near-unbearable heights, we find ourselves looking into ways to keep cool. For most of us, dealing with the heat at some point is inevitable; whether it’s driving to work, walking the dogs or making that trip to the grocery store.
When you are confronted with dangerously high temperatures, it’s important to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Even in places where the heat is disguised as slight discomfort like the garage or a stuffy room, prolonged exposure can result in a variety of health problems. According to the CDC, every year on average, extreme heat causes 650 plus deaths in the U.S. That’s more than tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters combined.
The Interstate staff knows firsthand the dangers of a late summer in Oklahoma (especially our technicians) and have come up with some tips for surviving the last, long days of the season.
Outdoor Exercise – While it might seem obvious, altering your exercise routine to take advantage of cooler temperatures is essential. Early mornings or late evenings, avoiding the direct sunlight, will help keep your internal temperature at a healthy level while jogging or biking. If you can’t change your exercise schedule, consider scaling your workout back or joining a gym.
Clothing – Loose, cotton fabrics that are light in color are ideal for hot, muggy days. Rayon, linen and synthetic blends are all breathable fabrics – and great for dealing with the heat. Layering is also a good idea for those cold office situations where you are forced to go from one extreme temperature to another. Including a light jacket or long sleeve shirt in a tote bag will help keep you from freezing at work.
Hydrate – Staying hydrated is key in keeping healthy in the extreme heat. Keep a cooler in the car with water bottles and sports drinks light on sugar, but heavy on electrolytes. Consider stocking bottles of water in the freezer, so that you’re sure to have a cold supply of water throughout the day.
Heat Index – Keep an eye on the weather forecast, especially the NOAA heat alerts that are based on Heat Index Values. This takes into account how it will feel when the relative humidity is factored in with the air temperature. Be mindful of heat advisories, which should be taken into consideration before planning any outdoor activities.
Wear Sunscreen – Keeping your skin protected from the sun (and hydrated) is extremely important – even if lotion won’t help to keep you cool. If you are planning on being outside for an extended period of time, make sure that you use at least an SPF 30. In the office or inside for the majority of the day? Apply an SPF 15 for short trips in the car or any sun-related outings. The summer sun is sneaky and can damage the skin with very little (incidental) exposure. Make sure that the lotion you use covers both UVA and UVB rays.
Limit Time – If you need to be in the garage for more than a few minutes during the day, try to limit your time to early morning or evening. Extended projects are best left to the spring or fall – especially organizational projects that would require a lot of physical exertion.
Air Circulation – It is important that there is air circulation in the garage when you are inside. If there are windows, open them and make sure that the air is circulating. Placing a box fan in the window, facing outside, will help draw out all the hot air. If you don’t have any windows, make sure that the outside door is open and an oscillating fan is placed on the other side of them room.
Garage Doors – A smart way to keep the garage cool during the summer is to paint the doors a light color. Light colors reflect heat, so keeping the color palette white, off-white or cream will go a long way in helping to cool the space. If you own a detached garage, painting the entire exterior in a light color (and adding a light-colored roof) will also aid in keeping it cool.
Weather Stripping – The wind in Oklahoma offers little relief in the summer – and can make your garage even hotter if there are cracks or openings that allow for the warm air to enter. Adding weather stripping to your garage doors to seal the gap between the door and floor will help keep out the hot wind/air. Self-adhesive weather stripping is easy to apply and is helpful insulation throughout the year.
Window Unit – If you are someone who uses the garage for car repairs, carpentry or other projects, you might consider installing an AC window unit. If there are no windows, a ductless mini split might also be an option – and most offer both cooling and heating. Spending prolonged periods of time in a hot garage will take a toll on your health, so conditioning the air is essential if you use it as a workshop or creative space.
When keeping cool the next couple of months, remember that Interstate is your first, best resource for A/C-related needs. If you do decide you want a window unit for your garage or need repairs on your central air system, give us a call today at 405-794-8900 and we’ll get the air flowing in record time! Enjoy the rest of your summer – and stay cool!
For information or assistance with HVAC efficiency, give Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 405-794-8900.
Don’t forget to schedule your air conditioning tune-up for summer! Schedule service online or give us a call!