Posts Tagged ‘heat wave’

Bills on the Rise? Freezing, Overheating? Take a Clue from Survival on the High Seas

February 28, 2014

Nobody wants to hear about rising energy costs. For utility customers in New York, prices have going up this winter. Some of it was an accounting error, but increased demand for Natural Gas due to the swerving polar vortex helped.
Propane costs have gone up too, article from Kansas Cityreferences pricing as high as $5 a gallon. ship at seaAll of this reminds me of the days when crude oil prices were all over the proverbial road, never mind a little swerving polar vortex.
It’s not just about heating and cold winters. California is experiencing a lack of winter which sounds kind of nice coming from the Northeast. They are also seeing a drought and I’d expect a long hot summer which means an expensive cooling season ahead.
We can’t control fuel prices, but we can take control of our homes. There’s a great thing in being able to “weather the storm”. In our homes, that means comfort, but also peace of mind that we are protected from the elements. Integrating resilience, in our homes is as simple as insulating a home well and air sealing it properly. It is like preparing for a long voyage across the sea, and helps when weather or high fuel costs hit us broadside. Batten down the hatches!

Thanks,
Jason

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ivan_Aivazovsky_-_Ship_in_the_Stormy_Sea.jpg

Keeping Cool: More than Comfort, In Crisis

July 2, 2013

Summer is in full effect and with it comes the heat!  The CDC has some great tips to help us get through this safely.

Bus ad

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as possible.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Do not leave children or pets in cars.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.

It’s no accident that air conditioning is at the top of the list.  It is the number one line of defense against the heat.   By all means get outside and enjoy the season, but make sure you have a safe place to retreat to when it gets too hot.

Keeping the AC in your home in good working order is more than a matter of comfort, it’s about safety!

Thanks,

Jason

Staying cool and saving during the monster heat wave

July 21, 2011

The incredible heat wave continues across the Midwest and the East Coast.  To temperatures pushing—or passing—100 degrees, add stifling humidity the bump the heat index over 120 in some places.  In this case, it’s the heat AND the humidity.

While our friends down in Houston are used to this, and they’ve got the air-conditioning to deal with it.  This is beyond what many people and homes and buildings in the East and Midwest are prepared for.  And the heat can be deadly. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to talk about what you can do.

We often providing cooling tips, and they’re worth revisiting.  But let’s hit a couple of important reminders for you and your home to help get through this.

Keeping your person cool

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic, and without caffeine), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you get thirsty to drink. Warning:  if your doctor has you limiting fluids or reducing water, check in with her to find your specific recommendation.  Remember, if you’re sweating a lot, you need to replace electrolytes, too.  I like a diluted sports drink (otherwise they can be too sweet).
  • If possible, stay indoors in an air-conditioned space.  If you don’t have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–or the time-honored tradition of going to a movie theater.  Might be a good reason to go so Harry Potter again!  Some locals might have heat-relief shelters.  Check with your local health department.
  • Go swimming in a cool pool.  Take a cold shower or a cold bath.  (Not a hot shower or hot bath!)  Cooler water can be an excellent way to cool down your body temperature.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • If you’re going to be outside, try to do it early in the day or late in the evening when it’s generally cooler.  Try to avoid heavy exercise in the heat.

The Centers for Disease Control has a helpful Extreme Heat guide the offers additional details and advice.

Keeping your home cool

  • According to CDC, air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death.  Room air-conditioners can help.  And installing a central AC unit is usually done in a day.
  • Keep the heat out!  During the day, if it’s cooler inside than outside, keep windows shut.  And keep window shades down to block out direct sunlight.  Open the windows at night if it’s cooler outside than in. 
  • Fans to the outside—blowing in either direction—can help if it is cooler outside than inside.  But they’re counterproductive if it’s hotter outside.  Ceiling fans (and other fans) help you stay comfortable—but only while you’re in the room.  The fan motors actually generate heat, so turn them off when you’re not there.

Finally, children, the elderly, and the sick, are especially susceptible to heat.  Keep a close eye on them. 

Of course, contact us if you’d like more permanent, energy-efficient solutions.  But in the meantime, be safe, and stay cool.

Mike

Keeping Cool

June 8, 2011

 There’s been a Heat wave across parts of the country, wild fires blazing and the season has just begun! So I thought it would be good to build on the tips Mike mentioned last week.  Here are a few things you can look at to keep your cool as we head into summer: 

  1. Keep the heat out!  During the day, if it’s cooler inside than outside, keep windows shut.  And keep window shades down to block out direct sunlight.  Open the windows at night if it’s cooler outside than in.  Solar shades can help. 
  2. Ceiling fans (and other fans) help you stay comfortable—but only while you’re in the room.  The fan motors actually generate heat, so turn them off when you’re not there.
  3. Use a bath fan vented to the outside to remove the heat and moisture created by showering.  If you don’t have a bath fan, have one installed its useful for many reasons.
  4. Mike recently talked about keeping cool in the kitchen; use an exhaust fan to remove heat and moisture created by cooking.  This has the added benefit of removing pollutants, especially if you cook with gas.
  5. Use efficient lighting and appliances.  Incandescent and halogen lights actually use most of their energy creating heat instead of light.  Not only does this means you’re overpaying for lighting, but in the summer you’re creating a lot of unwanted heat in the rooms you’re trying to keep cool.  Compact florescent light bulbs are good LED’s are even better.  
  6. Do you have a forced air heating or cooling system? If so, make sure to seal and insulate the ductwork in attics and crawl spaces.  As much as 30% of the air you cool can escape outside through leaky ducts.
  7. Insulate and air-seal your attic.  In the summer, temperatures in the attic often climb to more than 140o.    Proper insulation can keep this heat from conducting down into your home, but first…  Remember that your insulation only works if air isn’t moving through it.  Seal around chimneys, flues, plumbing penetrations, and recessed lighting, for example.   See our earlier post Insulate to Stay Cool .
  8. As we mentioned recently with a central air-conditioner it’s important to keep it tuned up—EPA and DOE recommending maintenance every year.   If it’s more than 10 years old, consider replacing with a high-efficiency unit, one that at least qualifies for ENERGY STAR.  If you buying a window air-conditioner or dehumidifier, look for the ENERGY STAR, too. 
  9. Planting deciduous trees on the south and west sides of a house can help keep your home cool in the summer.  In many parts of the country, maples, oaks, and birches are good trees to consider.  Because they drop their leaves in the fall, they let sunlight through to help warm your house in the winter.  Landscaping is about more than looks! 
  10. New low-e windows with a low “solar heat gain coefficient” (SHGC) can block the heat from the sun but may be a costly measure if that’s the only reason you’re replacing them.

To really find the trouble spots in your home, and to be sure that they’re addressed properly, get a comprehensive home assessment.  GreenHomes America can provide this, and GreenHomes trained and certified crews can even install your improvements.

And remember that after a home is tightened up, combustion equipment like furnaces and water heaters should be tested to make sure they’re running safely and efficiently.  GreenHomes does this testing on every project it completes.

Keeping cool during the East Coast heat wave

July 6, 2010

Boston, New York, DC are sweltering.  Hot and humid, most of the East Coast is in the middle of a heat wave—and it’s supposed to get worse as the week progresses.  Add the high humidity, and a lot of people are going to be uncomfortable.  While there are great long-term solutions, here are some things you can do now to help stay cool.

Keep the heat out of your house.

  • Pull shades/draw curtains to block the sun during the day.  Much of the summer temperature gain in a home comes through the windows in the form of sunlight.
  • During the day, use window or exhaust fans when it is cooler outside than inside.  Don’t use them when it’s hotter outside—that just helps pull more warm air into the house.  Likewise, keep windows closed if it’s cooler inside than it is outside.
  • Avoid cooking, baking, boiling water.
  • Use exhaust fans when showering and cooking to immediately remove excess heat and humidity.
  • Keep lights and electronics off when you’re not using them—they generate heat.  In particular, try to avoid halogen or incandescent lights which are like mini heaters throughout your home.

Cool off your home at night.

  • If/when it cools off at night, open the windows, and exhaust as much air as possible, drawing in cooler in.

Keep yourself cool.

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Use a fan to circulate air in the room you’re in.  (Unless you’re pulling in cooler outside air, turn the fan off when you leave the room—it cools you, not the room, and the fan motor actually generates heat.
  • Eat small meals—and cold ones.
  • Jump in the pool, hit the beach, cool yourself off.
  • When you’re outside, stay in the shade, avoid the sun.
  • If you don’t have AC, and the temperature in your home stays above 80 degrees, try to at least spend part of the day someplace cooler.  At the mall, at the movie theater, in a deep cave.  (And check your neighbors to make sure they’re OK, too.)

There are plenty of longer term solutions—from sealing and insulating your attic, swapping to efficient lighting, sealing duct work, using high-efficiency AC equipment, planting trees to help shade the house.  GreenHomes can help you with most of these.  But in the meantime, stay cool, and stay safe.

Thanks,
Mike


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,067 other followers

%d bloggers like this: