Once your heat wave emergency kit is ready in case the power goes out, it’s time to consider the environmental factors of your home. Maintain your systems and insulate for maximum heat wave survivability.
Start With the Cooling
Most homes in temperate climates have air conditioning, evaporative (swamp) coolers, or fans at the ready for those hot summer days. All are great options for use in a heat wave if you still have power. If you have the storage space, it’s a good idea to own one fan per room, even if you have air conditioning. Keep your thermostat set to 78°F to keep cool without overburdening the power grid. If you have an HVAC system, get it checked at least once a year. (And remember to pay those bills on time!)
If your household includes at-risk individuals who would be unable to travel to cooling centers in the event of a power outage or you have in-home medical equipment reliant on continuous power, invest in a backup generator.
Weather-Proof Your Home
We don’t actually need A/C to keep cool! Insulating your home against the heat is a great way to cut down on cooling bills and reduce energy usage, while keeping indoor temperatures manageable.
- Weather-strip doors and windows to keep the heat out
- Cover windows with drapes or sheets (or
consider window reflectors)
- Make sure your home is properly insulated in other areas (e.g., air conditioning ducts that run through an uninsulated attic may need dedicated insulation to ensure cooling efficiency)
Insulated houses are more energy efficient in all seasons, and will keep you cooler in the event of a heat induced power outage. Replacing single pane windows with double pane windows or consulting a contractor about other ways to improve insulation are great ways to proactively prepare for bad weather on either end of the temperature spectrum.
Keep Your Supplies Nearby
If you read through the heat wave emergency kit and mentally ticked off all the things you knew you already have, but didn’t gather them together in one place for dedicated use during an emergency, stop reading now and gather them up! There’s no telling how long a heat wave will last, and if the power or water systems go down, you might find yourself in a jam. Make sure your entire household knows where the emergency supplies are and be prepared to get creative as you wait out the heat.