How to Prepare for a Heatwave

hot sun in warm heat wave sky

As temperatures continue to set new records every year from the climate crisis, heatwaves occur more often and last longer, causing impacts around the globe that range from inconvenient discomfort to serious health risk and even death. Making changes to your home to prepare for a heatwave and help keep it cool can be as simple as replacing an AC filter all the way to upgrading a roof.

Here are a few of ways to preparing your home that can make dealing with heatwaves more comfortable and safer for you and your family.

Clean/Replace AC Filter

hands washing AC filter

One of the most common problems in AC’s is weak airflow due to a clogged AC filter because of dust build-up. Routinely cleaning and replacing your AC filter is important since apart from keeping the cool air flowing in your home, it also helps the air quality stay at a comfortable and safe level. Even if there aren’t any heatwaves on the horizon, you should clean your air filter at least once a month and replace it every three months.

Cover Up Any Air leaks

man caulking exterior window to stop air leaks

In order to keep your AC running efficiently and keeping the cool air in your home from escaping, seal up any air leaks around the house. Be sure to check window air conditioner gap openings, since this tends to be a commonplace for air leaks. To fix this weatherstrip the window, and while you’re at it weatherstrip or caulk all the other windows too. Apart from just windows, weatherstrip any doors that lead to the outside without forgetting the door bottoms. Another commonplace that a lot of people don’t realize is leaking cold air to the outside is the kitchen vent hood.

Consider Replacing or Fixing Rusty Pipes

rusty pipe

The plumbing system in your home can be affected severely by hot weather. According to Ryan Thompson from PlumbingInformer, “During warm weather, the pipes in your home can expand and even burst in the worse case scenarios. The last thing you want in a heatwave is an issue where you’re not getting any cold water due to broken and faulty pipes or low water pressure. Warm weather also leads to an increase in water usage and changes in the soil that cause stress to home plumbing systems. Replacing and fixing old rusty pipes in advance can save you a headache down the road and keep cool water running in your home.”

Add Window Coverings

bamboo window shades

As sunlight gets pointed directly at your home, you should add window coverings to reduce the heat that radiates from the sunlight which causes your home to warm up. Install shades or blinds to keep your home feeling cool and to prevent heat build-up. Cellular shades do a great job of providing insulation against the heat from sunlight. The windows where the sun is shining in their direction should have their curtains closed to better deal with the heat.

Make Changes To Your Roof

metallic reflective cool roof

While making any change to your roof isn’t exactly easy, if you live in an area where you get multiple heatwaves every year then adding a “cool roof” is well worth its cost. According to Manuel Soto, owner of a Milwaukee roofing company, “A cool roof in simple terms, reflects sunlight away from the roof which causes it to absorb less heat than what a normal roof would. Apart from keeping the house cool, cool roofs reduce AC bills due to less AC usage and decrease your roof temperature which helps the roof last longer.”

Stock Up on Essential Supplies

gatorade electrolyte drinks

Chances are you’ll be spending more time indoors if it’s dangerously hot outside which means you’ll be consuming more water and food. If you know a heatwave is on the way then you’ll want to account for this on your next trip to the grocery store. Since everyone will have similar thoughts consider doing this in advance. Make sure to stock up on plenty of water, food, and other healthy drinks that replace electrolytes lost due to sweating.

Other materials that you will want to have in your home are box fans. Instead of using them to try and keep yourself cool, use them to move hot air out of your home. “One place you want box fans in is definitely the attic. The attic tends to accumulate hot air, especially during heatwaves, which can lead to mold and can also cause roof damage,” Manuel mentions.

Preparing yourself and your home to deal with a heatwave takes time and knowledge. By taking the necessary steps to deal with heatwaves, it can keep you and your family comfortable and safe.