Summer is in full swing, and it brought the usual sweltering temperatures along with it. Living in the Upstate, you’ve probably already noticed that temperatures are on the warm side of average this year.

It’s fine to get out there and enjoy the sunshine, but it’s important to make smart decisions — extreme heat can quickly make a stricken person turn ill, and is even the leading cause of weather-related death. As we march toward autumn, observe these safety tips to stay healthy and cool this summer.

Maintain your air conditioner.

If you didn’t schedule a tune-up before the beginning of summer, it’s better late than never. Proactive service will help you avoid sudden breakdowns and catch small problems before they turn into big ones. Annual maintenance can help you control your energy bills by keeping your unit running at peak efficiency. It can even help extend the lifespan of your equipment! Call your HVAC service provider for an annual tuneup to reap these benefits.

Check local weather reports daily.

Any time there is a heat advisory, make a point of limiting your time outdoors and taking extra precautions when you do venture out into the heat.

Make a power outage plan.

If your air conditioning is out, temperatures in your home can reach dangerous levels during the heat of the day. Make a list of climate-controlled places you can go when you need relief, such as shopping malls, libraries or even emergency shelters. Consider making a staycation out of it if you can find a local hotel where the power is still on.

Drink plenty of water.

When summer heat makes you sweat, you have to drink more than usual to stay cool and replace those fluids. Just because you’re not thirsty doesn’t mean it’s safe to stop hydrating.

Dress for the weather.

Shorts, skirts, short sleeves and loose fitting clothing will all help you stay cool, but even more important is that you wear lighter colors more than dark colors, which absorb heat. When you expose more skin during your summer outdoors time, be sure to wear sunblock and reapply it regularly.

Care for your pets.

Make sure they have access to fresh drinking water and shade at all times. If your pets usually stay outdoors during the day, consider bringing them inside when temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Never leave any living being in a hot car.

Children, pets and everyone else must exit the vehicle after it has been turned off. Cracking the windows won’t make it safe; even a couple of minutes in a hot car can present a serious health risk.

Learn the signs of heat-related illness.

Know what to do or who to call if someone around you succumbs to the heat. You can read up on heat-related conditions, symptoms and treatments on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website.
Don’t take any chances with your hydration, your air conditioner or your health. Stay cool, drink up and call in the home comfort experts if you need emergency repairs or are overdue for routine maintenance.