The dog days of summer are upon us, with high temperatures in Angelina County expected to remain in the low- to mid-90s for the next couple of weeks, according to Accuweather.com. When you combine that with our area’s typically high humidity, that makes life without air conditioning almost unbearable.
Perhaps more troubling is that Accuweather is issuing a heat advisory on an almost daily basis. A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are prime threats during heat waves, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Accuweather’s extended rainfall forecast for the next 60 days calls for continued hot and dry weather, with little chance for rain.
Earlier this summer, we encouraged everyone to be careful when it comes to the hot weather by making sure you are hydrated and out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Living in East Texas, we know we’re going to encounter some extreme heat every summer.
But today we’re bringing a different message: Use your air conditioner but suffer a little bit if you can for the sake of the state’s power grid. That means adjusting your thermostat to meet your needs. When no one is home, consider setting temperatures 7-10 degrees higher.
And on a related note, keep up with regular HVAC maintenance. Change the filter in your air conditioner once a month and have it inspected annually to identify any wear and tear that could cause performance issues.
Some other suggestions for using energy responsibly include:
■ Turn off all unnecessary lights and electronic equipment.
■ Close up during the day. Add extra insulation against the heat by closing blinds during the day. On cool nights, open up windows to let in the breeze.
■ Consider running large appliances, which put off heat, during the evening. Running them at night allows your air conditioner to work more efficiently during the day. And try not to use any appliances during the peak hours of 3-7 p.m.
■ Wash your laundry in cold water and always wash full loads. Manufacturers say between 75% and 90% of your washer’s energy use goes to heating water.
■ Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers unnecessarily.
■ Keep oven use to a minimum. Meal prepping and no-cook meals save time, require less energy usage throughout the week and keep your home cooler.
■ Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or late evening.
■ Seal doors, windows and other openings by replacing damaged or missing weather stripping. Also, you should add insulation anywhere your home could be losing energy, such as openings around pipes.
Cooler temperatures will be on the way at some point, but for the foreseeable future — at least through the end of September — Lufkin will keep baking each afternoon. Please do what you must to keep you and your family — and your elderly neighbors and friends — as comfortable as possible, but also do what you can to conserve energy. The last thing Texas needs is for the power grid to shut down because it can’t handle the heat.