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Beat the Summer heat!

The Summer season of 2012 has arrived and brought with it the first heat wave of the year.    Summer officially arrived on Wednesday, the 20th of June, and with 35 of the 50 states experiencing over 90 degree temperatures during the last few days, people are looking for ways to stay cool and escape the effects of the scorching heat.  Below are some tips on how to stay cool:

  1. Clean or replace the filter in room and central air conditioners about once a month during the summer. If you have central air-conditioning, have the ducts checked for leaks, which can reduce a system’s efficiency by as much as 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Seal any cracks between a window unit and the frame with peel-able caulking or a sealant strip. These steps help ensure good airflow and keep the coils cleaner, which mean more efficient and more effective cooling.
  2. Close your fireplace damper.  While running any kind of air conditioner, shut your fireplace damper. An open one pulls hot air into your house instead of sucking it out.
  3. Close windows and doors.  Whether the air conditioner is on or off, keep windows and doors shut if the temperature outside is more than 77 degrees Fahrenheit (most people start to sweat at 78 degrees). Whenever the outside air is hotter than the inside air, opening a window invites heat to creep in.
  4. Use fans effectively. If the day’s heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night, or when the temperature drops below 77.  A window fan can help; the trick is to face the blades outside to suck warm air out of the house and pull cooler air in.
  5. Run a fan and an air conditioner simultaneously. You can use the air conditioner at lower power and still feel cool if the fan is blowing over you. That is because the air conditioner removes humidity from the air while the fan helps evaporate sweat and moves heat away from your body. (Note: Fans do not cool a room; they just make people feel cooler, so shut them off before you leave.)
  6. Turn on the vent in the bathroom. When taking a shower, be sure to use the vent fan: It helps sticky moisture escape.
  7. Power down your computer.  Set it to go into low-power “sleep” mode if you are away from it for more than 10 minutes and it will give off less heat. When you are finished for the day, shut the machine down completely. Despite what some IT guy may have told you years ago, properly shutting down and restarting modern-day computers will not put undue strain on the hardware. In addition, forget about working with a computer on your lap―it’s too darn hot.
  8. Skip the drying cycle on the dishwasher. Instead, leave the door open to let the dishes dry. In addition, put off using the dishwasher until evening, when the air is cooler. Alternatively, simply wash your dishes the old-fashioned way: by hand.
  9. Dress right. Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat and that sticky feeling (examples include Coolmax and Nano-Tex); they are not just for athletes anymore. If you prefer cotton, make it thin, light colored, and, most of all, loose.
  10. Remove your shoes. As the sweat on your feet evaporates, it cools the skin and the blood in your feet. Blood vessels then whisk that blood to other parts of the body.
  11. Spice it up. As people who live in scorching climates, such as those of Mexico and India, know well, eating hot stuff can cool you down.  Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that helps us to perspire more readily, when this sweat evaporates, you experience brief relief.
  12. Hydrate. To replace the moisture that you lose as you perspire, be sure to drink. As you lose water to dehydration, your body temperature rises, so replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating.
  13. Eat light. There is a reason we reach for salads in the summer. They are easier to digest than, say, a fatty hamburger, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are watery and help keep you hydrated (and cooler).
  14. Give your oven a summer vacation. If you cook, use the stovetop, the microwave, or a barbecue.
  15. Turn off unused lights. Alternatively, change the bulbs: Long-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs produce about 70 percent less heat than standard incandescent.
  16. Give the clothes dryer a break, too. Hang a clothesline and let your towels and sheets flap in the breeze.  Clothes dryers use large amounts of power and radiate a lot of heat inside the house.

Maronda Homes signature concrete block homesOf course, a great way to beat the summer heat is to buy a brand new concrete block home built by Maronda Homes.  These homes are built to meet or exceed the new, more stringent, Florida Energy Code, and Maronda Homes is an “energy star partner” builder.  In addition to providing energy savings, these methods and products provide a more comfortable living environment due to the ability to keep the home at a lower temperature without breaking the family budget.

Maronda Homes block homes provide thermal massOne of the most significant benefits of a concrete block home is that this material provides a “thermal mass”.  Thermal mass is a concept in building design that describes how the mass of the building provides “inertia” against temperature fluctuations, sometimes known as the thermal flywheel effect. For example, when outside temperatures are fluctuating throughout the day, a large thermal mass within the insulated portion of a house can serve to “flatten out” the daily temperature fluctuations, since the thermal mass will absorb thermal energy when the surroundings are higher in temperature than the mass, and give thermal energy back when the surroundings are cooler, without reaching thermal equilibrium.

Block homes offer cooler interior than frame homesThis is distinct from a material’s insulative value, which reduces a building’s thermal conductivity, allowing it to be heated or cooled relatively separate from the outside, or even just retain the occupants’ thermal energy longer.  This is one of the main advantages of block construction over frame construction.  Even though they both meet the required energy code for insulation values, frame construction falls short in providing this additional energy retention benefit.

If you would like to find out more about these homes and how they can help keep you cool this summer, visit online today.  Maronda Homes has great communities all over the North Florida and South Georgia area.

About Jim Marshall

Jim is a construction professional who has been involved in the new home building industry for over 30 years. He is a Certified General Contractor and Certified Home Inspector, and was associated with Maronda Homes for 16 years before embarking on new adventures in the Jacksonvile area in Florida.

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