9 Things You Should Know About Keeping Cool In Arizona
Air conditioning in the desert southwest is not a luxury item, but rather a much needed necessity. When the heat soars to 110 degrees or more, keeping cool can be a life or death situation. Believe it or not, people survived in the Phoenix area without air conditioning for years, but the advent of the modern AC unit saw the population triple instantly. In fact, Phoenix is officially the hottest city in the United States, yet is still the 6th largest for population. People like it hot as long as they can have their air conditioning so using your unit efficiently becomes even more important.
1. Daylight Savings Time: Arizona participated in Daylight Savings time during the summer of 1966, and soon realized what a bad idea it was for their state. While having extra hours of sunlight helps the rest of the country save money on utilities, people in Arizona were required to run their air conditioners longer and harder. The state has opted out ever since.
2. Siesta: While the idea of having a nap in the afternoon seems silly, staying indoors during the heat of the day makes sense. In fact, it is quite common for families to be at the park after 8 p.m. once the sun has gone down. The popular Phoenix Zoo even opens at 6 a.m. in the summer to let patrons visit before the heat of the day arrives.
3. Awnings: In many parts of the country, awnings over windows are dated. In Arizona, however, awnings are still popular as they can block out much of the sun's rays. When the sun streams directly into a home, it can heat up the interior and cause the AC unit to work harder than necessary.
4. Keep It Clean: Dust and debris blow around a lot in Arizona. Keeping your air conditioning unit clean is of vital importance to its overall health and life expectancy. Everything from leaves and grass to tumbleweeds and dust can block your unit's air flow, causing it to work harder than necessary.
5. Heat Island: The desert southwest experiences a phenomenon called a 'heat island'. This is when an area is hotter than the surrounding environment due to excessive amounts of pavement, cement, and other man-made materials as well as a lack of shade-providing vegetation. To avoid this problem and help your air conditioning perform at its best, plant plenty of drought-resistant trees around your home and keep backyard paving products to a minimum.
6. Block It Out: While homes in the north may pull open the blinds to let in as much light as possible, blinds in Arizona are generally shut tight. It may make interiors dark, but seasoned Arizonians know that it helps a home stay cool.
7. Sun Screens: Another feature that is unique to southwestern states is the sun screen. The more common window screens used in the rest of the country are designed to keep out bugs, but sun screens are meant to keep out the sun. Made from a thicker screening material that helps block the sun's UV rays, sun screens keep the heat at bay.
8. Ceiling Fans: Another way to help your air conditioner act as efficient as possible is to install ceiling fans in your home and let them circulate the cool air. This not only helps your unit perform, but it also creates a cool breeze throughout your home.
9. Annual Check Up: Most importantly, call your local HVAC repair company like Allied Mechanical & Electrical, Inc. to perform an annual maintenance inspection. The key to keeping your unit in top shape is to have a certified professional look at it once a year. They can catch any minor repairs before they become major issues.