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Temperatures in the Southeast have increased by an average of two degrees Fahrenheit since 1970, according to the National Communication Association

AccuWeather predicts Florida temperatures to stay in the 90s throughout June and July 2017, and temperatures are only expected to get worse. The Florida monthly mean for daily temperature maximums are projected to be around 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the future.

These hot temperatures can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. Let’s look closer at the effects of rising Florida temperatures and how you can stay comfortable in these dangerously hot conditions.

Rising Florida Temperatures and Their Effects

Hotter temperatures aren’t just uncomfortable—they can endanger your health. Heat-related health problems are more likely in the elderly and the chronically ill. Health problems related to extreme heat include heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion and dehydration are the most common heat-related conditions. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Pale or flushed skin
  • Headache
  • Exhaustion

If you experience heat exhaustion, move to a cooler place and drink water. Visit a doctor if symptoms do not improve.

Dehydration is also common in hot temperatures because of fluid lost through sweating. Symptoms include dizziness, fainting, dry mouth, and heart palpitations. If drinking water doesn’t relieve dehydration symptoms, see a medical professional.

Heat stroke is particularly dangerous, and is characterized by red skin, vomiting, and even loss of consciousness. If someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 and cool them down as quickly as possible.

Heat is also dangerous because it can worsen existing health conditions. Because hotter temperatures lead to poorer air quality, hot temperatures can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory disorders.

Plus, hot temperatures cause the heart to work harder to remove body heat. This is dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease, and can lead to heart attack and heart failure. Heat can also aggravate mental health symptoms in people with dementia, schizophrenia, and mood disorders.

Maintaining Your Air Conditioner

Clearly, it’s important to protect yourself from Florida’s rising temperatures. Fortunately, air conditioners can help by keeping your home cool and comfortable.

However, if you don’t maintain your air conditioner, you run the risk of it breaking down on hot days when you need it most. You can prevent this scenario by having a professional service it each season. A professional can change the filter and look for any problems that require repair or replacement.

In between inspections, pay attention to the following issues:

  • Squealing and grinding sounds
  • Low air flow
  • Leaks
  • Musty smell
  • Warm air blowing from the unit

If you notice any of these problems, call a professional to repair your air conditioner.

Even if you don’t notice these problems, it’s a good idea to have an HVAC professional conduct an energy assessment of your home. He or she can detect any air leaks that lower your air conditioner’s efficiency.

Upgrading Your Air Conditioner

Sometimes repairs aren’t enough to improve your air conditioner. An old or malfunctioning air conditioner is less capable of cooling your home. Its lack of efficiency also increases your utility costs.

It’s a good idea to replace your air conditioner if:

  • It’s more than ten years old
  • It runs continuously
  • It has required several repairs this year
  • Your cooling costs have gone up

Talk to an HVAC specialist about replacing your air conditioner. He or she can connect you with an air conditioner that’s more efficient and more effective at cooling your home. He or she can also help you choose a system that’s more energy efficient. This doesn’t just help the environment—it also lowers your utility bills.

Complementing Your Air Conditioner with Other Cooling Methods

By keeping cool in other ways, you can complement your air conditioner’s cooling methods. You can even lower how hard your AC has to work to cool your home.

Here are a few ideas to stay cool:

  • Wear light clothing
  • Take a cold shower
  • Use ice packs and cold compresses
  • Sleep with cotton sheets
  • Turn off lights and unplug electronics

If you use fans, there are a couple of ways you can make them more effective. For example, you could place a fan across from an open window to create a cross breeze between the window and the fan. You could also place a pan of ice in front of your fan. The fan will pick up the cool water from the melting ice.

Make sure to drink plenty of water on hot days. Also, limit your time in direct sun. If you do go outside, avoid demanding exercise and stay in the shade as much as possible.

With Florida’s temperatures getting hotter each year, staying cool in Florida is becoming even more important. Follow these tips to stay comfortable and to protect your health.

If your air conditioner requires repair, maintenance, or replacement, call All American Air & Electric, Inc. We offer comprehensive HVAC services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.