Canada, surprisingly enough, this summer has been showing some record-breaking summer heat waves. 

Some of the highest temperatures have occurred in British Columbia where the temperature reached an unbearable high of 49.6 degrees Celsius.  This temperature is continuing across the country prompting heat warnings being issued in almost every other province.

This rise in temperatures can lead to issues with our health, staying cool and managing power supply and demand.  If you don’t have a way of staying cool or if power outage happens as a result of surging power demands, it will be a sticky, as in hot and sticky, situation.

In order to combat these heat waves that may hit the Ottawa region, here are some tips that will not only keep your electricity bill down, but will also help you keep your cool regardless if you have an air conditioner or not.

  1. Keep a Fan handy

Switching on your ceiling or pedestal fan is an excellent way to keep cool as it helps your body lose heat via a process called convection, and helps sweat to evaporate faster.

2. Open/close the windows

Sometimes nighttime temperatures and humidity levels drop enough for you keep your house cool without the use of an air conditioner.  You can best make that decision by keeping an eye on the weather.

3. Stay hydrated

Water is a great refresher on those extremely hot days as it will assist your body in staying cool.  Sweat is your body’s natural way of helping it stay cool through evaporation – you can expedite this cooling process by using a spray bottle or washcloth to wet your skin. You may also want to take advantage when possible of a nearby water sprinkler, a refreshing dip in the lake or hopping into the pool.

4. Salads, fresh fruits and sandwiches when possible

Consider making more meals that do not require the use of your stove or oven.  Consider barbecuing meals that require heat.  Order in or dine out are some other options.  The patios are looking good these days in Ottawa.

Avoid turning on appliances such as your dryer.  If your neighbourhood allows, line drying your clothes or a drying rack can come in handy.

5. Keep the curtains closed

Throughout the day, the sun beaming through your windows will generate a lot of unwanted heat.  Get into the habit of keeping your curtains/blinds closed, particularly on the south and west sides of your home and lessen the hot afternoon sun.

6. Lighter dress code

Depending on whether you are going to work or staying at home, there are a number of strategies you can use to stay cool.  You can wear mostly cotton and sports gear for breathability.  You may also wear sandals, open toe shoes or even go barefoot around the house.  Wear lighter colours and lessen the layers, it’s not winter. 

7. Take advantage of Federal and Local Grant Programs

Have a home energy audit done.  It may save you lots of money, lower your energy bills by making your home more energy efficient.  The Federal Government is currently offering the Canada Greener Homes Grant.  Homeowners are eligible for up to $600 for the cost of pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations and up to $5,000 total for the implementation of eligible retrofits.  Coming soon to the City of Ottawa is the Better Homes Loan Program, offering applicants a low-interest loan of up to 10% of the current value of their home to cover the cost of home energy improvements. 

Summer is often too short not to fully squeeze as much fun and enjoyment out of it.  But truth be told, hot weather is only fun when you have opportunities to stay cool when Mother Nature turns up the heat.   

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