What Is an Urban Heat Island and How Does It Affect You and Your Air Conditioner?

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Phoenix residents know the drill during a heatwave. When the temperature climbs above 105, you do what you can to avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day. Occasionally, you may find yourself walking down a city street or making your way across a scorching, treeless parking lot. It’s then you realize what the term, “urban heat island” means. In the highly developed, greater Phoenix area, asphalt, concrete, metal and hardscape stone and gravel combine to absorb and then release the heat of the sun, often adding up to ten degrees of temperature during any given day. Urban heat island effect also keeps the entire city temperature warmer in the night. When you have the equivalent of three months of 100+ temperatures, that adds up to a lot of extra stress on your air conditioner – and on you!

Extreme Temperatures in Phoenix – The Heat Is Coming

So far this year, temperatures have been relatively moderate. With July, August and September just ahead, triple digit heat will be coming soon. Most desert dwellers are well aware of normal heatwave precautions. Drink plenty of water. Always keep extra water bottles in your car. Do your workouts or dog walking early in the morning. Protect yourself from the sun. Don’t forget sunglasses, hats and baseball caps. Keep sun block handy (especially for the kids, who don’t always want it.) Stay indoors during the afternoons and if you suffer from asthma or a respiratory condition, try not to exert yourself.

Here are a few precautions for your air conditioner:

  • Check Your Air Filters

    Your air filters form the first line of defense in your home against dust, pet dander, particulates and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Did you know that indoor air pollution can be worse than outside air? If you haven’t checked your air filters in a while, it’s a good idea to replace them before the big dust storms of monsoon season hit.

  • Clear the Area Around Your Air Conditioner

    If you haven’t done so already, take time to inspect the area around your air conditioner to make sure it’s free from obstruction and not overgrown with grass, bushes or tree branches. Free flowing air around your air conditioner makes the transfer of heat away from your home easier.

  • Schedule an Early Summer HVAC Checkup

    We recommend two service calls per year. One in spring to prepare for summer and another in fall. Our friendly service technicians will perform a full system inspection and make sure your air conditioner is ready for the hottest days of summer, which are just ahead. Remember, it is important to have your refrigerant checked (at the very least) once per year, as well as all the other critical parts of your AC system.

Your Home Will Be an Oasis of Cool Amid the Phoenix Urban Heat Island

When the heatwaves hit and the temperature climbs well above 100 degrees, our phone rings off the wall. Don’t wait until your air conditioner breaks down to schedule service. Be proactive and give yourself and your family the gift of cool AC all summer long. Call us today.

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