Tips and Tricks to Survive the Scorching Desert Summer

It always feels like endless summer here in the desert but when the real summer begins it goes from hot to hotter!

The snowbirds are gone, the traffic is light and every second vehicle on the road is cool white (color of choice for us year-round residents). And the temperature gets crazy. As I write this it’s 115 and about to “cool off” to 106!

The rest of the country may not be that extreme, but it’s still summer so today I’ll share a few summer tips.

Air Conditioning Cost

In the Southwest our AC bills are huge in the summer. Here’s a few ways to keep them under control:

  • Check your house insulation and sealing, especially ducts. The Department of Energy says 30% of energy is lost through ductwork.
  • Build a breeze with open windows and ceiling fans.
  • Don’t fight AC with heat sources like ovens, stovetops and other appliances mid-day. Consider a double oven with one smaller… I have one and use the small oven 90% of the time.
  • Create a personal comfort zone where you spend the most of your time. Why waste AC on extra bedrooms you don’t use?

Fires and Fireworks

In some parts of the country it’s a summer tradition to enjoy a campfire and celebrate July 4th with some fireworks. Yet the National Park Service says most wildfires are unintentionally caused by humans. Here’s how to keep it safe:

  • Only start fires in designated areas. Have a shovel and water nearby.
  • Avoid lighting fires on windy days.
  • Put them out…too hot to touch, too hot to leave.
  • Go to a fireworks show and avoid the home fireworks…they are illegal in most municipalities.
  • If you must have home fireworks, don’t let children touch them, never relight duds and don’t fire near a roof.

Pool Safety

Pool owners can be liable for pool accidents, so use common sense regarding supervising children, drinking and diving, etc. Make sure your pool meets your local standards and building codes for fencing.

In the desert there are many pools so children are used to them and unlikely to be attracted to any particular one. But if you have a pool in a cool climate, Seattle for example, children are more likely to view it as a novelty and sneak over for an unauthorized look. Certain risk-sensitive insurance carriers might view this as an “attractive nuisance” and require additional fencing. Most insurers will view water slides, diving boards and trampolines as attractive nuisances regardless of location. That means if uninvited kids sneak over and get hurt you can be sued. It doesn’t seem fair…that’s why you need your excess liability insurance (umbrella).

Pets and People

You’ve heard advice on staying out of the mid-day heat, keeping hydrated and keeping kids out of unattended vehicles. The same advice goes for our pets! The other day I saw a photo of a dog’s paw pads completely burned and blistered from walking on hot pavement. Protect our furry friends!

Speaking of pets, we now offer pet health insurance! It doesn’t cover preexisting conditions so it’s best to get it for your puppy or kitten before any issues develop. For more information send me a question.

Winter Homes

For those of you who winter here in the desert, here’s a link to my post on insurance and tips for second homes. My advice is to have somebody check on your winter home while you’re away in the summer. If your toilet springs a leak that is caught after a few days, it’s usually no big deal. But if a leak like that persists for months you can imagine the costly mess.

This site is informational and not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.