Meteorologists say that Western North Carolina’s meteorological summer arrived June first—although, to most of us, summer break has just begun. Nevertheless, it sent me rummaging for useful tips for coping with WNC’s hot and unpredictable weather. Today, while at my downtown Asheville office, I walked in and it was full sun and sweltering. Twenty minutes later, the wind was blowing so violently it broke one of our signs. Then, we had about fifteen minutes of torrential downpour. Forty-five minutes later I was leaving and the sun was shining brightly, but it was lightly sprinkling over me and there was lightning off in the distance. Needless to say, Asheville’s weather year-round is pretty unpredictable, but the summer takes it to a whole other level.
Here are some tips to cope with Western North Carolina’s summer:
Most everyone can guess the commonsense ones, like the NAR’s number one Home Showing Tip in Hot Weather: “Keep the house cool;” or the lead safety tip from the National Weather Service: “Stay out of the sun.” But here are some ideas that don’t appear often. Some are only applicable in special instances, but all of them make a lot of sense:
1. Comb your fins. This tip for coping with Asheville heat spells has nothing to do with keeping any tropical fish well-groomed—it’s about your air conditioner. You’ve probably noticed that the sharp metal ridges (the fins) that are on the exit side are easily bent—just brush up against them, and they crumple. The problem is that when bent, they restrict airflow. What you probably didn’t know is that there is actually a tool called a “fin comb” to straighten the condenser fins. Sub-tip: turn off the power before you comb.
2. Vacuum the pollen. This tip for summer pollen is already applicable here in Asheville, where springtime pollen is equally evident. The idea is to vacuum the front door flashing and window jamb crevices where pollen lurks, eliminating lingering allergy or asthma issues. Alternatively, you can stick to doubling up on allergy medicine this time of year like I have to.
3. Rethink expensive suntan lotions. I can’t vouch for this one (I don’t have the lab equipment to test out CR’s findings)—but was surprised that Consumer Reports says that Wal-Mart’s in-store brand (“Equate”) tests highest for effectiveness and lowest in price (less than half of some). If true, it might be practical to leave those fancy French-sounding versions in the shade. If you prefer a more natural approach, you can reach out to my sweet Sister-In-Love Kimber-Leigh and she can tell you how to make sunscreen using all natural products! Check out her instagram if your interested in learning more! @NewEveryMorningEssentials
Here are her tips for making homemade sunscreen.
4. When the house is empty, don’t turn the A/C off. Instead, set the thermostat up a few notches so that the place doesn’t absolutely bake. Further, when you enter a too-hot home, resist the temptation to set the thermostat “way cold”—it won’t cool the house any faster.
5. Plant for shade. This is a strictly long-term tip, yet it’s one that’s probably the most valuable of the lot. Asheville homeowners whose roofs and walls are shaded by majestic trees and plantings benefit from lower cooling bills and the pleasure of shady porches and yards. Just remember to keep those gutters clean! When you are thinking about improving your Asheville home’s landscape profile, this is the tip to remember! Check out one of my recent listings at 61 Overlook Drive. It has a perfect shade tree on the side of the house.
6. Visit the grocery store. A lot. The wikiHow site explains that not only are grocery stores air conditioned (they are here in Asheville, though that’s not universally true)—but for extra chill, you can “visit the freezer section and peruse for a while.”
All right—I admit I threw in wikiHow’s tip to round out the half-dozen. Another summertime tip that you could take advantage of right now, before Asheville’s summer solstice arrives to kick off our true summer, give me a call to plan your next real estate venture!