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Beat the heat with our ‘stay cool’ summer checklist

After a slow, soggy and sometimes hot start to summer, things are starting to heat up. Last year we learned that keeping cool isn’t just about comfort, it could be a lifesaver. Use these tips to keep you and your pets cool this summer in your home, garden, and car.

How to keep your home cool

Air conditioner

Your AC unit is now a crucial weapon in the battle against summer heat. To avoid costs down the road, make sure your AC is running efficiently. Change your AC filter once a month and clear any debris that collects outside.

Pro tip: use the smallest AC necessary to cool down your size of room. Better still, get an AC unit from Home Depot or Home Hardware and earn 2% CAA dollars with your BCAA Membership.

Windows

Throw some serious shade at the blazing sunshine by following these checks:

  • Block the sun’s rays with awnings, shutters, shades, curtains, and window film.
  • Hang your curtains close to the windows and seal the edges with Velcro or duct tape.
  • During the day, close your windows and curtains. Then open them up again when the sun sets to let cooler air flow through.

enjoying fan in an office

Fans

Did you know that most ceiling fans go both directions?

  • In the summer, adjust your fan to spin counterclockwise which pushes cooler air downwards. Then come winter, you want to make it spin clockwise to redistribute the warm air down into the room.
  • Put portable fans in front of your open windows. Face them outdoors so they pull hot air out of your house during the day. By night, face them inwards to draw cooler air inside.
  • You can create a cool cross breeze with two fans. Put each fan on opposite sides of your home, one facing outward, one facing inward.
  • Make a DIY air conditioner by putting a bowl of ice cubes in front of your fan. You can also turn on your kitchen and bathroom fans to draw hot steamy air out of your home.

Appliances

Our appliances all create heat. Simple cooldown tip: turn off any appliances you’re not using and avoid using your big stove and oven. Instead, make dinners on your BBQ outside, or keep cool by eating salads and sandwiches.

Water

You can spray cool water on your wrists, neck, knees, ankles, and temples to keep cool. These are all great uses, but most importantly, drink plenty of water in the summer.

According to Health Link BC, a common recommendation is to drink between six and eight 250ml (8fl oz) glasses of water or other fluid every day. That can vary depending on health, exercise levels and how hot and dry the conditions are.

To make all that water tastier and more appealing, infuse your water with slices of cucumber, lime, lemon, or a splash of juice. Or make sparkling water or soda with a carbonated water maker.

Remember to look out for each other

When the weather’s blazing hot, check on vulnerable family members and neighbours. Keep an eye on seniors, infants, people with physical or mental health conditions, or reduced mobility, as they all may struggle to stay hydrated.

If anyone suffers from nausea or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, muscle cramps, or an irregular heartbeat, call 811 (BC’s free health information and advice phone line) or in the case of an emergency, call 911 for medical assistance.

woman holding plants in her outdoor garden

How to protect your garden from a heat wave

Keep your green friends growing as the heat rises this summer. Some guidance on watering those plants, flowers, fruit, and veggies:

  • Water in the morning or evening when moisture is less likely to evaporate
  • Aim your hose or watering can at roots instead of the leaves. Water droplets act like mini-magnifying glasses, burning the leaves or causing fungal diseases. Soaker hoses are a great solution for directing water to the roots in larger gardens
  • Many plants are fine with a good watering once a day, or even every two days, so do your research on individual plants
  • During the hottest part of the day, move your container plants into shade. You can also create shade with umbrellas, sheets, and tarps
  • Container plants and hanging baskets are vulnerable to dehydration. Spray each container until water runs out the bottom. Hanging baskets may need an extra drink later in the day
  • Give extra attention to plants with shallow roots like hydrangeas, azaleas and cedar hedges, any new seedlings, and broad-leafed plants like rhododendrons and camellias
  • Pinch off drought-damaged leaves and flowers for faster recovery
  • Cover your soil with mulch like leaves, straw, or wood chips to keep precious moisture from evaporating
  • Grass recovers its green hue quickly after drought. Water your lawn based on your local watering regulations to keep it healthy, and deter dry-soil opportunists like chafer beetles

Need a helping hand? We’re here for you. 

At BCAA, we know how to build a custom home insurance policy to protect your home and peace of mind. BCAA Home Insurance paid out on 95% of claims for fire, water, weather and theft.

Visit bcca.com/home to get a quote today from BC’s Most Trusted Brand for Insurance. BCAA Members save up to 20%. Plus, you’ll save 5% when you buy home insurance online.

woman at summer dinner party

How to care for your pets in the heat

It’s tough for us to stay cool when it gets warm, so imagine wearing a fur coat all day! Check that pets have everything they need in the heat of summer:

  • Make sure your pet drinks plenty of fresh, cool water
  • Entice reluctant cats with a fun cat fountain or by freezing their favourite treats in ice. You can also add ice cubes to water bowls or freeze a bowl of chicken or beef stock
  • Pets need a cool place to sleep and relax, such as full shade outside or your basement. You can even get cooling mats for your doggy’s bed or fill a kiddie pool with water for outdoor fun
  • If your pet stays indoors during the day, keep blinds and curtains closed to block sunlight, and keep the air circulating with fans
  • Groom your pet regularly to maintain airflow and prevent matting which traps heat and moisture
  • Shaving isn’t suitable for all breeds of dogs and cats and can increase their risk of sunburn. Ask for your vet’s advice on your pet’s breed
  • Take your dog for walks in the early morning or evening to limit the chances of heat stroke. Bring a portable water bowl and water bottle
  • Never leave your pet in your car in hot weather. It’s kinder to leave your pet at home when you run errands. Get even more pet advice from BCSPCA

Remember to insure your best friend. You can protect your furry friend with BCAA Pet Insurance and our partner, Pets Plus Us. Regardless of your pet’s breed or age, they could be covered for consultations, exams, medications and hospitalization due to illness or accident. Plus, BCAA Members save 12%. Here’s how to get a quote and sign up today.

driving

Tips on safe driving in the heat

Summer road trips and camping are huge fun—though high temperatures, combined with the extra weight of camping gear and trailers, put your engine at risk of overheating. Before your next road trip, get a full summer checkup, and don’t forget to do your own preparation before you hit the highway.

  • Your vehicle needs plenty of fluids to run smoothly. Ask your trusted auto technician or visit your local BCAA Auto Service Centre today to check and top up fluids for your transmission, brake, power steering, windshield wipers, and engine coolant. Don’t forget to check your oil!
  • Is your AC blowing hot? It may have a leak or need a flush by a mechanic.
  • Check the age and strength of your car battery. Heat is hard on old battery cells, especially those four years or older.
  • Lower your speed to reduce the chance of overheating.
  • Fill your tank when the gas gauge reads half-full. This will keep fuel cooler and go easier on your fuel pump. Check out our fuel economy tips that will help you save money on gas this summer.
  • Pack an emergency kit in your trunk. You want to stock up on enough water and snacks to last 24 hours, in case your route is blocked by wildfire, flooding, or traffic disasters. Add medications you’ll need, plus diapers, pet food, warm clothing or blankets, and a fully charged phone and charger. As a guide, you can use our emergency kit checklist.
  • Be careful to make sure you’re reading the correct information. Check out our myth-busting article: 5 myths about summer driving and maintenance.
  • For more tips on road trips and how to maximize your savings this summer, we’ve got you covered right here.

Make sure your BCAA Membership is up to date—and if you’re not a Member, you can sign up today for less than $7 a month to protect your road trips and save money wherever you go. Remember that RVs and trailers have different insurance requirements than your car. Call us at 1.888.268.2222 to make any coverage changes before you go.

Finally, here’s our last tip on keeping cool this summer: fill your freezer with popsicles! Here is a list we love, the top 100 popsicles of all time plus the 23 best healthy popsicle recipes.

You’re all set for the summer sun now—you’ve got dozens of ways to keep your home, garden, pets, and vehicles cool this summer. Have a great summer!