Florida Summer Survival Guide
The Five Things You Need to Get Through the Next Few Months
By Victoria Figueiredo
If you’ve lived in Florida for more than a year, you know how lucky and unfortunate you are. Being a year-round resident gives your northern friends beach envy in the dead of winter, but come summertime, you’re wishing you’d made the move to Alaska instead. With 90 degree+ days, the kind of humidity that makes it feel like you’re walking through a warm bath any time you go outside, and the delightfully random storms that never quite break the heat, any Floridian knows they need a plan of attack come June. Lucky for you, we’re well-versed in what it takes to beat the heat! Here’s a list of the five essentials you should have crossed off your to-do list by late May if you’re not dreaming of turning into a piece of human jerky by Halloween. (Beautiful visual, I know.)
1. Functional Air Conditioning
This one is obvious. When it’s almost a hundred degrees right outside, you’re going to want a powerful A/C unit that you can count on to cool your home all summer long. Whether you decide to go with a split system, heat pump, packaged central air conditioner, or ductless mini-split systems, we recommend going with a model with a SEER of at least 15. With the extreme heat and humidity you’ll be battling most of the year, that rating will cut your electric bill and save your bank account.
2. Outdoor Outlets
Outdoor outlets can be a huge lifesaver when it comes to keeping cool under the intense Florida sun. As much as you may want to stay inside and enjoy your nice cold A/C, chances are you’ll have to venture outside at some point. Whether you’re having a barbecue for the Fourth of July, a pool party for your kids, or you need to tend to the yard that you’ve been returning to the wild for the past few weeks, outdoor outlets provide an easy way to cool yourself, your guests, and especially pets on scorching days. Just installing a few outlets in your back yard will give you the opportunity to plug in freestanding fans, bug zappers, yard lights — whatever it is you need to make it through the day. The huge plus side of this is that outdoor outlets are completely customizable and aren’t season specific! Outdoor heaters in the winter? No problem. A place to plug in twinkle lights for your springtime get together? You got it. Install your outlets wherever you need them and enjoy your yard all year.
Fans are do or die in the Florida summer. Sometimes, especially if you have a family, the temperature you set you’re A/C to just isn’t enough. If you’re looking for a way to allow every family member to set their own temperature on the cheap, ceiling fans are the way to go. The best part is they won’t even hike up your electric bill by much, if at all. Fans don’t technically cool down rooms, they cool down people. But you won’t care to think about how that witchcraft works when you’re tossed on your bed at night enjoying the breeze it provides after a long day at the beach. Trust us. You need them.
4. Programmable Thermostat
Prepare to have the lowest electric bills on the block. Programmable thermostats allow you to schedule when the A/C or heat kicks on and off, and smart thermostats can be controlled from your phone — some even turn off the air when someone locks a door. If you get a really smart thermostat, it’ll do your taxes! Not really. But smart thermostats are an incredible way to manage your energy usage and maintain a cool, comfortable home. The initial investment may seem a little steep depending on which model you decide on, but the thing will pay for itself literally by the end of the year just on bill savings alone. The other upside of investing in a smart thermostat is that, because they turn off the air conditioning and heating units when they aren’t necessary, they actually prolong the life of all that hardware. What more could you ask for?
5. Attic Fans
Last, but by no means least, is the humble attic fan. Chances are you don’t even know what these are. Here’s the skinny: attics fans are fans that you install into your attic (can I get a unanimous duh?) so that hot air isn’t sitting above your house constantly. That hot air is trapped inside all the insulation stuffed into the attic walls, and it actually keeps your home hot and makes it harder to cool down, making you’re A/C work double time to maintain a comfortable temperature. The addition of this kind of ventilation can change a lot of things for you, especially in the middle of August. You’re A/C has a lower chance of freezing up from working so hard, your energy bill can be decreased significantly, and you have a new conversation piece for when your awkward neighbor stops by! Truly a multi-tasker. You can go with a solar powered model or the electrical kind, either way you’ll be keeping extra cool this summer by fanning yourself with all the Benjamins you’ll be saving this summer if you take the plunge.
You can use any combination of the things on this list to chill out over the next few months, but being the team of drama queens that we are, we recommend going with all five! At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of these modifications to your home. Each of them will make a difference as we head into swampy weather season here in the Sunshine State, and we’d be happy to give you an estimate on what it’ll cost you to install them. With that, we wish you good luck and god speed. See you on the other side of the summer!