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How to get ready for western Washington’s impending heat wave

The Puget Sound region will begin to sizzle this weekend with temperatures expected to reach triple-digits by Sunday.

SEATTLE — As western Washington barrels toward a potentially record-breaking heat wave this weekend, many residents are catching up on nifty tricks to stay cool.

The obvious still holds true: limit time spent outdoors, especially during the day, and stay hydrated.

There's more you can do now to prepare for the excessive heat expected to begin making its way into the region on Friday.

MAXIMUM COOL!

If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning or fans in your home, one of the easiest ways to prepare for the heat is to make sure everything is working at its maximum potential.

Residents should be looking to make sure that air-conditioning ducts have proper insulation.

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For those folks with window air conditioners, make sure they’re fitting nice and snug. If you can, place some insulation around the unit to make sure no cool air is escaping.

For ceiling fans, make sure they’re turning counter-clockwise to push the air down. This creates a breeze effect and helps cool a room down.

While less obvious, your lightbulbs can be a source of unwanted heat. Incandescent bulbs give off the most heat, so if you spot any of those still in use around your home, replace them with much cooler CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LED bulbs.  

CIY- “COOL IT YOURSELF”

There are plenty of crafty ways to cool down your home without breaking the bank on expensive fans or A/C units.

One easy yet effective way to keep the heat out is to make reflective window coverings with aluminum foil-covered cardboard. These are easily installed between the drapes and your windows and reflect the sunlight and heat away from your home.

If you’re one of the many out searching for an air conditioner but unable to find one, consider grabbing a cooler, a small fan and some PVC piping instead. With these three things and some ice, you can create your own swamp cooler. Take that, A/C!

Dehumidifying your home can make it feel cooler, allowing sweat to dry faster and making you feel less sticky. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to create your own dehumidifier if you don’t want to buy one. It takes two buckets and some rock salt, which pulls moisture from the air. Drill some holes in the bottom of one bucket, place it in the other and then fill it with rock salt. There you have it: dehumidification!

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

It’s all about timing, and we’re not talking about your love life. When it comes to daily or weekly chores, there is a right time and wrong time if you’re looking to stay cool.

If you are in dire need of clean dishes or clothes, try to run your washing and drying machines before the heat wave hits.

If you need to clean or do any work in the garage, try to get this done after work this week or hold off a few days until the extreme temperatures pass.

Also, if you’re saving any yard work for the weekend, reconsider. The heat is expected to arrive on Friday and continue escalating through Monday, so limiting time outdoors this weekend is a must.

If you must be out in the yard or run the dishes during the excessive heat, try to get these things done in the evening or early morning when it is the coolest outside. However, according to weather officials, there won't be much relief overnight so it is best to get your chores done as soon as possible or wait.

Additionally, if you plan on traveling long distances throughout the area, make sure you have a backup route. Infrastructure like roads and rails could potentially buckle in extreme heat, according to weather officials.

KNOWLEDGE IS (COOLING) POWER

Everyone knows that knowledge is cool—literally when it comes to the heat. While we aren’t quite yet seeing the extreme temperatures expected this weekend, there are already plenty of resources to become familiar with ahead of time.

For example, the city of Seattle has organized an entire web page with resources to beat the heat, including a list of safety reminders and public areas that are offering air conditioning.

Also, think about planning a day at the pool or beach over the next few days. Lifeguards will be heading back to work on Saturday, and Seattle has a list of beaches and pools available to the public.

It’s never a bad idea to familiarize yourself with some of the signs of heat illness as well as what to do if someone you’re with is unable to cool down.

Weather officials said Thursday to be prepared for power outages in the region, too. So those who rely on central air conditioning should consider purchasing a battery-powered unit or fan.

The latest forecast shows Monday will be the hottest day for the region, so be sure to make your preparations over the weekend if you can’t sooner.

Temperatures are expected to reach the high 80s Friday, high 90s on Saturday and into the 100s on Sunday and Monday.