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Will a California Heat Wave Hit Santa Barbara This Summer?


Red sunset over the sea, rich in dark clouds, rays of light While a Central and Southern California heat wave has not materialized this summer – so far, the extreme heat felt by those on the East Coast and in the Midwest and Central Plains was deadly. According to weather forecasters, Monday evening marked the end of that misery, but the sweltering weather took its toll, contributing to multiple deaths, including at least one person in Philadelphia and two more in Chicago. 

The intense heat also knocked out power again Sunday night to thousands of residents in New York City, and to an estimated 800,000 Michigan homes and businesses for two days. Thankfully, Santa Barbara residents have not had to deal with any of those struggles, although weather forecasters say be prepared all summer long.

“If you go to the beach, remember to stay in the shade, wear light-colored clothing and sunscreen,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the NWS in Oxnard. “In afternoon, try to get somewhere cool. It’s almost too hot to be outside.”

What can Santa Barbara homeowners do during a California heat wave? 

The National Weather Service urges individuals to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors during a heat wave. Forecasters advise residents of Santa Barbara County to reschedule all strenuous activities to the early morning or evening. They also recommend you take frequent rest breaks in shaded areas or air-conditioned environments. 

“Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty,” Seto said. “Have a plan if you lose power at your house.”

Air Conditioning

Not all Santa Barbara homeowners have central air conditioning. Even so, those who do have AC still need to consider using less power for environmental reasons and to prevent power outages, which have been a problem in California during times of high energy consumption like we’re expecting.

Homeowners who do have AC should follow the advice from the Department of Energy. It says that, while you are home, a temperature of 78 degrees should be comfortable. Whatever temperature you choose, remember the smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the better. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set your preferred temperature. If you have one, avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster.

Using old fashioned fans to cool your home

The California heat wave is coming, businessman holding an electric fan Whether you have AC or not, this comprehensive blog post from WhatFan shares 70+ tips on staying cool this summer. The post touts using fans to reduce your ecological footprint. Fans are not the same as a high-tech air conditioning unit, but they can still be very effective and are less harmful to the environment. They make you cool just by moving the air around. But there is art to purchasing the right type and placing it in the right place.

A simple ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. Remember to turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Those fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan, if you have one, to remove the heat and humidity. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside; not just to the attic.

Keep the heat outside

Santa Barbara homeowners are fortunate to live in a climate that cools at night. That usually means turning off cooling systems and opening windows while sleeping will do the trick. Here are 10 more tips for keeping the heat outside during a heatwave:

  1. When you wake in the morning, shut the windows and blinds to capture the cool air.
  2. Install window coverings to prevent heat gain through your windows. Find out about window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.
  3. Avoid using the oven. Cook on the stove, use a microwave oven, or grill outside.
  4. Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.
  5. Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting.
  6. Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Consider air-drying both dishes and clothing.
  7. Take short showers instead of baths.
  8. Minimize activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer or dishwasher, and using hot devices such as curling irons or hair dryers. Even stereos and televisions will add some heat to your home.
  9. Seal any cracks and openings in your home. This will prevent warm air from leaking in. You should also add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
  10. Turn down your water heater’s temperature setting to “Warm.” Believe it or not, water heating accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in your home.

Fire Warning

“One thing to remember is that all of the (forecast) temperatures are measured in the shade,” Seto said. “If you step from the shade to the sun, you will notice a difference in the temperature.”

That means be on the lookout for soaring temperatures, especially when combined with rising humidity and strong winds. That mixture can easily cause an Excessive Heat Warning. And when that happens, be prepared for the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Warning.

See my blog, 6 Steps to Protect Your Home From Wildfires for tips and suggestions on keeping your home, valuables and even family safe from fire. The most important point is to be prepared.

Most of the homes Cristal Clarke represents are optimized for comfort in a California heat wave. That means, if one hits, you’ll only have to remember to wear sunscreen when you venture out to your pool. Have a look at Cristal’s Featured Properties and see for yourself. Then, if your present or future plans include the purchase or sale of a home here, remember Cristal is always available to discuss your wants, needs, and goals. Just give her a call at +1 (805) 886-9378 or email her at And be sure to stay cool this summer!


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