Surviving the Southwest Summer Part 2: The Heat

Real Estate Agent with Las Cruces Homes and Land

Yes.  The heat. 


Oh, come on.  It's not that bad.  Well, it might be if you're brand new to the southwest.

Tucson is usually 5 to 10 degrees hotter than Las Cruces.  Here's the 10 day outlook for both cities:

For reference, it was 113 in Phoenix yesterday, 6/21/11.

If you know the tips and tricks to surviving the heat, it's really no biggie. (Says the desert rat.)

*First and foremost, keep yourself hydrated with water and/or replacement drinks like Gatorade. Here's a great tip from a family member of mine: buy a few bottles of water from the store, remove half the water and then place the bottles in the freezer.  It'll keep your water colder longer and feels really nice on the back of your neck if you have to be outside for a while.

*Keep your mid day tasks to a minimum. Try and do your errands early in the morning or in the evenings.

*Minimize your children's activities as well and keep them hydrated, even while swimming.


*I've heard two different sides to this tip: fill your gas tank when it's cooler. Some say it doesn't matter, others say it does matter.

*Invest in a good hat that has a wide brim and a neck cover.  You can get those almost anywhere in Tucson.

*Pick up good sunscreen.  I never use anything lower than SPF 50 when I'm going to be outside for a while.


*Sunglasses are a definite must as well.  As much as I don't like the wrap around kind, those really do offer great protection.

*If you have to park your car outside a lot, think about getting the windows tinted and grabbing a windshield screen, too. 

*Get your home AC unit checked before the major heat hits.  If you procrastinate, chances are you'll have to wait a while for an appointment.  Around here, AC companies 'triage' their daily appointments with the most critical cases - elderly, sick and so on - go first.

*Invest in sunblocking panels for the windows in your home that face east and west.  It will help your electricity bills and keep your home cool. Also invest in shade screens like canopies for your backyard.


*If you have no way to keep your pets inside your home while you're gone, make sure that they have plenty of shade and water. Please do not tie them up or chain them.  Give them the ability to find their own comfort zone in your yard, away from direct sun. Leaving them in the garage with proper ventilation would work as well.

It is possible to survive as a new Southwest resident.  Take the necessary precautions, give yourself time to acclimate yourself to the heat - especially if you've NEVER lived in a climate like this.  Above all else, listen to the warning signs your body sends out to you.  The American Red Cross has great tips and precaution lists for you to look over.

Remember: 120 isn't that bad as long as you're inside and enjoying the AC.


You always remember a couple of things to add after you write a blog!

I wanted to add that keeping your vehicle serviced is very important.  I can't tell you how many cars I see on the side of the road during the summer.  Their hoods are up and the radiator is steaming away or the treads have peeled off of their tires.  You need to make it a habit to keep on top of your car maintenence so you don't get stranded!

One last thing - if there are elderly residents in your neighborhood, keep an eye on them if you can.  Unfortunately, seniors will not use their AC's as much as they should if they have financial problems.  Most cities set up cooling stations during extreme heat.  Offer to take them to one or to a senior center.

Comments (21)

Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Where do you want me to leave my pets again??

Jun 22, 2011 06:01 AM
Abe Schmidt
Seattle, WA
Real Estate Social Media Trainer

yeah thats why i moved from AZ to WA. domt miss it AT ALL

Jun 22, 2011 06:47 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hey Emmary - it appears we have a few wimps on activerain!  Today should be 113 in Phoenix and people it's a dry heat which means no humidity. It's more like 90 to most of you. Which I suppose is hot for you as well. I get it since I grew up in MN. But really - AC when it's 70 outside?  Now that's crazy.  Glad you made pets a priority - it drives me bonkers when I see people living pets in cars or outside with no shade.

Jun 22, 2011 06:57 AM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Looks like you forgot to leave one pet at home... the one passed out on the grass...who's your model? lol. Nice post.

Jun 22, 2011 06:58 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Sussie - Alaska sounds really good to me right now!

Liz n Bill - LOL!

Abe - aw, Abe.  You miss it. Admit it.

Anna - Ya know, when we do get humidity during the monsoon season, it's really not that bad.  And  yes, had to re-iterate about the pets.  I'm proud to say I have broken car windows before...and I'd do it again!

Sandi - LOL!  I think he was in Phoenix at the time!

Jun 22, 2011 07:03 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I live in the SE where it's hot and humid and I'm about to croak over here.  Of course when I drove through the SW I found that myth about "dry heat" feeling different to be a bunch of bunk.  I think I'll just stay inside with my pets in the A/C until fall.

Jun 22, 2011 07:18 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Tammy - it does take a little bit to get used to the heat but once you do, it's quite bareable.

Jun 22, 2011 07:34 AM
Jayne Esposito
Coldwell Banker - Morgan Hill, CA

I personally will take dry heat over humid heat any day.  I'm from NY, where a humid 82 degree day feels much worse than a 100 degree dry day, which is what we have now in Los Gatos, Ca.  Might I also add, humidity and hair....let's not go there!!!

Jun 22, 2011 08:49 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Jayne - I'm with you.  As far as humidity and hair goes, have ya seen the mop on my head in my picture? Thick, naturally curly hair + humidity = Rosanne Rosanadana :)

Jun 22, 2011 08:54 AM
Kim Gero
Verani Realty - Center Ossipee, NH
Associate Broker, REALTOR®

I love Arizona in the summer. I usually vacation there during July or August. I will take the high temperatures and low humidity any day over our sticky, humid summers here in Massachusetts. 

Jun 22, 2011 09:04 AM
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

After a very mild spring, we're looking at 110 tomorrow in Las Vegas. Can't emphasize enough how important water and shade are to both people and pets.

Jun 22, 2011 10:58 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Kim - I've lived in the southwest for the majority of my life and it still takes me a day or so to get into heat mode.  Once I have, no problems.

John - Everyone has their little tricks for coping.  Cold water was my savior this afternoon walking through an REO with a client.

Jun 22, 2011 11:25 AM
Eric Lee
Realty Executives - Phoenix, AZ
e-PRO, SFR - Phoenix, AZ

Sunday will be the 21st anniversary of Phoenix's all-time high of 122*! They shut the airport that day because the weather charts from the FAA only went to 120*!

Good call on get the AC serviced regularly - it's 113* in Phoenix today and no doubt someone in the Valley is miserably sitting there with no AC because they didn't get it serviced.

Jun 22, 2011 11:34 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Lee - oh holy toledo.  122?  I remember when I was growing up in El Paso, TX.  One summer, I remember our backyard thermometer reading 118.

Jun 22, 2011 12:21 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Emmary - I spent a couple of weeks in Tucson one summer, and I must say I'm glad I don't have to do that every summer.

Jun 22, 2011 02:50 PM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Christine - I hear that from folks who don't spend a lot of time here.  I know it sounds really crazy but you do get used to it!

Jun 22, 2011 04:59 PM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Emmary - NOw THAT is hot. The all-time record high temperature for Austin was 113, although we've had a lot of 105 degree days this year. Hope you're doing well!

Jun 22, 2011 05:02 PM
Kent Simpson
Realty One Group Mountain Desert - Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Is About People

Em - good stuff here - got to add one tip:  wear light-colored clothing!  It is really amazing how big a difference it makes between a dark shirt & a light shirt.

Jun 22, 2011 05:03 PM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Jason - thanks!  Isn't it pretty humid in Austin, too?  And yes - all is going fantastic!  Hope it's the same with you!

Kent - Yep!  You are so right. Light colored clothing - and light blends, too like linen - make all the difference!

Jun 22, 2011 05:05 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


I can empathize. I turned on the garden hose and it was boiling hot for about 3 - 5 mintutes! minutes! Texas is a big old HOT TAMALE - sizzling HOT!


Jun 22, 2011 05:24 PM