Long, hot days have become routine lately for Micah Minson, a lead service technician for Climate Control Heating and Cooling Inc. in Liberty.
“We’re working an average 14 to 15 hours a day, getting off work around 9 or 10 o’clock at night to be able to take care of our customers,” Minson said. “Doing that and staying hydrated is quite a battle.”
Especially when temperatures start climbing, like on Wednesday afternoon where the heat was expected to reach dangerous levels. The heat proves challenging to those who spend their days working outside — and to those who lack cooling systems indoors.
Calls have been flooding in to Climate Control from people whose air conditioners need repaired, serviced or even replaced.
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“Keeping busy is part of what we are doing right now with the heat wave,” Minson said. “We will end up getting busy normally the day of the heat wave but also continuing the next couple of days.”
Some calls come from people returning home from work or vacation and find that their homes have lost their cool.
For Minson, Wednesday was expected to be another busy day. He started the morning doing a maintenance service check on the air conditioner at Ellene and Tim Whitmore’s home in Kansas City, North.
It was during a maintenance check on the furnace that a crack was discovered that was leaking carbon monoxide into the home.
The checks gives Ellene Whitmore a peace of mind. She doesn’t give her air conditioner a second thought once the heat hits.
“It doesn’t mean that I won’t have any issues,” she said. “But I know that in my house it’s going to be cool.”
Regular maintenance is important, Minson said. He checks airflow and temperatures to determine whether the unit is operating efficiently.
He also cleans the air conditioner so it doesn’t overheat, which can break down the motor and cause freon leaks.
“Normally when it breaks is when it’s the hottest day of the year,” Minson said.
For people who’s air conditioners are not working properly on days like Wednesday, Minson suggested they head to their basements while they wait for someone to come service their units.
“Cool air falls, so going into the basement you’ll probably notice that its 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the upstairs,” he said.
That can be a big difference, especially when highs in the Kansas City area soar near 100 degrees, like it is expected to do Wednesday afternoon. Because of the humidity, the temperature was expected to feel more like 106 to 111 degrees.
The Kansas City area is under an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m.
When the heat climbs to that level, Minson has a bag of tricks to keep cool.
“Being hydrated is No. 1,” Minson said. “We drink a lot of water and Gatorade.”
That and taking lots of breaks and staying in the shade whenever possible are the main ways to stay cool. The condenser is not the only thing that gets hosed down during the cleaning.
“We hose down our heads and it really takes about 30 degrees off the body, which is a big plus,” he said.
But even then, there are times the hot temperatures just can’t be avoided — especially if you have to climb into an attic.
“We’re going in to take care of our customers who are hot, so we are normally walking into 95 degree houses and doing our very best to get them up and going as fast as we can,” Minson said.
Cooling centers open
Many libraries and community centers in the Kansas City area serve as cooling centers. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has an online tool that helps find designated cooling centers by ZIP code.
The United Way’s 2-1-1- hotline also has information on cooling centers in the Kansas City area.
The YMCA of Greater Kansas City announced announced that all of its locations will be open to the community for free from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
People should bring a photo ID and check in at the Welcome Center when they arrive. Children 15 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. Teens 16 and older may visit unaccompanied by an adult.