The dog days of summer
We’re in it now — the dog days of summer.
It’s that time of year when we avoid the outdoors for fear of death. It’s the time when it takes a while to cool off after spending any amount of time outside after 10 a.m.
Why is it called the dog days of summer?
According to National Geographic, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.
To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun in late July.
According to Farmers’ Almanac, Sirius rises and sets in conjunction with the sun on July 23. The dog days are the 20 days before and after this alignment.
The Romans believed because the star is so bright it actually added heat to the sun causing the days surrounding the event to be sultry.
In North Texas, we have seen heat advisories roll past with regularity since mid-June. Now it’s really getting serious.
We’ve got a chance of rain for this week. Hopefully that will happen and cool us off at least for a little while.
I know most of the folks that probably read my column are experts in keeping their homes cool with minimal drain on their air conditioning, but for the younger set that may be unaware, here’s a few ideas.
For example, I keep trying to explain this one to my kids when they complain their rooms are hot — close the curtains. They’ll open them up in the morning and let the hot sun blast in all day and wonder why their room is so hot in the evening. But sometimes you just can’t tell them anything.
Another tip is turn off the lights. Those light bulbs, even the newer compact fluorescents give off some heat.
One thing I didn’t really think about generating heat is electronics — even when they are not in use. I read recently that unplugging things like TVs, computers and such or putting them on a power strip and flipping the switch when they are not in use helps cut down on heat in the home.
Of course a long range solution to help keep the heat off of your house is to strategically plant shade trees. Most people in Jack County are Oncor customers and as such, Oncor is offering two free shade trees while supplies last.
Customers can sign up for the trees with a choice of Burr Oak, Cedar Elm, Mexican White Oak, Pecan and Texas Redbud by signing up now at ArborDay.org/Oncor. They’ll be delivered right to your door in time for fall planting.
Oncor will even help with where best to plant them with an interactive Energy-Saving Trees website. For more info, see the article on page 6B.