DON’T feel the burn!
Summer! It’s finally here!
Some of us wait for it all year long while others dread what is soon to be a high-power bill. For those of you who work in the home inspection business, the summer solstice can mean anything but fun. Hyperthermia, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heat strokes are just a few of the dangers you can encounter while on the job as a Home Inspector if it’s an especially hot day. Thankfully, there are ways you can protect yourself from experiencing these extreme heat related conditions and keep yourself safe on the field this summer.
Hyperthermia (not to be confused with hypothermia), is what happens to the body when its temperature goes above average measures. This can be as mild as heat cramps — which always pass but occur due to loss of fluid in your muscles while you work outside, to severe–when heat strokes occur and hospitalization is required. It’s important to pay attention to your body and listen when it tells you are overheating.
Soaring body temperatures can cause:
1. Blurry Vision
3. Rapid heart beat
6. Faint spells
9. Low blood pressure
If you start experiencing or even begin to think you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to remove yourself from the heat immediately and either find a shady spot outside or go inside to the cool AC. Cooling your body down and feeling better should become your #1 priority if you begin to experience feeling unwell while inspecting a home in the summer.
Fuel: Another thing to remember is that what you put into your body can also affect how you feel, so make sure to drink plenty of water and/or drinks with electrolytes to keep yourself hydrated. Avoiding sugary drinks is also recommended as they do not hydrate but instead increase your chances of energy crash and dehydration. Additionally, avoiding heavy meals might also be beneficiary. When our temperature goes up, our bodies try regulating our temperature by cooling us down, which means decreasing functions that generate heat such as food digestion. So having a hearty steak with potatoes and a blooming onion might not be the best option for a day when you have to spend time in the hot sun.
Clothing & Personal Items: Clothing can also be used as an essential tool used to keep yourself cool during summer home inspections. Keeping in mind that professional attire is still required, it is important to be able to differentiate between what you should and should not wear on the job during the summer. Examples of clothing/accessories that can help keep you from overheating are short sleeve shirts such as polos, shorts, loose pants, UV shirts, sunglasses, baseball caps, and cooling scarfs or neck wraps. Opt for lighter colors if you can help it, as they reflect the sunrays away as opposed to darker colors which absorb the heat. It is also a point to note that none of these should have any visible logos unless it is the company that you work for. Logos, pictures, and graphics unrelated to the job are not only seen as unprofessional, but can also offend some clients.
When it comes to personal items, deodorant, bug spray, and sunscreen are at the top of the list. Carrying an extra deodorant with you can help you feel secure on hot days by not only keeping you feeling cool and smelling good but also minimizing the appearance of sweat stains. But stay away from sweet scents as those can attract the various creepy crawlies that are out and about during the summer, which leads us to our next point. Insect repellant is another tool that you might want to carry with you while working outside. Wasps, mosquitoes, and ants are just a few of the bugs that are out and about during this season. Lastly, and probably the most obvious is sunscreen. Spending time outside means having exposure to the sun, even if you’re standing under a shady tree, those UV rays can still cause damage to your body. Avoid getting sunburnt and protect your skin by applying a generous amount of sunscreen before doing an outdoor inspection.
Summer HI Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Make sure before you climb up to inspect that the roof is safe for you to walk on. Roof shingles that have been subjected to extreme heat for too long can break and cause damage to yourself and the home. For tin roofs, it is important to either A) Have the right shoes so your soles don’t melt off or B) Use a drone to inspect the roof
Don’t: Do not touch hot roofs with your bare skin as roof surface temperature can cause serious burns. Remember to keep gloves on hand.
2.Attics and crawl spaces:
Do: If you MUST enter an attic during the summer time, which is highly unrecommended as there is no ventilation, make sure you open up the hatchet door to let it air out and to help it circulate with the cool AC in the house. If the house doesn’t have AC, opening the windows and doors could help air out the space. Other than that, limit the time you spend in the heat and take breaks as you need them.
Don’t: Climb into ventilation units or other small crawl spaces in the heat. Not only will you quickly become overheated and possibly develop problems breathing while you’re in there, but you could encounter animal carcasses that have been desiccating due to the heat.
Make sure someone is there with you in case you start to not feel well. In cases of extreme weather, try to schedule home inspection earlier to avoid mid-day heat which can often be the most dangerous. If you are unable to complete a project due to weather circumstances beyond your control, make sure to include that in your report and specify exactly what was inspected and what wasn’t and why. Photographic or video proof can also be beneficial in the case of a client complaint.
With all of the precautions being taken, accidents can still happen. Make sure you and your company have the right coverage to protect you from any accidents or unfortunate incidents that might occur while inspecting a home. If you want to find out whether you’re fully covered, call OREP today at 1-888-347-5273 to speak to one of our friendly team members to discuss your options or visit our website at OREP.ORG where you can find links to helpful articles in our magazine, WorkingRE , where we publish content specifically tailored to home inspectors. OREP also offers Inspector Advisor support free to our members who need to get their tough home inspection questions answered ASAP!
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