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Heat wave do’s and don’ts for your phone

3 weeks ago 33

It’s probably really, really hot where you live.

Here are four tips for what to do or not do with your electronics during extreme heat.

My Washington Post colleagues also have advice on keeping your home, body and pets cool on hot days.

Keep your devices from overheating

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Your phone doesn’t like extreme heat any more than you do. You might see a warning on your screen if your phone gets so hot that it stops working well. If this happens, don’t stick your phone in the fridge.

Try grabbing something cold, such as a freezer pack or a bag of frozen vegetables, and wrap it in a dish towel. Put your phone on the towel for about a minute, then check if your device is working. Repeat until the phone is back to working condition.

Also, don’t leave your phone or other electronics in your car or exposed to direct sunlight when it’s this hot outside. Even the trunk or glove compartment might be too toasty.

Keep your phone charged in case of a power outage

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Plan ahead by keeping your phone and other essential devices powered up.

External battery packs are a great backup plan. We’ve had good luck with models made by Anker, Belkin and Nimble. Or check out the batteries recommended by Wirecutter.

Make sure the external battery you’re buying works with your phone’s charging port and that you have the right charging cord for it.

And double-check that the battery is charged before you need it. I set a reminder on my phone to check my battery pack’s charge once a month.

Consumer Reports has a guide to buying a home generator if that’s something you’re considering for power outages.

Sign up for emergency alerts and air-quality sites

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Search the web for your county and “emergency alerts” to stay informed by text or app about heat emergencies and getting help if you need it.

While some emergency alerts are automatically sent to everyone’s phone, you’ll probably need to sign up to make sure you’re getting all of them.

Extreme heat or smoke from wildfires nearby can lead to poor air quality. The EPA’s AirNow website and apps for iPhones and Android phones are great resources on whether it’s safe to spend time outside. (We have more air-quality sites to try out here.)

Also read about the recommended air purifiers from Consumer Reports and House Fresh. High-quality purifiers can make your indoor air quality much better.

Limit use of heat-generating electronics and appliances

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Large electronic devices and appliances such as television sets, dishwashers and computers emit heat — sometimes even when they’re turned off.

Consider limiting their use or unplugging them when it’s really hot. It can keep your home feeling cooler and helps minimize the strain on your local electrical grid.

If you live in a small home, as I do, cooking indoors can make indoor space feel miserable. I did extra meal prep this weekend so I might only need to use my microwave and rice cooker during the next few very hot days. Or try these no-cook recipes.

Our colleagues have also recommended resisting the urge to crank up the air conditioning during extreme heat. One study found that people were still comfortable when the air conditioner was set up to 77 degrees.

Read other tips to keep cool and safe with or without air conditioning.

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