Number of homes in southern Ontario cooled by window/room air conditioners: 900,000
Average age of window air conditioners in Ontario: 10 years
Amount of carbon dioxide the average air conditioner generates annually: 1.3 tons
Amount of energy older air conditioners use compared to newer models: 30-70 per cent more
Previous record amount of power used by Ontario residents running air conditioners in a single day: 25,000 megawatts (August 2001)
Average amount of power used daily by Ontario residents during current heat wave: 25,200 megawatts
Amount of energy that can be saved by cleaning a dirty air conditioner: 5 per cent
Amount of CO2 that can be prevented from polluting the environment: 175 pounds per year
Efficiency rating on air conditioning units that cause least amount of environmental damage: 10.5 or higher
Main cause of ozone loss: cholorofluorocarbons (CFCs) coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners
Sign that CFCs and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are leaking out of your unit and into the atmosphere: rust or erosion
Number of years scientists say we have left to reverse the effects of global warming: 12
Amount shading your home/apartment with greenery can reduce indoor temperature: by as much as 11° Celsius
Primary source of heat buildup: sunlight absorbed by your house through the roof, walls and windows
Secondary sources: appliances and air leakage
BEATING THE HEAT
For apartment dwellers
Window coatings made of plastic sheets treated with dyes or thin layers of metal reflect heat away from your home.
Ceiling fans lower the air temperature by about 2° Celsius.
Opening windows at night promotes cool air circulation.
Using appliances early in the morning or after sunset and turning on lights only when absolutely necessary reduces ambient heat.
Apply a reflective coating to your existing roof to reflect heat. Two standard roofing coatings are available. One coating is white latex that you can apply over many common roofing materials. Another is asphalt-based and contains glass fibres and aluminum particles.
Insulation, weatherstripping and caulking help seal and protect against summer heat.
SIZE IS EVERYTHING
For greater efficiency, make sure you purchase only the required size unit to cool a particular space.
For a 400 to 500 square-foot room: 8,500 to 11,000 BTU unit
550 to 875 square-foot room: 11,000 to 15,000 BTU unit
875 to 1,200 square-foot room: 15,000 to 19,000 BTU unit
1,200 to 1,600 square-foot room: 19,000 to 24,000 BTU unit
Compiled by Nadia Daniell
Retreating into air-conditioned bliss may be the preferred way to beat the heat, but the artificial deep freeze has some hellish downsides, like blowing more holes in the ozone layer and actually heating up the planet. Here's how to keep cool without burning us all.