Florida Heat is No Joke- Here’s How to Be sure your Pets stay cool!

So, I rent a house in the suburbs in Central Florida.  My son, my dogs and I share a quaint and comfortable living space with relatively no issues.  Until recently, that is.

Central Florida is currently experiencing record heat! 100+ degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures combined with an average 77% relative humidity and its NO JOKE when your AC goes out.  Repeatedly.

The house reached 90 and climbing fast before we borrowed a portable AC from a neighbor.  That helped substantially, but since it was missing the exhaust hoses and a few other bits, we had to keep it just inside the back door, with the door opened.

This became an issue at night or when we left, as without supervision our 60+ lb Husky and 70+lb Catahoula Lab mix would surely scale the chain link backyard fence if left out all day or night without supervision.  Not to mention the idea of leaving my house wide open at night or when I am away was not something I would consider.

Unfortunately, our landlord was determined to find an easy fix (hint: there wasn’t one) and kept scheduling AC technicians to come out and check this or tweak that each time it failed to cool the house (often) and I wound up having to take time off of work to keep the door open and my pets cool.

Since I prefer my paid time off to include leisure time and relaxation with an adult beverage in a location OTHER than home, I had to take matters into my own hands.

See, the AC would work fine in the AM.  But once the heat of the day really kicked in, it wasn’t able to cool below 85 and eventually would freeze up and stop cooling all together.

When the portable unit was on to assist the central AC, the house would cool. But I had to stay home, as I mentioned before.  So…  to remedy the situation,

I purchased the following items:

2 HAIER 5,000 BTU 11.0 CEER Fixed Chassis Air Conditioner  (NOT DIGITAL! This is important)

2 Belkin Wemo® Insight Smart Plugs


2 LaCrosse Temperature and Humidity Monitor and Alert Systems

Usually the 5,000 BTU units are only for relatively small rooms. Certainly not capable of cooling an entire house, but using them to assist the central unit would be effective as long as they weren’t running constantly, causing them to freeze up as well. SO …

I set up the LaCrosse Thermometer App so I could check the temperature of the front and back of the house remotely from work.

I installed the window units in the kitchen and the master bedroom and plugged them both into their own WeMo switch, which I connected to my home guest network and installed the WeMo App on my phone.  I put the AC units in the ON /High / Cool position but turned the WeMo switch off.

Now, all I had to do was monitor the temperature.  When it started to rise, I could simply tap the WeMo power buttons and turn on the AC’s remotely to assist the central AC and keep my babies nice and cool until I get off of work.

Luckily, my landlord said he will have someone come out and install a new AC unit next week.  I look forward to that. But in the mean time, my animals are safe and cool and my home is not a sauna.




Just thought I would share in case anyone else needs an inexpensive way to monitor and cool their home while away.