Buckeye and Goodyear

During a record-hot summer, pools in Buckeye and Goodyear often were closed due to concerns about COVID-19 spread. Avondale splash pads remained open, though with social distancing restrictions.

Good riddance, August.

A melting-hot month came to a surprisingly cool end, with weekend showers bringing West Valley high temperatures below 100 for the first time in weeks.

August 2020 will be remembered as the most brutally hot month the West Valley has endured.

According to an Aug. 24 National Weather Service tweet: “Just tied the record high for Phoenix today at 115 degrees! It’s also the 13th day of 115-plus of the year.”

Before August ended, the NWS recorded a record 50 days of 110 degrees or hotter in Phoenix. The West Valley is just as hot as Phoenix—and on some days slightly warmer.

The record highs were not the only thing making this summer so uncomfortable. According to the NWS, this summer had 28 days where the temperature failed to go below 90.

After a few blissfully cool days, West Valley highs will near or exceed 110 degrees this weekend.

No wonder ice cream sales are up.

“We have a lot of customers come in lately,” said Ariane Galaziz, a manager at Baskin Robbins in Goodyear.

She said she’s been scooping plenty of butter pecan and strawberry flavors.

While ice cream has provided relief (albeit temporary) on hot tongues, closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic deprived overheated bodies from their usual respites.

The Goodyear pool closes after Labor Day. It has been open weekends only (1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) since August. It will also be open from 1 to 6 p.m. Labor Day.

The Buckeye Aquatic Center shut down early, in keeping with Gov. Doug Ducey’s guidelines near the beginning of summer. Revenues from pool admissions in Buckeye were less than half what they were last year—and revenue from swimming lessons fell from $58,237 to $5,787, according to city spokeswoman Annie DeChance.

At least Avondale kept its popular splash pads open, though with restrictions: “Visitors must exercise social distancing and cannot congregate in groups of 10.”

With many sheltering in place, both from the heat and for social distancing, air conditioning units have been humming for months.

And, not rarely, clunking to a stop.

The record summer translates to big business for air conditioning repair people like Bryce Heffelfinger, owner of ACExpertek Service. His service area covers the West Valley from Avondale, Buckeye and Goodyear to Glendale and Peoria.

“Our business did increase this year,” he said. “Many homeowners don’t realize their A/C needs to be serviced until it gets very hot outside, and then they have a problem.”

His tips  to save money on electric bills:

• Check your attic insulation and make sure there is enough of it. 

• Update windows or install heat-reducing window film.

• Purchase a programmable thermostat so the temperature will adjust when you’re not at home.

• Keep the blinds closed when the sun is hitting the windows. 

• Change filters every 30 days. 

• Maintain your A/C unit with yearly checkups/tuneups.