When temperatures peak as they are doing during this record-breaking heatwave, so does electricity use, and that strains the electrical systems. Air conditioners are consuming more energy this week, and electrical systems must work hard to power the increased demand. Vera Water and Power shares ways to help people stay safe, stay cool, and save energy during peak times of the heat.
The increased demand for electricity can strain a home’s electrical system, increasing the likelihood of an electric shock or fire. During times of excessive heat, the high demand is coming from many homes and many businesses, which can add to possibilities of electrical grid overloads, failures and power outages.
“There are many easy steps you can take to lower your electrical demand during a heatwave, which also helps keep your energy bill in check,” says Catherine Cronin, communications manager of Vera Water and Power.
Vera Water and Power suggests some simple ways to improve comfort, save energy, and ease stress on a home’s electrical system at the same time:
- Use curtains and blinds to keep the sun out on hot days.
- Make sure ceiling fans are moving in a counter-clockwise direction, which forces air down and creates a cooling effect.
- Operate the thermostat as efficiently as possible. The smaller the difference between your thermostat and the outdoor air temperature, the greater the energy and utility bill savings. Just a few degrees can make a big difference, so set the thermostat as high as comfortable.
- Make sure that vents are not blocked. It is also a good idea to vacuum air registers to remove the buildup of dust and debris that could block cold air from circulating throughout the house.
- Clean or replace HVAC filters. Outside, clear leaves and other debris away from the condensing unit. Hose off any accumulated dirt.
- Avoid unnecessary trips out the door in the heat of the day.
- If it gets cool enough at night, windows can be opened to let cooler air in. Then close them in the morning to trap it.
- Seal cracks around the house with weather stripping and caulk to keep cold air in and hot air out.
Safety is important, so do not simply ignore rising temperatures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 675 Americans die every year from heat-related causes. Prevent heat-related illnesses by seeking out cool environments, drinking lots of water, and wearing light clothes.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. A person who is experiencing heavy sweating and weakness should immediately seek a cool environment, drink water, and apply a cold compress. If these symptoms progress to high temperature, vomiting, and unconsciousness, seek emergency medical attention.