Easy Tips to Feel Cooler and Conserve Energy During Summer Heatwaves
With the return of daytime temperatures in excess of 90 degrees across much of Pennsylvania the next few days, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) offers a series of simple ways that residents can stay cool, conserve energy and keep their bills manageable.
“There are quick and easy ways to increase comfort while managing energy usage during hot weather,” noted PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille. “Simple things like using fans, adjusting thermostats by a few degrees, drawing your blinds and delaying the use of heat-generating appliances can go a long way toward helping you stay cool without dramatically increasing summer utility bills.”
Increase summer comfort while keeping energy costs low:
- Fan Yourself – Fans circulate the air, keeping you feeling cooler, even at higher temperatures.
- Follow the Shade – Relax in rooms that do not receive direct sunlight.
- Block the Heat – Use window blinds and coverings at the sunniest time of day to reduce unwanted heat buildup.
- Don’t Add Extra Heat – Postpone using heat-producing appliances, such as clothes dryers, dishwashers and stoves until it is cooler.
- Cookout, Anyone? – Consider cooking with outdoor barbecue grills or microwaves, rather than stoves or ovens, which add indoor heat.
Circulating air with a fan can help you feel up to 4 degrees cooler, without needing to lower your thermostat.
In addition to simple ways to feel cooler on hot summer days, the PUC also underscored a series of ways to help conserve energy and avoid generating unwanted heat inside your home.
Conserve energy and save money while staying cool:
- Check your Thermostat – The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill.
- Clean is “Green” – Clean and replace air conditioner filters regularly and make sure air circulation paths are clear.
- Power Off – Turn off non-essential appliances and lights to reduce power use and unwanted heat.
- Don’t Cool Unneeded Space – Close off unused rooms and adjust air vents or thermostats to avoid unnecessary cooling expenses.
- Keep the Heat Outside – Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
Every degree you raise your air conditioning thermostat above 72 degrees can save up to 3% on cooling expenses.
In addition to cooling and conservation tips, the PUC also encouraged residents to review the hot weather safety information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, along with tips for keeping pets safe during hot weather, from the Humane Society of the United States.
Hot Weather & Utilities
The PUC notes that hot and humid weather can prompt PJM – the region’s power transmission organization – to issue “Hot Weather Alerts”, preparing utilities and generation operators for conditions that could stress the power grid and working to ensure that resources are available to meet energy demands.
In response to hot weather alerts, electric distribution companies (EDCs) across Pennsylvania take steps to prepare for high demand and other hot-weather issues, including the postponement or rescheduling of routine maintenance-related outages, placing additional staff and equipment on stand-by in the event of outages and reaching out to customers regarding energy conservation and/or access to ice, water, cooling centers and other support services, should they be needed during any outages.
The PUC is in close communication with EDCs, PJM and other key stakeholders during these types of weather alerts and continues to actively monitor utility systems across the state.
About the PUC
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.