How to Keep Your Cool as a Heat Wave Approaches the Northeast

AccuWeather meteorologists are warning that a dangerous heat wave will overcome the northeastern US this weekend and will continue through July 4th holiday. A heat wave is defined as high temperatures at or above 90 F continuing over three consecutive days.

Although we typically expect temps to rise in July, experts say this could be the hottest early July weather for the Northeast since 2012.

Not only will air quality deteriorate, but energy demands will be higher than normal as people will be using their fans and air conditioners to keep cool. However, when temps peak, it’s more important than ever to conserve as much as possible to lower your consumption rate, and in doing so, you will also lower the demand rate you will pay for your electricity in the months ahead.

Here are a few ways to keep cool during the heat wave as well as keep your cool when your energy bill arrives after it passes:

  1. Close the blinds! Anything that keeps the sun from coming in and creating a greenhouse effect will make it easier for your air conditioning unit to maintain cooler temperatures in your home.
  2. Unwind and unplug.  You may have turned off your TVs, DVD players and computers when you’re not home but did you know they continue to suck power out of outlets as long as they are plugged in? That’s why it’s important to unplug them when not in use or use a Smart Strip that will turn off the power when not in use.
  3. Clean your filters! Heating and cooling experts suggest we clean our air conditioning filters once a month. It’s easy to do. Just run water through them and let them air-dry.
  4. Set your thermostat accordingly. If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure you set the indoor temp higher when you aren’t home and automatically turn it down so that you can come home to a cool house after work. If you don’t have a programmable system, make a note to self to turn up the thermostat before you head out for work.
  5. Try that new restaurant you’ve heard about. This is your chance to justify a night out! It’s best to avoid using your oven during the dog days of summer as it radiates heat into your home and puts more of a load on your air conditioner. If you must cook, consider using a toaster oven, the stovetop, or your outdoor grill. Or consider take-out or delivery!
  6. Take a cold shower. Turning down the temperature in your shower will not only cool you down, but will lower your energy bill. In fact, experts say that if you lower your water temp on a 50-gallon tank from 130 degrees to 115 degrees, you can save more than $50 a year.
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