Electrical grid-lock: How to save energy during a heat wave
Running air conditioners, fans and appliances during the day can put a strain on the electrical grid
When temperatures soar during the summer months, most people who are stuck indoors do whatever they can to try and stay cool.
But running air conditioners, fans and appliances during the day can strain the electrical grid, putting people at risk of experiencing blackouts and brownouts.
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Many electricity providers use specific methods to manage the power grid to prevent widespread power outages during extreme heat.
This is the case in Texas, where the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told FOX Weather on Sunday that the Lone Star State had broken power records as residents have been desperately trying to cool their homes.
The company sent out an appeal to customers to voluntarily conserve electricity on Monday. ERCOT has made this request more than four dozen times since 2008 to manage grid operations when the forecast power reserves could fall below 2,300 MW for at least 30 minutes.
So, what can you do to save energy when the power grid is at risk of becoming overloaded?
Here are a few tips from the United States Department of Energy to help reduce electrical demand during the peak electrical demand between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
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Use your windows
The U.S. Dept. of Energy suggests using your windows to keep the heat out. Install window coverages or shades and keep them closed during the day to prevent temperatures from rising indoors.
For information about how window treatments can improve your energy efficiency, click here.
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It’s a good idea to set your thermostat as high as possible without feeling uncomfortable, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy. The slightest difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures will also lower your overall cooling bill.
Another good idea is to keep your house warmer than normal when you’re away and lower the temperature setting once you get home and need to cool off.
An excellent way to do that is to install a programmable thermostat to set the temperature a little while before you get home.
For more information, click here.
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Fans and ventilation
Turn off your ceiling fans when you leave a room to keep energy costs down. Using a fan will also help you feel cooler, so you will be able to raise your thermostat a few degrees.
Also, when you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity from the room. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented outside, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy.
Make sure you schedule regular maintenance for your air conditioners and other cooling equipment for maximum energy saving.
It’s a good idea to avoid placing T.V.s, lamps and other large appliances next to an air conditioner. This is because the thermostat will sense the heat emitting from the object, allowing the air conditioner to run longer than it should.
For more tips on how to use an air conditioner efficiently, click here.
When temperatures soar, try and avoid using major appliances.
Use your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer at night when energy demand is lower, and make sure you run full loads rather than a few things at a time.
Also, consider air-drying your dishes and clothes rather than using the dishwasher and clothes dryer.
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The U.S. Dept. of Energy suggests using lighting options that operate at cooler temperatures.
For example, replacing standard light bulbs with LED lights will also help reduce electricity usage and keep energy costs downs while providing the same amount of light.
It’s also a good idea to keep lights off during the day if you’re getting sunlight in your home.
Be sure to download the FOX Weather app to track the temperatures in your area. The free FOX Weather livestream is also available 24/7 on the website and app and on your favorite streaming platform. The FOX Weather Update podcast also provides weather information for the entire country.