Seattle City Light wants to remind its customers that they can stay cool while conserving energy and keeping their electricity bills low.
One of the best ways to keep your house cool is to keep the outside heat from getting inside. Keeping the windows closed during the day and covered by blinds or drapes can significantly reduce the amount of heat gained through a window. Better yet, install an exterior shade. Also, good insulation not only keeps your house warm in the winter, it helps keep you cool in the summer.
Other money-saving tips include:
Give appliances a break. Limit the use of ranges and stoves, dishwashers, dryers, washing machines and other heat-producing equipment especially during mid-day.
Prepare cool meals, such as salads and sandwiches. If you must cook a hot meal, wait until later in the evening when it’s cooler.
Use a ceiling fan, A typical fan consumes 98 percent less electricity than most central air conditioners use.
Adjust ceiling fans to turn counter-clockwise, which will push down warm air trapped near the ceiling. Health officials say fans provide little relief when temperatures exceed 90 degrees so keeping the heat from building up inside your house is extra important.
If you have central air conditioning: Cool only the rooms you use. But don’t close all vents. Closing too many actually reduces operating efficiency.
SAFETY NOTE — If you have a portable air conditioner: Check the amperage on your unit and the outlet where you intend to plug it in. Overloading the outlet would create a fire hazard.
Turn off the air conditioner when you leave the house for several hours.
An air conditioner thermostat is not a throttle, so don’t switch your air conditioner to a colder setting when you turn it on. It won’t cool the room any faster but it will waste energy when you forget to turn it up again. Keep it set at 80°F.
Install a timer on your room air conditioner, or use a programmable thermostat on your central air conditioner.
Keep your air conditioner shaded to improve its efficiency.
Set your furnace thermostat as high as possible. The minimum recommended energy-efficient summer temperature is 78°F.
High temperatures can add strain on our electrical equipment. Should the power go out, first check your main switch for a blown fuse or an open breaker. If that is not the problem, call City Light’s Outage Hotline at (206) 684-7400 for a recording of all known outages. If your area is not mentioned, please let us know by calling (206) 684-3000.
City Light urges its customers to be prepared for outages.
Customers relying on electric life-support machines should let City Light know about their needs. Please call (206) 684-3000 and let us know. They also should have emergency backup power and know how to operate it. The backup system should have an alarm to alert the user if the power goes out.
Have an emergency kit ready. The kit should include a working flashlight, glow-in-the-dark light sticks, a wind-up clock, a portable radio and a manual can opener.
Cordless phones will not work without electricity. Have a corded phone or a cell phone available.
In most cases, food should be safe if refrigerators and freezers are kept shut when the power is out. If the power is out for longer than 12 hours, perishables should be discarded. When in doubt, throw it out.
For more ways to conserve energy, please go to City Light’s Website www.seattle.gov/light/conserve/tips/ .