Seattleites are considered by some to be extreme weather wimps. If it’s snow or hot weather, many face these forecasts with dread. And as with anything dealing with Seattle weather, just wait a few days, and things will change. But since the next few days may see temperatures in the low to mid 80’s, here are some tips from your Seattle City Light to keep cool and avoid straining the utility budget.
One of the best ways to keep your house cool without running up your electricity bill is not to let the outside heat inside. Keep windows closed during the day and covered by blinds or drapes. This can significantly reduce the amount of heat that enters through a window. Better yet, an exterior shade on your window is a great option.
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 or use your barbecue outdoors.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 degrees.
• 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.
For more ways to conserve energy, please go to City Light’s website http://www.seattle.gov/light/conserve/tips/.
Although most residences in Seattle don’t have air conditioning, the increased addition of these devices in some homes, and in most places of businesses, does increase the load on Seattle City Light’s power supplies. In warm weather the distribution system can experience localized, temporary power outages. Underground cables are more susceptible to the stress caused by the increased flow of electricity. Underground power lines are insulated and designed to float in water that fills the concrete vaults, but over time the insulation becomes brittle. If the insulation on an underground cable cracks, any water in the vault will cause a short.
Should the power go out, first check your main switch for a blown fuse or an open breaker. If that is not the problem, report the outage by calling either (206) 684-7400 or (206) 684-3000.
Seattle City Light urges its customers to be prepared for outages at any time of the year. To check on causes and expected time of repair of power outages, visit out outage website at www.seattle.gov/light/sysstat. This site is available to web browsers whether on a computer or a smart phone or tablet.