Conserving energy during the heat wave

National News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– As the weather is staying constantly warm this week, people may be looking for ways to save on their energy bills.

Ben Pierson, Manager of Beneficial Electrification at Sioux Valley Energy recommends keeping the shades on your windows closed, keep the doors closed as often as possible and cook outside, do a little grilling.

Once it gets above 90 degrees and that weather is extended for multiple days, Pierson said, that is when it is the biggest concern.

“Then, the air conditioning needs start to stack on top of each other; houses don’t really get a chance to cool down, and so that’s when it’s really important to kind of pay attention to making sure your house stays cool so it doesn’t have to catch up in the evenings,” Pierson said.

When it comes to keeping your home at a certain temperature, Pierson said to keep it as high as tolerable.

“The higher you keep your house, obviously, the lower your energy bill will be,” Pierson said. “A lot of people are okay with 75, 76, 77 so just kind of depends on the individual and then maybe use some fans too, to be able to circulate the air a little better to reduce the need for air conditioning.”

As far as energy efficient equipment, Pierson said the more efficient your cool unit is, the better off you will be.

Along with Pierson’s recommendation, the Energy Department also says to lower your water heating costs, as water accounts for about 18% of the energy consumed in a home.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your water heater at no more than 120 degree Fahrenheit.

The Energy Department also recommends sealing cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into the home, by adding caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.

One other tip the department has is to avoid placing lamps or TVs near your room air-conditioning thermostat, as the thermostat senses heat from these appliances, causing the air conditioner to run longer than needed.

While ceiling fans are a great way to cool off, the Energy Department says to turn them off when you are not in the room, as they cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect. You should also turn on the bathroom fan during baths and showers to remove heat and humidity from the home.

Pierson says that during the summertime, energy shortages are not as big of a concern as they are in the winter months.

“That event we had last winter was unprecedented cold and it was such an extended period of time and over such an extended area, that we saw issues with some generation freezing up, and that’s not as much of an issue in the summertime,” Pierson said. “So, while, I mean, it is good to try to concern energy all the time.

As a member-owned cooperative, Pierson said, they try to do any peak-shaving possible, meaning less usage during their peak times. This not only saves the cooperative money, but all of the members as well.

In the summer, their peak times are in the evenings.

Pierson said one of the things people can do to help the cooperative, it to participate time of use rate. This is designed for times of high heat and that is where members pay a little more during the evening hours.

‘It encourages people to use before and after that time frame, which helps keep our peak down, which help keep our costs down and helps save our members money,” he said.

As the heat increases, the cooperatives main concern is just “making sure the lights on”, Pierson said, which in the summer is not too big of an issue.

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