Jul
22

Heat Wave Breaks Energy-Usage Record

July 22, 2011

If you are a metro Chicago resident, I don’t have to tell that this week has been a scorcher.

After five days of temperatures in the 90s and heat indexes above 100, ComEd reported that customer demand hit an all-time high peak of 23,753 megawatts late Wednesday, breaking the old record of 23,618 set on August 1, 2006.

The demand put extra pressure on the power grid and some residents were granted power outages to go with the brutal conditions.

ComEd says these outages were isolated and could happen anytime but were not the result of a problem with the system.

Meanwhile, the extensive heat is not over, and temperatures are still expected to break the 90-degree mark throughout the weekend, with heat indexes making it feel 10 degrees warmer.

We know you have been hearing tons of advice on how to deal with this heat wave. Here is some more. Some of these tips will save you money and sanity, too.

*House too hot? The sun is one of the biggest sources of indoor heating, even indirect sunlight. Close your blinds and shades during the day. Turn off or unplug electronics and lights you aren’t using, and switch to those greener light bulbs if you haven’t already. Did you know that 95 percent of the electricity used in one of those old bulbs is not light, but heat?

woman getting relief in front of a fan

When you aren't using a desk fan for your face, point it upward to help circulate cooler air.

*House too humid? Reduce the humidity, cool the house. Take shorter showers with cooler water and run the bathroom exhaust fan; only run the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer at night. When you run the dishwasher, skip the dry cycle and instead open the door slightly and allow the dishes to air dry. You can also air dry your clothes.

*Have fans? Of course you should use your ceiling fans, but you should also get the most out of your other fans by putting them on the floor and pointing them upward toward the center of the room. Heat rises and colder air falls. Using a fan will circulate that cold air back to the center of the room.

*Got lots of vents? Good air circulation will help your air conditioner work its best. Close all doors and vents to rooms you do not use. That includes closets, bathrooms, guest rooms, basements. You can even close them off temporarily to get through a particularly hot time. Closing some vents will force cooler air into the rooms you are using the most. It’s also important to make sure your return vents are unobstructed, as these help the thermostat know when to turn the air conditioning on or off.

*Gotta cook? Cover pots and pans while cooking and use the stove’s exhaust fan; better yet, use a microwave instead of the stove which uses 60 percent more energy.

*Trouble falling asleep in the heat? Put your sheets and pillowcase in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes; the cold sheets will help lower your body temperature. You can also put an ice pack or a cold wash cloth under your neck or in the small of your back to cool down.

*Going crazy in this heat? Think snow. Research has shown that the body reacts to your mind’s thoughts. Think cold and your body temperature might actually go down.

Ever wonder what was the hottest temperature ever recorded in Chicago? It was 105 degrees on July 24, 1934.

Whether or not it gets that hot, Chicago residents who need help can dial 3-1-1.

Categories: Economy, Education

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Tracey

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