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5 ways to save power in a heat wave

A woman opens a window.

July 15, 2022—Summer is the season of sun—and heat waves. As the thermometer rises, power outages and expensive bills may become more likely. So try these tips from the U.S. Department of Energy and other experts to help keep your energy use down.

1. Be energy-conscious. Turn off lights and fans when you're not using them, for instance. And wait to use appliances like ovens, dishwashers and dryers until the coolest parts of the day. You might also consider turning down the temperature on your water heater.

2. Sacrifice a few degrees. Set your thermostat a little higher during peak power-usage times, say from 3 to 10 p.m. During those hours, you might keep the house at 78 degrees when you're home and at 85 degrees when you're not home. (Older adults and people who are sensitive to extreme heat should keep home temperatures at a cool, comfortable level.) If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to match your schedule so that you don't have to think about changing it as you come and go.

3. Use windows wisely. If outside temperatures cool down at night and it's safe where you live, you may consider opening your windows to let cooler air flow inside. During the day, keep curtains and blinds closed to keep the heat out.

4. Keep your home working well. If you have an air conditioner, keep the area around the vents clear of dust, debris and furniture. And get it serviced regularly. This will not only help it run more efficiently, but it may also save you a costly repair. It's also a good idea to ensure that cracks and gaps around windows and doors are caulked or have weather stripping to keep cool air in.

5. Find other ways to keep your cool. If it's not comfortable at home, you might visit libraries, malls, pools or cooling centers to get out of the heat. Keep in mind: Heat waves can be dangerous for you and your loved ones. So be sure you know how to avoid heat illness.

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