By Diane, Pacific Aire Comfort Advisor,
If your Thousand Oaks household electricity consumption is causing high energy bills during these hot SoCal summer days, think what’s happening at your local utility. Hot weather spikes demand, called peak loading. It produces consequences that extend beyond the bottom line of your electricity bill.
Local utilities may not have the excess capacity to handle acute seasonal peaks, resulting in rolling brownouts or even blackouts. These transient fluctuations may be accompanied by damaging power surges or other disruptive effects.
In summer, peak usage usually occurs in late afternoons when air conditioners are working hard and household appliances are powered up. During this time, you can take several steps to avoid high energy bills while doing your part to reduce peak loading.
- Close windows and lower shades or draw the curtains during the day. This keeps radiant heat energy in sunlight from heating the interior of your house and stressing your A/C system. Exterior awnings to shade windows or external sun screens that filter sunlight can also reduce heat infiltration.
- Interior sources also contribute to the cooling load of your home and overwork your air conditioner, contributing to peak loading. Cut back on using lights, a range or oven and even hot water, which adds heat and increases humidity in the air making it feel hotter to occupants.
- Do laundry during morning or evening instead of the afternoon. If you have to wash a load during the afternoon, use a cold water setting and dry the clothes outside on a line or on an indoor rack.
- Keep your central A/C operating at top efficiency by scheduling periodic maintenance with an HVAC technician. He or she can show you how to change the filters more frequently yourself — during peak cooling season, it’s a good idea to do it every month.
- Utilize a programmable thermostat to keep your house warmer during daytime periods of less activity and fewer occupants, and automatically cooled as residents return later.
Since 1990, Pacific Aire Heating & Cooling has kept Thousand Oaks and all of Ventura County-area homeowners comfortable through all seasons. Contact us for more ideas on reducing high energy bills and taking the peak load off your local utility.