HOUSTON – A sweltering heat wave has enveloped much of Texas this week, and people are cranking up the air conditioner to keep cool.
That has resulted in record demand on the state’s electric grid, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
With even hotter temperatures expected in Houston this weekend, energy providers are asking customers to do their part to make sure there’s enough electricity to meet the demand during peak hours, which usually run from 2 to 7 p.m.
Here are five ways to keep your energy consumption in check, according to Reliant Energy:
1. Raise the thermostat
Set your thermostat two to three degrees higher during peak hours. Using fans during that time will help you feel four to six degrees cooler.
People should also follow the 4-by-4 rule. It means that if no one is going to be home for more than four hours, set the temperatures four degrees higher.
2. Hold off on the laundry and dishes
Wait until after sundown to wash clothes and use your dishwasher. If you do wash your clothes, try using the hot summer sunlight to dry them.
3. Don’t be afraid of the dark
Try hanging thermal drapes or black-out curtains over the windows to keep the heat outside and cool air inside.
Also, turn off lights when you’re leaving a room.
Make sure that you regularly change your air filter to ensure that your A-C is running as efficiently as possible.
5. Avoid the oven and stove
Try using the microwave to reheat food instead of using the oven.
Even better, head outside and use a grill to whip up dinner. Some neighborhoods and municipalities have restrictions on grilling, so make sure you check with the appropriate people before you light the charcoal.