Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How to Survive the Summer Heat at Home

Author: Christina, mother of a toddler & Support Line Volunteer

The first day of summer was on June 20th, however our hottest days are right around the corner. These tips are ways to help survive those hot days and ways to keep energy bills down.

1. Keep the shades closed during the day. Nothing makes a house hotter than having the summer sun coming in through the windows.

2. Raise the temperature on your thermostat. Running the AC all day might keep the house more comfortable, but the electricity bill will go through roof. Xcel Energy charges more per kilowatt hour after your usage goes above 500 kw. Set the AC to 85 during the day while away from home and 78 while home. This is still rather warm, but tank tops, shorts, and glasses of ice water help keep you cool.

3. Turn off all unnecessary appliances, lights, ceiling fans, anything which draws power. Ceiling fans help to cool you, not the air, so if you are not in the room, turn off the fan. Also, make sure you are unplugging chargers if not actively charging a device. Chargers continue to draw energy even if there is not a device attached.

4. Use the microwave instead of the oven. Nothing heats up a house faster than an oven and the microwave uses less power than the oven to cook the same type of food.

5. Freeze empty milk jugs to keep the fridge cool. Sometimes the power goes out because too many people are using energy and it overloads the grid. Instead of throwing away empty milk jugs, wash them out, fill them with water, and place in the freezer. Not only does this become a backup ice block for your cooler during camping trips and picnics (which can then be used as drinking water once thawed), but if the power goes out, those jugs of ice can help keep refrigerated items cool until the power comes back on.

6. If you or a family member has a medical condition which requires electricity, get a letter from your doctor and send it to the energy company and to the local fire department. If the power goes out due to a grid overload, the fire department will come and rescue those who need electricity for medical reasons. The power company will also send workers to areas where the power went out faster if there is a medical need in that area.

Now let’s say your energy bill has become more than you can afford. There are few things you can do if finances are tight.

1. Ask for help! Call the Families First Support Line at 303-695-7996 and the wonderful team members will help you find resources which may help you to make your payments.

2. Understand the law! The energy company has to send you a notice of shut off within a reasonable amount of time. They are not allowed to just turn off your electricity without notice. If there is someone in the home who has a medical need for electricity, such as using oxygen, keeping insulin cold, or an inability to handle extreme heat, or if there is a child in the home, the power company can grant you a one-time 90 day extension before turning off your power.

For more great parenting tips, parenting resources, suggestions or support call the Families First Support Line at 1-877-695-7996 OR 1-866-527-3264 for Spanish-speaking parents. You can also e-mail SupportLine@FamiliesFirstColorado.org with questions or concerns. Comments provided by non-Families First individuals are not the opinion of Families First.

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