A Flex Alert is typically issued in the summer when extremely hot weather pushes up energy demand as it reaches available capacity. This usually happens in the evening hours when solar generation is going offline and consumers are returning home and switching on air conditioners, lights, and appliances. As temperatures are beginning to rise we anticipate Flex Alerts to be issued .
During a Flex Alert, energy conservation is critical to reduce stress on the grid and can help prevent rotating rower outages . Additionally, Conserving energy, natural gas, and water can save money and help protect our natural resources.
Residential energy saving tips:
Adjust your thermostat
- During the summer, especially when you are not home, set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher. Increasing your air conditioner 7 to 10 degrees 8 hours a day can save up to 10 percent on cooling costs.
- During the winter, lower your furnace thermostat 3 to 5 degrees, if health permits.
- Use smart or programmable thermostat features to help maintain energy savings when you are not home. Consumers who use programmable thermostats can save up to 10 percent annually on heating and cooling costs.
Windows and doors
- Keep windows and doors closed to prevent the loss of cooled or heated air.
- On summer nights, open windows to let cooler air in when safe. In the morning before the day starts to heat up, close windows and blinds to keep the sun from heating up your home.
- During the summer, tilt blinds up and close drapes and shades on windows that receive direct sunlight.
- During the winter, open window coverings to allow the direct sunlight to heat rooms.
Adjust temperature with ceiling fans
- During the summer, using your ceiling fan while your air conditioner is on will allow you to raise your thermostat about 4 degrees and maintain the same level of comfort. Switch off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Also, adjust your ceiling fans to run counter clockwise to push cool air down.
- During the winter, ceiling fans should run at a low speed in a clockwise direction to gently draw room air up and force warm air down.
Smart energy use
- Turn off unnecessary lights, and use task or desktop lamps with LEDs instead of overhead lights.
- Enable the “power management” setting on all computers and turn off when not in use.
- Unplug phone chargers, power strips (those without a switch) and other equipment when not in use. The US Department of Energy estimates you can save $100 a year by unplugging devices that draw energy when they are in standby mode.
- Avoid charging electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., instead, charge overnight.
Major appliance use
- In the summer, postpone using heat-producing appliances like the oven, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer until cooler times of the day to avoid heating up your home.
- Run your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer only when full. During summer, defer use of these and other major appliances to before 4 p.m. or after 9 p.m.
- When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90 percent of the energy used in a clothes washer goes to water heating.
- Consider hanging your clothes outside to dry to save energy.
Clean or replace your filters
- A dirty filter forces your air conditioner and furnace to work harder, wasting money and energy.
Inspect your home for air leaks
- Caulk or seal around air vents, registers, doors and windows. Pay close attention to the connections where vents and registers meet floors, walls and ceilings, as these are common places for leaks.
Adjust your water heater
- Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees or the “normal” setting when home, and to the lowest setting when away. Water heating accounts for about 13 percent of home energy costs.
Head somewhere cool
- On hot afternoons, consider going somewhere cool like the community pool, library or a community-cooling center. But before you leave, remember to adjust your thermostat.
- Contact your electric utility for more energy-saving tips, and check for rebates to help reduce your energy use and monthly costs by adding more insulation, upgrading the heating and air conditioner, or replacing the pool pump.