As temperatures increase, so will air conditioner usage across the Treasure Valley. Idaho Power officials are encouraging customers to reduce power consumption and take steps to improve energy efficiency in your home.
The growing population in the region and spiking temperatures can put a strain on the power grid, which can lead to reliability issues. Officials also encourage people to remember AC units need maintenance that can help it run better, which can be as simple as cleaning leaves and plants away from it.
"In addition to changing your air conditioning filter, you can also make sure that your unit itself doesn't have leaves or debris from last year around it and making sure it that has free air moving can also help with efficiency," said Danielle Ready, energy adviser for Idaho Power.
With more AC use often means higher bills, but there are ways to cut back costs. In the evenings, turn AC off and use a fan. Line drying clothes instead of using the dryer can also help lower costs, as can taking a cold shower to save on water heating.
"Make sure that you are paying attention to your energy efficiency habits. When we have these really hot periods, our air conditioning units have to work harder to keep the temperatures comfortable in our homes," Ready said. "Make sure that, you know, if you're doing laundry or dishes and you are concerned about the temperature of your home, you want to be as efficient as possible, make sure you are doing those things in the early mornings or late evenings."
More energy saving tips from Idaho Power include:
- Close doors, windows and blinds during the day or when you’re away, especially on the east and west sides. If safe, open your windows at night or in the morning to let in cooler air.
- Install a smart or programmable thermostat to give your A/C a break at night and when you are away without sacrificing comfort when you need it. Idaho Power offers a $75 cash incentive when you install an internet-enabled smart thermostat in a home with an electric furnace or heat pump.
- Weather strip doors and windows to prevent losing cool air to the outside.
- Install a ceiling fan in rooms used frequently. Moving air can help you feel up to four degrees cooler. Ceiling fans are effective in homes both with and without A/C.
- Turn the A/C off when you’re going to be gone for an extended period.
- Check your A/C’s air handler or furnace filter. Dirty filters reduce a system’s efficiency.
- Consider installing an attic fan to draw hot air out of the house.
Idaho Power officials are reminding customers summer rates began June 1, so customers may see an increase on bills.