How to Keep Your Cool In Spite of ERCOT’s Warning
Beginning on May 3, ERCOT has issued several warnings hot temperatures for this Mother’s Day Weekend and beyond. According to one ABC weather forecast, “soaring temperatures that could either flirt with or break records this weekend.” Hot temperatures and high electricity demand for air conditioning could start as early as Friday, May 6, at 3 pm and last until Saturday evening at 7 pm. High demand may return Tuesday, May 10 and last overnight to May 11. But even with inflation and rising energy supplier prices, the last thing anyone in Texas wants is to make their special lady sweaty and uncomfortable on their special day. So let’s check out our 7 best ways to keep cool this Mother’s Day. Not only will you save money by cutting your AC usage but your mom will thank you for it.
ERCOT Emergency Conditions
When temperatures get really hot in Texas, like it’s forecast to be in the coming days, the air conditioners of ERCOT’s 26 million customers all spin up. And with each one at a rough average using 2 to 3 kilowatts per hour, that adds up to a LOT of electricity. It’s this kind of sudden and lengthy high demand that can push the ERCOT grid to the danger zone.
And while ERCOT plans to have a total capacity of 94,394 MW this spring to handle a fairly high peak demand, generators aren’t always available due to required maintenance or sudden repairs.
To prevent this, ERCOT issues warnings about high electricity demand due to hot weather in order to warn generator companies that are either planning to shut down for repairs or maintenance that they should get ready to make power instead. This way, ERCOT can be sure it has available reserve capacity to meet higher-than-expected demand.
High Temperatures = High Electric Bills
For Texas electricity customers, these heat waves usually mean that your air conditioner is going to run almost constantly and really push up your electric bill at the end of the month. So to keep those bills lower, it really pays you to figure out how to reduce your AC use. And after years of sweat-drenched research into cutting electric bills, we’ve come up with the best ways that actually work.
Keep Cool and Keep Some Cash
1 Plan. Find out the weather forecast and plan your meals accordingly. For example, a 95°F day is not really the best time to bake bread and lasagne for dinner. Use the microwave or stove instead. Otherwise, the oven’s heat will just add to your home’s cooling load.
2. Run your dryer and dishwasher later at night. Apart from the fact that electricity is cheaper at night, remember that these kinds of appliances radiate heat into your home and that adds to your home’s cooling load. Your home loses radiates the heat energy that it absorbed during day at night.
3. Cut the humidity. The human body has a great cooling mechanism called “sweating”. Even a little bit of sweating helps you keep cool. However, the higher the relative humidity in your home, the harder it is for your body to sweat. For example, An 82°F day with 90% humidity feels like it’s 91°F.
Air conditioners don’t work efficiently unless they can remove water vapor from the air before cooling it. You can reduce the humidity in your home by running a dehumidifier (which uses less energy than AC). True, it will produce some waste heat but it is much dryer. You can also set a clothes drying rack over the exhaust vent to dry wet clothes instead of using the dryer.
Be a Big Fan of Fans
4 Use ceiling fans, box fans, and floor fans. Not only do fans move the air around, their breeze helps keep your body feel cool by sweating.
5. Sweating is the way your body naturally cools itself. So keep everyone well-hydrated with water and fruit juice. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Avoid alcohol, sports drinks, soda, coffee, or tea as these can actually dehydrate you.
6. Open windows and use window fans after only after sunset. During the day, your home absorbs infrared heat from the sun. At night, it releases this heat through radiative cooling. Opening your windows and running fans at night to blow a cross breeze through your home will cool it faster. This is especially effective when you set up a fan to blow the heated air up out from your living area into your attic and out.
7. Get up early and close up. Just as the sun clears the horizon close up all the windows before the day warms up. This will delay your need to turn on the air conditioning for several hours. Also be sure to close all the curtains. This slows the speed at which outside heat can radiate through your window panes into your home. Medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gain in a room by 33%.
The Best Way to Keep Cool
It’s no surprise that the best way to reduce your summer cooling bills is to shop for the best retail energy provider. With broiling summer temps on tap, Texas electricity rates will rise. If you’re paying a variable rate you need to lock in a fixed rate plan at https://www.texaselectricityratings.com as soon as possible to avoid getting burned by your summer electric bills!