Summer is here in all its humid, sticky, uncomfortable glory.

Heat waves increase demand for electricity as you use air conditioners and fans. One thing sure to cool your thoughts: Our system is reliable. We work year-round to strengthen the electrical system so you can depend on it when you need it the most, especially when temperatures near triple digits.

When Mother Nature cranks up the furnace, you want to know how you can save and how you can stay safe. We have you covered on both counts.

Here are seven ways you can save energy and money this summer:

  • Let nature keep you cool. Open windows in your house to create a breeze, if it’s possible for you to do so. If it’s cool at night but hot during the day, you can open your windows at night and turn off the air conditioning. In the morning, close the windows and blinds and turn the air conditioning back on.
  • Use ceiling fans. Ceiling fans allow you to raise your thermostat but still keep cool by creating a breeze. Just remember to turn them off when you leave the room!
  • Install a programmable thermostat. If you’ll be out of your house for a large portion of the day, a programmable thermostat can automatically raise the temperature while you’re gone and lower it again before you get home.
  • Avoid adding heat to your home. On hot days, avoid using the oven, which heats up your home. You can grill outdoors, or use the microwave. Dry clothing outdoors, if possible, instead of using the clothes dryer. Defer running the dishwasher until nighttime. Lights also add heat, so consider cooler-burning LED lights.
  • Seal and save. Caulking and weather stripping is not just for winter. By sealing your home well, you’ll prevent cool air from escaping.
  • Shield your air conditioner. If you’re using a room air conditioner, avoid placing any appliance nearby that would generate heat such as lamps, a computer or a television. The extra heat may interfere with the air conditioner’s thermostat. Try to place the air conditioner in a shaded location outdoors, if possible. If you have central air conditioning, you can use landscaping to create shade.
  • Check your water heater temperature. According to the Department of Energy, up to 25 percent of your electricity use may go to heating water. Turning down your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees can save you energy and money – and may even prevent burns.

As for staying safe, we urge everyone to take measures to avoid heat stress and keep their homes cool. In times like these, air conditioning is a matter of health and safety, not only convenience and comfort. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the primary way to prevent heat illness is with air conditioning. You should also drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. Last but not least, check on your elderly relatives and neighbors.