DETROIT – Each summer season, energy bills tend to rise with the temperatures -- especially during periods of intense heat, when the air conditioners are working as hard as they can to keep your homes cool.
Though more costly energy bills are almost inevitable during the summer months, there are still ways to keep those costs down some, according to DTE Energy. Officials say that by taking certain steps and avoiding certain activities, residents can use less energy and save some money on their utility bills.
Here are some money-saving tips, as written by DTE:
- Use a microwave or outdoor grill to cook instead of your oven, which adds extra heat into your home especially in the afternoon when outdoor temperatures hit their peak. If you do have to cook in the kitchen, turn on your exhaust fan to move the hot air outside.
- Let your dishes air dry in the dishwasher instead of using the heated drying feature, which can leak heat into your kitchen, raising indoor temperatures and humidity levels.
- Postpone doing laundry, washing your dishes or running the dishwasher until the evening when outdoor temperatures have cooled down a bit.
- Take quicker showers at a cooler temperature than normal. Steaming hot showers fill up your bathroom with hot humid air which can cause your air conditioner to work harder to cool the room back down.
- Use shading devices -- blinds, curtains, window film and solar screens -- on west- and south-facing windows to block heat caused by sunlight in the summer.
- Check heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters monthly, especially during the summer. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system worker harder to keep you cool, wasting energy.
DTE Energy customers can also received cash back rebates on air conditioner replacements and diagnostic tune ups, officials said. Learn more about the rebates on DTE’s website right here.
Protecting yourself during a heat wave
Temperatures are reaching dangerous levels on Wednesday, June 15, across Southeast Michigan. Anyone spending a significant amount of time outdoors will want to be extra cautious, as heat indices are expected to reach 100-105 degrees.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration are serious issues that can occur in people and in pets.
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your health during periods of intense heat. Here are some steps, as listed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:
- Drink more fluids and avoid liquids with large amounts of sugar or alcohol.
- Limit outdoor activities to when it is the coolest in the morning and evening.
- Spend time indoors in air conditioning.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
- Wear sunscreen, as sunburn affects a body’s ability to cool down.
People are also urged to check on loved ones and elderly neighbors to see if they need any help.
“Young children, older adults and those who have medical conditions are at increased risk for heat-related illness, so be sure to check frequently on them and others in your community who may need additional assistance,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian. “Limit time in heat, stay hydrated, avoid direct sunlight and find somewhere with air conditioning or take cool showers. Text or call 211 or contact your local health department to locate a cooling center in your area.”
There are a number of symptoms that may indicate you’re experiencing a heat-related illness. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:
- Heavy sweating,
- Muscle cramps,
- Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F), and/or
Experts say that if you notice these symptoms in yourself, get to a cool, shaded place and drink a lot of water. If you don’t feel better within an hour, it is a good idea to see a doctor.
If you think you’re experiencing heat stroke, do not wait: Call 911 or get to a hospital right away.