Temperatures on Friday were predicted to be in the 90s, with a possible heat index (a measure of how hot it feels) of more than 100 degrees. CUB posted these tips, at www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org, and invited Chicagoans to share their own tips:
- Raising your thermostat by only two degrees and using a ceiling fan can lower air conditioning costs by up to 14 percent over the summer. But be smart about it—don't raise the temperature to an unsafe level. Many utilities recommend setting your thermostat at 74-78 degrees when you're at home.
- Fans alone aren't adequate in a heat wave, but they can be used with an air conditioner—so you don't have to blast the AC. Run a ceiling fan counter-clockwise, from your position looking up at it, to create a downdraft, and make sure to turn off your fan when you leave the room. (Fans cool people, not rooms.)
- Delay heat-producing tasks, such as dishwashing, baking, or laundry, until the cooler night or early morning hours. Consider grilling out, to keep the kitchen from overheating and your AC from over-working. If grilling isn't for you, microwave your meals instead.
- Turn off and unplug extra appliances that just produce more heat and make your home hotter (TV, computers, laptops, and gadgets like your phone charger).
- Keep hot air out by sealing gaps around windows and doors. Shut blinds during the sunny daytime hours to prevent your air conditioner from working harder to cool the home.
- Clean your air conditioning unit's filter at least once every three months. It's an easy way to improve the unit's performance and to save energy.
- If your air conditioner is running, make sure to close doors to rooms you don't use often. The smaller the space to cool, the less work it takes for your system to cool it down.
- Make sure your neighbors are safe. Illinois has free cooling centers. (For more information, call the Illinois Department of Human Services hotline at 1-800-843-6154 during normal business hours.) Shopping malls, public libraries and the homes of friends and family also can be cool places of refuge.
CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, it has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline, 1-800-669-5556, or visit its award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
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SOURCE Citizens Utility Board