With the temperatures in the Yakima Valley forecast to be well into the triple digits for the next couple of weeks (can you say 111 degrees?!?!), it is imperative that you keep yourself, pets and elderly family, friends and neighbors safe from the upcoming heatwave.

The folks at Pacific Power have released some interesting tips that you might not be aware of. In fact, when I read them, some sounded sort of counter-intuitive but, after some thought, stand to logic and reason.

Be air conditioner smart

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees. Cooling your house below that temperature can increase your air conditioning bill as much as 8 percent.
  • Don’t turn off the air conditioner when you’re gone; instead set it at 85 degrees. That setting allows your air conditioner to use less electricity to cool the house than if the air conditioning has been off all day.
  • Use a smart or programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature around your schedule. Set it to start bringing your home’s temperature from 85 degrees down to 78 degrees no more than 30 minutes before you get home.

I don't know if I could stand 78 degrees inside but I suppose I could get used to it. A damp towel around the neck and a few minutes standing underneath the AC vent can bring your skin's temp down in a hurry.

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Don’t let the sun shine in

  • On warm days, close blinds and drapes, especially in south-facing windows which allow in the most heat.

Many homes nowadays are built extremely efficiently as in they keep heat and or cool air in for a long time.

Open windows and circulate cool air

  • Open windows in evening and early morning to let in cool air.
  • Use fans to bring in and circulate cool air. Ceiling and window fans use much less electricity than air conditioning. Running an air conditioner in fan-only mode can also be effective as outside temperatures drop.

Having grown up in a century-old farm house that had mostly picture windows that didn't open, we learned the value of this practice at a very young age. Good advice!

Reduce the heat inside

  • Use heat-producing appliances like ovens, dishwashers and dryers in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
  • Use a microwave, slow cooker or toaster oven. A toaster oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a regular oven and releases less heat into the home.
  • Turn off heat-generating devices when not in use, including lamps, televisions and computers.

This tip is one that I had previously never thought too much about but it definitely stands to reason! I will be telling my wife and son about being aware of this.

Be safe.

With sweltering temperatures, you need to protect yourself. Drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Also check on any neighbors who may have limited contact with others and may need a fan or other assistance.

With today being National Hydration Day, drinking lots of fluids -- ESPECIALLY good, old-fashioned water -- cannot be overstated. Remember, soda and beer are diuretics that will actually dehydrate you as well.

I hope that some of these ideas and tips are news to you like they were to me or, at least, good reminders for keeping cool and safe during what should be an absolutely blistering start to Summer in the Yakima Valley.

Unlike the words of The Most Interesting Man in the World, DON'T stay thirsty, my friends!

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