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Beat the heat: Minnesota Commerce Department offers tips to stay safe, cool

7/19/2016 3:56:13 PM

SAINT PAUL – With much of Minnesota heading into a potentially dangerous heat wave, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is urging Minnesotans to take some basic steps to stay safe and cool while also conserving energy.

“With high humidity and temperatures that may reach or exceed 100 degrees, this is a time when Minnesotans want to make sure they are doing all they can to keep their homes safe and cool,” said Rothman, whose agency serves as the state energy office for Minnesota. “Minnesotans can also take some basic steps to conserve energy and save on cooling costs so the heat doesn’t bust their budgets.”

Rothman offers the following tips for Minnesotans to stay cool and save energy during the heat wave:

  • Make sure your air conditioner is running efficiently. Keep the coils clean and free of dust, dirt and debris to increase the efficiency and life of your AC. Replace filters regularly. 

  • Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. This is a reasonably comfortable and energy-efficient indoor temperature. It can save 15 percent or more on cooling costs compared to a 72 degree setting.

  • Keep cool air inside. Close curtains and blinds and pull shades during the daytime when temperatures are the hottest.

  • Use fans. Ceiling and oscillating fans create a windchill effect that can make you feel cooler and reduce the need for air conditioning. But turn the fan off when not in the room. 

  • Avoid using the oven. Use a stove, microwave oven or outdoor grill. Ovens take longer to cook and can make your house warmer, requiring more from your air conditioner. 

  • Conserve power. Turn off devices when you are not using them (including lights, TVs, entertainment systems and computers). They not only consume energy, they also add heat to the home. 

Rothman also noted that Minnesota law prohibits a utility from disconnecting a residential customer’s electricity because of unpaid bills when the county is included in an excessive heat watch, heat advisory or excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service. 

Commerce is here to help

If you have a question about how to stay cool and save energy, contact the Minnesota Commerce Department’s Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710.

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