CPS Energy issues high energy demand alert for Sept. 1, explains why ACs can’t keep up with extreme heat

Christel Deskins

SAN ANTONIO – It’s September and while the start of fall is just weeks away, the temperatures definitely still scream summer. It’s why CPS Energy is expecting another high energy demand day on Tuesday and is asking residents to reduce their electricity demand to avoid rolling brown- or black-outs. Did […]

SAN ANTONIO – It’s September and while the start of fall is just weeks away, the temperatures definitely still scream summer.

It’s why CPS Energy is expecting another high energy demand day on Tuesday and is asking residents to reduce their electricity demand to avoid rolling brown- or black-outs.

Did you know that your air-conditioning system doesn’t cool efficiently when your thermostat is set more than 20 degrees cooler than the temperature outside?

“Air conditioning systems are not designed for extreme heat. They are made to cool indoor air to about 20 degrees from outdoors,” a CPS Energy Newsroom blog states.

CPS Energy calls it “the 20-degree differential,” saying that while your AC system may work efficiently when temperatures get up to the mid-90s, once temperatures and heat indexes get over 100, your AC compressor has to work extra hard. You’ll notice your system running longer with shorter off-cycle times. That means greater energy use and higher bills for you.

They offered the following tips to better manage your bill and keep your AC from breaking down:

CPS Energy tips for minimizing AC costs.
CPS Energy tips for minimizing AC costs. (CPS Energy)

High energy demand days happen a few days each summer when demand for electricity is highest, and they typically occur 3p.m. and 7p.m. on very hot days.

What to do on high energy demand days:

  • Pay attention to messaging from Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) requesting you to reduce energy demand during certain hours.
  • Set thermostats 2° to 3° higher from 3p.m. to 7p.m. Set programmable thermostats to higher temperatures when no one is home
  • If home, use fans to feel 4° to 6° cooler.
  • Set pool pumps to run early morning or overnight & shut off from 3p.m. to 7p.m.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e. ovens, washing machines, etc.), especially during peak demand hours or the hours specified in the conservation appeal.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
  • Review the energy-saving tips for air conditioning, refrigerator & freezer, washer, dryer & dishwasher, electronics and lighting.

Read even more energy-saving tips below:

  • Measure appliance energy use with a plug-in power meter, which is a small device that can help you understand what and where your household is consuming energy daily. This provides you with information, which you can use to run a more energy-efficient household.
  • Minimize appliance use during times of peak energy demand.
  • To help reduce the effect of peak energy demand, charge your electric vehicle between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Adjust the brightness setting on your television and computer screens to use less power. Factory settings may not be optimized for energy efficiency.
  • Choose an energy efficient television. Newer models are generally more efficient; however, plasma screens use 2-3 times more energy than LED screens.
  • Select efficient office equipment. Choose laptop computers, which consume less electricity than desktop computers.
  • Set your computer to “sleep mode” when not in use; turn it off at night.
  • Turn off and unplug electronics when they’re not in use; use power strips to easily turn off electronics.
  • Ceiling fans should run counterclockwise in the summer.
  • A ceiling fan can make a room feel 4 degrees cooler. Turn off the ceiling fan when no one is in the room
  • Use energy-efficient fans. An ENERGY STAR® ceiling fan is up to 60% more energy-efficient than non-certified fans. They require a higher initial investment but consume less energy over time.
  • Insulate outlets and light switches that are located on external walls.
  • Insulate walls, attic and crawl spaces. CPS Energy offers a rebate for fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam attic insulation, which is installed between air-conditioned and unconditioned areas. Learn more at cpsenergy.com/savings.
  • Enjoy unplugged activities. Play board games, cards, read a book, take a walk, ride a bicycle, or take a nap.
  • Get a rebate for building energy efficiency into your new home. Developers are eligible for incentives for building homes that consume at least 15% less electric and gas energy than a home built to the requirements of IECC 2015, the current City of San Antonio building code. Learn more at cpsenergy.com/savings.
  • Make your roof a cool roof using eligible materials and get a rebate. Learn more at cpsenergy.com/savings.
  • Reduce investment costs with rebates while upgrading your home. Learn more at cpsenergy.com/savings.
  • Choose an efficient dehumidifier. Efficiency is determined by the dehumidifier’s power draw, moisture removal rate, and the fact that higher-capacity models are generally more efficient than lower-capacity models. Smaller capacity units draw less power per unit time than large-capacity units so they need to operate for a longer time to remove the same amount of moisture.
  • Adjust the temperature on window AC units for less cooling during times of peak energy demand.
  • Block air drafts around your doors and windows to prevent cool air from escaping.
  • Keep the area around your air conditioning vents and outdoor AC unit clear.
  • Have an HVAC tune-up twice a year, at the beginning of each heating and cooling season.
  • Replace or clean HVAC air filters regularly to keep them from becoming clogged, which causes your air
  • conditioning system to work less efficiently.
  • Seal gaps around window AC units to prevent cool air from escaping and hot air from entering.
  • Set your thermostat to 78°F in the summer.
  • Install a programmable Wi-Fi thermostat & enroll it in our program to get rebates. Learn more at cpsenergy.com/savings.
  • Replace or add a window unit and get a rebate of $15-$25. Learn more at cpsenergy.com/savings.
  • Replace your Central Air Conditioner and get a rebate of $90-$310 per ton. Learn more at cpsenergy.com/savings.
  • Cook meals in large batches and avoid peeking into the oven as you cook. Related blog post with more energy-
  • saving cooking tips
  • Avoid running the dishwasher during times of peak energy demand.
  • Buy ENERGY STAR® products certified to save energy.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it is full.
  • Hang laundry to dry.

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