Hot, humid today: Warmer temps mean higher energy consumption

Abigail Hodson, 7, of Stephens City, cools off by a water spout at the Strasburg pool on Thursday. Temperatures hit the low 90s during the afternoon with heat index figures near 100. Rich Cooley/Daily

As temperatures continued to rise Thursday into today, with heat indices getting close to 100 degrees, home and office energy consumption will also be on the rise, according to the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative.

Temperatures got as high as 91 degrees Thursday and are expected to be in the low 90s again today. And, as Howard Silverman of the National Weather Service in Sterling explained, higher dew points will make it feel even hotter.

“The dew points, the measure of the actual amount of moisture that is in the air, is up to 72 to 75,” Silverman said. “Dew points at that level, that’s when it feels really humid outside. It’s the combination of temperature and humidity that’s causing the situation that we have right now.”

Temperatures will start to fall later in the day today as a cold front is expected to move through the area.

“We have a cold front coming in Friday that will provide clouds at first, then rain eventually,” Silverman said. “High temperatures may not get to 90 on Friday, at least for the Shenandoah Valley. It still may feel like 92 or 93, but that cold front that will be coming, that will be the key to break everything.”

While most people will be cranking up the air conditioning to try to beat the heat, SVEC compiled a list of tips to use to try to keep energy bills low for consumers. Here are some recommendations:

• Set air conditioner thermostats higher than usual, if health conditions permit it.

• Close curtains and blinds to keep out the sun and retain cooler air inside.

• Turn off electric appliances and equipment that are not needed or being used.

• Buy appliances that are ENERGY STAR® qualified.

• Unplug as many appliances and other items that use electricity as possible, since many of those devices continue to draw power, even if they are turned off.

• If clothes dryer has a moisture sensor, be sure to use it to keep from over-drying clothes.

• Air dry dishes instead of using the dishwasher’s drying cycle.

• Lower the temperature on water heater to 120 or even 115 degrees.

• Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs can save you about 50 percent on electric costs for running your lights.