Tips for conserving energy on hot summer days

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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MADISON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Your air conditioner has probably been working overtime these past couple weeks due to the heat. One electric co-op even says they are seeing a spike in energy usage as people are trying to cool down.

Lori Engebretson and her daughter Madelyn are enjoying spending a lot of time outdoors this summer.

“We like to play outside in the pool and make water balloons and play on the swing set, go for bike rides, go to the park, go to the lake,” said Engebretson.

Like many folks they are trying to beat the heat, which includes using their air conditioner.

For East River Electric Power Cooperative, the peak demand for energy just hit an all time record level for the summer.

The co-op usually doesn’t experience peak demands until July.

“Load levels, when it gets to a certain point, (staff) they can actually turn off some equipment that we have out there, whether it’s water heaters, irrigation equipment, some other types of equipment that we have out there, ’' said Chris Studer, East River Electric Public Relations Officer.

However, Studer says it was just too hot.

At East River Electric, crews keep track of load levels from folks using power such as running the air conditioner.

“They are watching to try to lessen our peak demand because in the hottest day of the summer and coldest day of the winter is when electricity is most expensive,” said Studer.

“Over the last 35 years or so we’ve saved consumers about $300 million in wholesale power costs just by watching that diligently every single month,” he added.

There’s things we can all do to conserve energy and save money. Engebretson has some of her own tips and tricks.

“My folks always told me when we were growing up to work smarter not harder and so my husband and I have tried to make the house work smarter in that we use all LED light bulbs and we installed a nest thermostat that could keep track of our patterns and conserve energy that way,” Engebretson.

She also tries to keep doors and blinds closed. She also makes sure vents aren’t blocked by furniture.

“Trying not to run the stove or the washer and dryer or things like that during the day, but rather at night,” Engebretson.

Any little bit she can do to help keep usage down and cut costs.

Other tips include:

  1. Turn off unnecessary lighting
  2. Wash clothes in cold water. Use hot water only for very dirty loads
  3. Only wash full loads of laundry
  4. Clean dryer’s lint trap before each load
  5. Set the water heater temperature no higher than 120 degrees F.
  6. Limit shower lengths to 5-7 minutes.
  7. Use the microwave for cooking when possible
  8. Only run the dishwasher when fully loaded.

For more energy-saving tips head to

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