MASON CITY — Air conditioners will get a workout the next few days with Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories out for much of the state.
Alliant Energy spokesman Mike Wagner says customers may want to try to plan ahead wisely to avoid sticker shock when their bill comes next month. “If you look at the forecast for the next couple days, the high and the low are really close to each other. In that overnight, your air conditioner is not going to get a break, these machines are to be running in a pretty long cycle here for the next couple days. We think it’s important for customers to recognize that and then also try to look for ways to control their energy use so they will get a big surprise in August when their bills come and they’re surprised at the amount of energy they’re using.”
Wagner says you should make sure that your air conditioner has had a tune-up recently. – “A friend of mine was having problems with their air conditioner and found out that it was down to about 20% coolant. They had a service tech come out, clean it, do the service on the machine but also add more coolant, and then the machine was working much more efficiently, it wasn’t running as often and was cooling at a much better rate. There’s other things too like making sure you have a clean filter inside and out. You want to do everything you can to not restrict air flow.”
Wagner says there’s other alternatives you can think about to reduce the strain on your air conditioner. “Use your ceiling fans, use box fans, but I use those to cool you and the people in the room. Think of it kind of like using those fans as creating your own wind chill. I don’t know if I’d necessarily rely on them to circulate air around the house, but to have that cooler air blowing on you helps cool you down, and also allows you to maybe turn the temperature in your thermostat up a couple degrees so that you don’t necessarily need to have your air conditioner working quite so hard.”
Wagner says this is not the time to use your oven a lot. “This is a great time to turn your oven off. Use the stove top if you need to, use a toaster oven, Crock-Pots, instant pots are really popular. I can find an excuse to grill just about anything. You don’t want to turn the oven on. This is not really the time during the heat wave here to start baking a cake or maybe put a pizza in the oven if you don’t need to, because those are things in your air conditioner has to compete with.”