Tips to save energy and protect your home during inclement weather| Trending Viral hub

Heat waves and winter storms combined with power outages are a dangerous recipe that can have tragic results.

Extreme weather-induced power outages mean sweltering under unrelenting heat or subzero temperatures without power to operate an air conditioner or heater.

He National Metereological Service has issued a severe Weather alert for a winter storm that is expected to hit the tri-state area on February 12 and continue through February 13. Residents in the tri-state area should be prepared for heavy snowfall and gusty winds.

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Blackouts caused by winter storms and summer heat waves may leave residents helpless, but they are fundamentally different problems with essentially opposite solutions. Winter blackouts are usually caused by a significant or sudden drop in power supply to the grid. A natural gas power plant goes offline, turbines stop spinning, or a snow-laden tree falls on a power line, cutting off service.

Blackouts During a heat wave, on the other hand, they are usually caused by an excess demand for electricity. They are usually caused by thousands of households turning on their air conditioners at the same time to escape the heat. This is why utility companies and other officials often appeal to customers to conserve energy when the mercury rises.

These calls for energy conservation help prevent blackouts, said Yami Newell, associate director of community projects for Raise, a Chicago-based nonprofit that works on energy issues. But it can also lead to some difficult decisions for people who must figure out how to reduce their own energy consumption.

Newell emphasized that reducing energy consumption doesn’t have to mean simply sweating and suffering.

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“In the summer it can be dangerously hot and people haven’t survived that, so I don’t want people to conserve so much energy that their home isn’t safe,” Newell said.

Instead, experts recommend certain safe energy-saving tips that can be used during a heat wave when the grid is overloaded or simply to reduce your energy bill. For winter weather, the best advice is to be prepared, either with a backup power source or supplies to get you through a blackout.

Read more: Weather app channel is updated and here are all the new features.

Tips on how to prepare when power is in short supply during hot or cold weather

Fortunately, there are many safety compromises that can reduce energy waste in the summer and also keep you safe in the winter.

Heat waves

  • Newell says you start by keeping the air fresher in your home by checking for leaks and taking advantage of the potential energy efficiency improvements. “In winter it keeps warm air in and in summer it keeps cold air in the house.”

  • closing the blinds When the sun is out it keeps direct light out of your home and is a low-effort way to reduce heat that really works.

  • fans They do not reduce the temperature of a room, but they do and will help humans regulate their body temperature. keep you cool. Newell says a ceiling fan can make you feel 6 to 7 degrees colder than the actual temperature of a room.

  • Running large appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines at night When there is less demand for energy the load on the grid can also be reduced. In some places, electricity rates are cheaper during these off-peak hoursThis way you will also save money.

  • Newell also defends something called “front cooling,” which runs the air conditioner during these off-peak hours to keep your home nice and cool in anticipation of a hot day. This works best in well-sealed, energy-efficient homes.

The sun sets behind skyscrapers in downtown Los Angeles, California

Downtown Los Angeles, California, on September 30, 2020. Heat waves add demand to the power grid. The added stress can cause blackouts or brownouts.

Frederic J. Brown/Getty

Winter weather:

  • Invest in a backup power source as a generator either battery system. There is a wide range of backup power solutions on the market, from whole home gas generators costing tens of thousands of dollars to inexpensive portable batteries You can charge a wall socket in advance to provide several hours of power to essential devices when the power goes out. More on these options in the next section.

  • Consider a non-electric heat source, such as a wood stove. There are also a limited number of gas or propane heaters that can operate safely indoors. If you opt for such a heat source, be sure to follow all instructions for using such a heater safely to avoid causing a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Stock up on supplies. If you don’t have a backup power source, or even if you do, it’s a good idea to have enough food, blankets, water, warm clothing (dress in layers), batteries, and light sources (be careful). with candles) by hand.

  • Air condition your house before the storm comes. If your house is a certain age, there is a good chance that you have a heat leak somewhere. Sealing those leaks and adding insulation will keep you warmer a little longer when the heat runs out. These improvements also qualify for a federal tax credit.

How to protect yourself from power outages

One way to never worry about power outages is to set up your own energy generation and storage system. This can be done in the form of solar panels and battery storagewhich comes with the added benefit of power sell the extra power you generate to your local public service in exchange for credits on your monthly bill.

Some electric vehicles offer a bidirectional charging where your electric vehicle’s battery can act as a backup power source.

Other homeowners opt for the arguably simpler approach of installing a backup generator which can kick in to power your home when the grid goes out. You can also buy backup batteries which you can charge via the grid or however you want to use it in an emergency, instead of a generator which can be noisy and uses fossil fuels. This is usually the least expensive option, but it must be charged before an emergency and only lasts a few hours or days at most, depending on usage.

A man checking his Tesla Powerwall home battery backup system

You can store energy and protect yourself during a power outage with a home battery backup system.

Solar Sentinel/Getty

Mike Murphy, owner of PrepSOSwhich sells generators and other emergency preparedness equipment, said relatively affordable portable generators (often available for less than $1,000) can keep medical equipment and other essential devices running or prevent food from spoiling.

“You can turn on the refrigerator, run it for a while, and then unplug it and easily keep food cold for at least three days.”

However, these small generators may not work as well to run an air conditioner for long during a summer heat outage, so it’s also important to know how to conserve energy.

If neither of these options are available, Newell reiterates that it is prudent to have a supply of non-perishable food on hand in case the network goes down for an extended period and is without a backup power supply.

“Also flashlights, things that don’t need to be plugged in but still provide light to your home,” Newell said.

He adds that the implementation of smart grid technology nationwide is also greatly reducing the time many utility customers remain without power during outages caused by extreme weather events like storms.

Con Edison field operators in New York City check power cables at the corner of First Ave. and E. 15th St. as they try to avoid a blackout due to increased consumption during the heat wave.

According to the New York Daily News, increased power consumption during a heat wave in New York last August caused power cables to need repair. These Con Edison field operators are trying to avoid a blackout while working to fix it.

New York Daily News Archive/Getty

How reducing energy consumption can help the grid

The stability of an electrical grid, and really any electrical system, depends on the ability to maintain a constant supply of energy to meet the demand of the devices that extract or consume energy.

This is why things can go crazy in your home if you plug too many things into a single circuit that isn’t designed to handle that much demand. Your home’s circuit breakers are actually set to cut off the flow of power in the circuit when this happens to prevent damage to your devices or electrical system.

Something similar can happen to the largest power grid when heat waves and thousands of energy-hungry people hit. air conditioners They are all on at the same time. If demand begins to approach a state that exceeds the available supply of electricity on the grid, the utility must begin the rolling process. blackouts to avoid damage to the system. If preventive measures are not implemented in time and the system becomes overloaded and causes an unplanned outage, the lights may remain off for longer periods of time until damaged components can be repaired or replaced.

Running multiple electric heaters in a large room on a cold winter day could trip a circuit breaker in your home in the same way that a heat wave-induced power demand could trigger a broader blackout.

Employing passive cooling techniques, such as simply drawing light-colored curtains during sunny hours, can reduce temperatures in your home as well as your energy consumption. Even taking simple measures that reduce the ambient temperature by a few degrees results in less energy use.

All these tips and actions They may seem like small measures that have no effect on your energy grid, but if enough people take steps to conserve energy during extreme weather events, it could help have a larger impact.

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