Working the swing shift

in , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Friday, July 26, 2013
It is hot everywhere in the United States right now, no doubt about it. Since this is my husband’s busy season, we are all home more in the summer, relying on our local power grid to keep us cool and powered up.

Two weeks ago, during a super-hot and humid time, I noticed our lights dimmed every time our AC kicked on.  Not quite a full on brown out, (which can sometimes be harder on electronics than full on blackouts) but enough dimming to make us all stop and take notice.

Erring on the side of caution, I decided to voluntarily cut back our electricity consumption during peak hours.  


Here’s what I did:

1. Make sure lights, radios, laptops, etc. are off if not in use.

2. Turn AC up a degree or two until I heard complaints about it being hot. (76 or 77 depending on humidity).

3. Turn up all ceiling fans. They run day and night here and make a big difference.

4. Run the dishwasher later in the evening, around 8:30pm.

5. Do laundry later in the evening as well and hang up light tops and shorts to air dry.

6. Keep my freezer stocked. A stocked freezer stays cooler longer thereby easing the power used by this power hungry appliance.

I know these are little things, but I feel like they are making a difference. And doing chores later in the evening has been a blessing, allowing me more time to connect with my family and friends, garden and do other tasks that I normally save until later or don’t get to at all because I’m tired.  

I find I don’t mind working the swing shift that much.

Do you have rolling brown outs or black outs in your area? If so, what steps do you take to help ease your electrical usage?
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  1. I am the first one up in the morning and am out the door before everyone else is up... before I leave, I turn the air up so that it doesn't run all day and then cut it back down when I get home.

  2. I am the first one up in the morning and am out the door before everyone else is up... before I leave, I turn the air up so that it doesn't run all day and then cut it back down when I get home.

  3. No rolling brown outs here. We have AC due to a Heat Pump which we don't use until it's over 75 inside. I'm really grateful we can go about living as usual! Sorry to hear about your dilemna. Nights here are in the mid fifties which is wonderful. We're only reaching 85 in the day. For a rainy can bet we're all enjoying this!!!

  4. Hi Donna,

    Your region sounds like paradise right about now! It got down to 70 last night for the low and it felt AMAZING!

    Blessings to you my friend!

  5. Hi Kristen,

    I love hearing that you remember to turn your air conditioner up. It amazes me how many folks forget to do this simple thing.

  6. My hubby is a tech geek so this problem was right up his alley. We replaced our thermostats last year with The Nest which can be programmed with our smart phones, it learns when you are home and when you're not and it "learns" your routines, what temps you prefer and shuts off when it senses no activity for some time. The Nest has been a tremendous help to keep electric costs down during peak hours and since we can see and program it from anywhere, it has eased some cost burdens in this HOT Oklahoma climate.

    Since we are at work all day our peak hour consumption is always lower except in summer when the kids are home we try and do all we can to cut use. We load the dishwasher at night and schedule it to run in middle of night and we do laundry every night after 7 and purchased a timer for the pool pump so it only runs overnight. These steps have cut our electric bill, which last year at this time was 597 to 489. That sounds like a lot but with 6 people in the family with varying schedules, several pets, extra appliances and the HOT Oklahoma temps, that savings is huge to us!

    One thing people can do is clean the refrigerator coils. If you can keep them clean and dust free (it collects on them like huge magnets) that will help your fridge cooler so as to not work as hard to keep up with summer.

    Have a wonderful day and keep your cool in this heat!

  7. Hi Penny,

    I'm happy to see by your comment that this is a subject that really resonates with you.
    Energy conservation is something we should all work towards.
    Some of us prefer less techie methods, but the Nest thermostat does sound intriguing.

    Have a wonderful day!


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