Tips to keep house cool, lower power bills during heat wave

DARBY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- As the sun beats down on the Delaware Valley during this oppressive heat wave, the temperature inside homes is going up.

"We're running around with our heads chopped off," said Cavon Bennett, owner of Heat-n-Air Guys in Darby. "They need air like right now. A lot of people have been putting them off and didn't think things were happening until they see the temperatures of their thermostats going up. They want us to get there as soon as possible."

With appliances like air conditioning units working overtime and more people working from home, electricity bills are on the rise.

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"In terms of increases in usage, we're seeing that there's more demand that's placed on the system," said Greg Smore, senior manager of communications for PECO.

According to PJM, the nation's largest electric grid operator serving 13 states including the tri-state area, last year's peak energy demand was about 144,000 megawatts. Monday's demand was 142,000 megawatts. One megawatt can power about 800 homes.

Experts say there are really easy ways to lower that electricity bill as the heat wave continues to roll through.

"About 40% of unwanted heat comes through windows, so simply closing your blinds or curtains -- it acts as insulation and dramatically reduces heat in your home," said Smore.

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And if you have an AC unit, Bob Cermignano, owner of Bob Cermignano Air Conditioning and Heating, advises homeowners to make sure the outside unit is free from plants, shrubs, dirt and grass clippings.

"So what a homeowner can do is make sure they're trimmed back, give it at least 12-18 inches worth of air space around it," said Cermignano.

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