Air conditioning use triples in BC as residents try to beat the heat

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WATCH: The summer weather that Vancouver Islanders have been waiting all year for is finally here, with temperatures forecast to be in the high 20s across the Island for the next week. BC Hydro is expecting to see peak summer-use records set because more of us than ever are cranking on air conditioners to deal with the heat.

As Vancouver Island plunges headfirst into the first big summer heatwave of 2018, Nanaimo’s Colliery Dam park was packed with pooches and people trying to beat the heat Friday.

“This is the way to beat the heat,” said swimmer Heather Hay.

“I love the contrast from the warm, the heat and this crazy exhilarating cold. It’s wonderful.”

It’s clear that she is not alone in finding ways to cool down.

“Air condition use in the province has increased about three times since 2001,” said BC Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk.

“Whereas 10 per cent of the population had air conditioning in their home, now we’re in 34 per cent across the province.”

All the air conditioning units are taking more power than in previous summers. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue, according, to BC Hydro because 25 per cent of BC residents are considering buying an air conditioner this summer.

“We wouldn’t be surprised to see some peak summer usage coming up this week with the heat wave we’re expecting and of course, increased use of air conditioners,” said Olynyk.

There are ways to lessen power use in the heat though, which helps with power bills.

BC Hydro recommends setting the AC thermostat at 25 Celsius so that the air conditioning unit isn’t always running, as well as doing preventative things in the morning to prepare for the heat that arrives later in the day.

“And make sure they close the blinds, close the windows when the sun starts to hit the windows,” said Olynyk. “Make sure they close the doors. Just treat it like its winter time reversed. You know you don’t have your window wide open in winter time to let cold air in,” said Olynyk.

They are steps that could save you a lot of money, since according to BC Hydro, running an air conditioning unit for the summer costs about $300 compared to just $6 to run a fan.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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