ALBANY — It's going to heat up again this weekend, and there are ways that individuals can help themselves or others.
For example, taking smart steps to reduce energy use, particularly during periods of peak demand not only helps to lower New York state's peak load, will save consumers money when electricity is the most expensive, the New York State Energy Research and Development.
To reduce energy use, particularly during peak periods, the public is encouraged to take these low- or no-cost energy-saving measures:
* Close drapes, windows and doors on your home's sunny side to reduce solar heat buildup.
* Turn off air conditioners, lights and other appliances when not at home and use a timer to turn on air conditioners about a half-hour before arriving home.
* If purchasing an air conditioner, look for an Energy Star-qualified model, as they use up to 25 percent less energy than a standard model.
* Fans can make rooms feel five to 10 degrees cooler and use 80 percent less energy than air conditioners.
* Set your air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher to save on your cooling costs.
* Place your air conditioner in a central window, rather than a corner window, to allow for better air movement.
* Seal spaces around the air conditioner with caulking to prevent cool air from escaping.
* Clean the cooling and condenser fans plus the coils to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently and check the filter every month and replace as needed.
* Use appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and ovens early in the morning or late at night, which will reduce humidity and heat in the home.
* Microwave food when possible to use about 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens.
* Dry clothes on a clothes line, if possible.
* Be mindful of the different ways you're consuming water throughout your home. Instead of using 30 to 40 gallons of water to take a bath, install a low-flow showerhead, which uses less than 3 gallons a minute.
The upcoming heat will lure many people onto waterways around the state. Boaters are encouraged to take proper safety precautions when boating.
People paddling canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards should know their abilities and take precautions when there are high or steady winds creating large waves, or when they are in strong currents.
Paddlers in waters where there are motorboats should keep close to shorelines and out of main channels.
The State Parks Marine Services Bureau offers these safety tips:
* Wear a personal floatation device whenever they are on the water. State law requires that children under age 12 wear a personal flotation device while on a watercraft.
* Complete a safe boating course.
* Properly equip and inspect vessels.
* Maintain a prudent speed.
* Refrain from mixing alcohol with boating.
* Check the weather forecast before heading out on the water to learn about potential storms, and seek immediate shelter on shore if thunder is audible.