Excessive heat is expected to blanket Michigan soon, and there are some things you can do to help keep yourself safe and also save money, since air conditioning units are going to be working overtime during the extreme temperatures and heat indices.

Temperatures at or above 95 degrees, and a heat index in the 100s or higher, is rare in Michigan. So residents, especially the young, elderly, or those with certain medical conditions, need to take special precautions to stay safe and cool during extended heat.

Consumers Energy tips during a major heat wave:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees when you're home and higher when you’re away. Customers will typically save 1 to 3 percent on costs for every degree you dial up.
  • Clean air conditioning filters regularly. Dusty filters can make the appliance work harder, wasting energy.
  • Install a smart thermostat and program it to start the AC shortly before arriving home. Consumers Energy offers rebates of on Wi-Fi enabled thermostats.
  • Seal leaks in homes. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners could save up to 30 percent on annual energy costs by doing so. Inspect and seal around doors, windows, recessed lights and attic hatches.
  • Keep cool with fans. A ceiling fan cools fast and costs less than air conditioning. An attic fan can also reduce the need for air conditioning. Make sure ceiling fans run counterclockwise, pushing air downward to cool more efficiently.
  • Close drapes, shades and blinds during the day to prevent the sun from heating homes unnecessarily. Open windows and doors in early morning and in the evening to let cooler air in.
  • Use stoves, ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers in the morning or evening when it’s cooler outside. They add extra heat to your home and make your air conditioner work harder.
  • Sign-up for the AC Peak Cycling program, which lowers the output of air conditioner units during select summer days.

There are also concerns about those who may be struggling to pay their bills as this heat wave approaches. Call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or dial 211, a free service that connects people with available resources in their community. Assistance programs and payment arrangements are available.