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A major heat wave is hitting Peoria, just as anticipated energy bill hike sets in

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A heat advisory hit the Peoria area and will raise temperatures to the mid and upper 90s through Wednesday.

A statewide heat advisory warns of dangerously high temperatures in Peoria starting Monday through Wednesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Ryan Knutsvig is a meteorologist from the National Weather Service Lincoln branch.

Knutsvig said people need to take their own safety seriously with the expected high temperatures hitting over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

“This time of year, when you do see this type of heat, other concerns pop up as well including kids or pets being left in vehicles. Any time of year that can be dangerous but especially this time of year when the heat is so drastically high,” Knutsvig said.

Knutsvig said people struggling with access to air conditioning should find shelter elsewhere during peak temperatures each day. He said many communities typically open shelters during heat advisories.

Knutsvig said the most severe day will be Tuesday with morning lows around 76 degrees and a high of 98 degrees in the afternoon, but each day will bring hot temperatures in the mid to upper 90s.

“That combination of heat and humidity is what makes it feel like it’s more 105 to 110 degrees or so in heat index,” Knutsvig said.

Knutsvig said with these temperatures, everyone needs to prioritize taking care of themselves and their loved ones.

“If someone has to be outside, make sure they’re taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated with water, not necessarily with the high sugary drinks or alcohol or that type of thing. That can really aid in the threat for health concerns,” Knutsvig said. “Stay in air-conditioned environments when you can because being outdoors during something like this can definitely cause problems for people.”

Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are not the only major concerns facing Peorians with this week’s high temperatures.

“If someone has to be outside, make sure they’re taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated with water, not necessarily with the high sugary drinks or alcohol or that type of thing. That can really aid in the threat for health concerns. Staying in air-conditioned environments when you can because being outdoors during something like this can definitely cause problems for people.”
Ryan Knutsvig, National Weather Service Meteorologist

Air conditioners will get a workout this week, and that may particularly painful given the expected increase in energy bills setting in this month.

“Here, the prices have gone up a little bit lately just with gas prices because unfortunately, service bands are not fuel efficient. As for people’s utility bills, they’re not going to be pretty this year. It is probably good timing if people are on the verge of replacing just because the efficiency ratios of the new air conditioners are so much better than they were 20 years ago,” said Angela Fritch-Milton, general manager at Fritch Heating and Cooling in Peoria.

She said to avoid high bills, people need to be mindful of how much they're demanding from their air conditioners.

Fritch-Milton said since Tuesday is expected to be the hottest day this week, people need to be prepared to block off extra heat from their homes now.

“Pull the curtains and blinds, and make sure their house isn’t getting direct sunlight. That will really help with keeping the cost down. Keeping the doors closed. Trying to minimize how much baking and cooking you’re doing in the home as well as laundry especially during those hot hours of the day because those air conditioners are definitely going to be working their hardest this week. If you’re adding additional heat to the house, that’s not going to help in any way,” Fritch-Milton said.

While each home is independent and air-cooling prices will vary based off the energy efficiency ratio of individual air conditioners, most people will experience higher electric bills because of the heat advisory.

Fritch-Milton said homes that are shaded by trees and homes with strong insulation will likely not be affected as much as others.

Air conditioning companies have been preparing all week for the higher temperatures expected to last until Wednesday.

Fritch-Milton said people should be patient with their air conditioning providers because most likely, everyone will be backed up with maintenance orders during this week's heat advisory.

“This is our second heat wave of the year, so we just try to keep our board as blank as possible for this week so we can help as many people as possible. Aside from that, we’re just going to fix them one at a time and do the best that we can,” Fritch-Milton said.

“Pull the curtains and blinds, and make sure their house isn’t getting direct sunlight. That will really help with keeping the cost down. Keeping the doors closed. Trying to minimize how much baking and cooking you’re doing in the home as well as laundry especially during those hot hours of the day because those air conditioners are definitely going to be working their hardest this week. If you’re adding additional heat to the house, that’s not going to help in any way."
Angela Fritch-Milton, general manager at Fritch Heating and Cooling Services

The first major heat wave was in early May, and Fritch-Milton said this caused extreme stress on air cooling providers because it was during this time that most people first turned on all their air conditioners for the year.

Fritch-Milton said if everyone could make it through May’s heat wave, this one should be less stressful.

“We want to help everyone, and we want everybody to be comfortable in their home. However, we can only have so many hours in a day just like everybody else, so, just be patient with whoever their heating and cooling providers are because we want to help people just as much as they want to be helped, but sometimes there are limitations on how much you can do, which is difficult,” Fritch-Milton said.

Fritch-Milton said no cooling calls will be scheduled this week at Fritch Heating and Cooling due to the predicted delays.

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Jordan Mead is a reporting intern at WCBU. She joined the station in 2021.