City of St. Louis Park Email Update from Aug 1, 2022
After a brief break from the heat last week, August weather is making a comeback with high humidity and temperatures forecasted in the 90s for most of this week. Tuesday Aug 2 was expected to be the hottest, with a heat advisory going into effect from 1 to 8 p.m. and heat index values as high as 105 degrees.
As extreme heat and humidity becomes more common in Minnesota, it’s important to know how you can stay safe, stay cool and reduce your energy bills.
Minnesota summers are becoming increasingly more humid, a factor that can contribute to uncomfortable and even dangerous weather conditions. Below are some ways to stay safe in the heat.
- Stay informed about heat alerts from the National Weather Service, especially if it’s necessary for you to be outdoors.
- Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, as well as what to do if it impacts you or others. Learn more on extreme heat tips from the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Don’t have air conditioning? Check out Hennepin County’s map of cooling centers.
Energy bill assistance and resources
If you are behind on your bills, help is available.
Payment plan credit program
Xcel Energy’s Payment Plan Credit Program will forgive up to 75% of overdue utility bills between $1,000 – $4,000. To confirm eligibility and sign up, call 800.895.4999.
Alternate payment plans
Xcel Energy offers many payment options, including payment arrangements to spread your bill out over time and average monthly payment plans where you pay an agreed upon fixed amount each month, averaging your energy costs over 12 months. You can also set custom due dates to pay your bill when it’s most convenient to you. Learn more about your payment options.
Additional resources are available to help residents and renters pay rent and utility bills:
Applications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Energy Assistance Program open in September. Learn more and apply online.
Simple summer savings tips
- Clean your air conditioner coils and replace old air filters. View helpful instructions.
- If you have a window air conditioning unit, make sure it’s properly insulated with a product like rope caulk, which is available for free to CenterPoint Energy customers! Learn more about CenterPoint’s free products for energy efficiency.
- Shut your blinds to keep rooms shaded and cool.
- Adjust ceiling fans to run counterclockwise, which helps create a cooling downdraft of air to the room.
- Don’t place lamps, TVs or other heat-giving electronics near your thermostat; this may throw off your air conditioning reading.
- Avoid cooking, baking and running appliances like the dryer during the warmest parts of the day to help keep your house cooler and prevent your air conditioner from working overtime.
- Replace any incandescent or compact fluorescent lightbulbs with LED lightbulbs. Incandescent bulbs give off 90% of their energy as heat and compact fluorescents give off 80%. If you sign up for a Home Energy Squad visit, they can install LEDs for free!
- Is your air conditioning unit nearing the end of its life? Contact city staff to learn about the advantages of installing an energy-efficient air source heat pump!
Beat the heat with a Home Energy Squad visit
Save money this summer by getting a Home Energy Squad visit, which is discounted for St. Louis Park residents and free for income-qualified residents. As part of the program, energy experts will install energy saving devices such as smart or programmable thermostats, LED lightbulbs, high-efficiency water devices and weather-stripping for doors and attic hatches. They will also test your home for air leaks and conduct an infrared inspection of your insulation to help you achieve energy savings. To sign up, complete the online signup form or call 651.328.6220.
Energy efficient rebates
Once you’re ready to move forward with any energy savings projects, be sure to take advantage of the energy efficient rebate match from the city for energy efficient furnaces, water heaters and air conditioners, as well as air sealing and insulation projects.
Caring for natural resources
Help your thirsty boulevard tree!
- Due to the dry conditions we’ve been having, the City of St. Louis Park is asking for the community’s help in watering newly planted trees. If you had a boulevard tree planted next to your property this year, please provide it with 5 – 10 gallons of water twice a week. Remember, add the water slowly so it doesn’t all run off. If you have a watering bag, continue to fill it once a week. For more information about watering newly planted trees, watch UMN – Department of Forest Resources‘ video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Dn25LPhJw
- Mature trees should receive one inch of water a week. Run a garden hose on a slow trickle, placed at least six inches from the tree trunk. Let it run for an hour each week.