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Posted: August 10, 2022

British Columbians keep pets cool with AC despite costs

New research from BC Hydro finds pets might be one reason why air conditioning (AC) use is on the rise in B.C. homes.

The survey finds using AC is the number one way British Columbians keep their pets cool in the summer (33%), followed by using a fan (30%) and providing a cool drink (12 %).

Of those with AC at home, three-quarters admit to leaving the AC on for their pet(s) when they are not home – sometimes all day. And while many are mindful of their own AC use, when it comes to their pet(s) cost is not a big concern. In fact, two thirds said they do not care if their electricity bill is higher in the summer if it means their pet is cool and comfortable.

BC Hydro data shows AC use increased by about 50% over the past decade from a quarter of British Columbians using it at home to nearly 40%, and AC can be a household’s single biggest energy user in the summer.

For example, running a central AC for nine hours a day can cost British Columbians around $300 in electricity costs over the summer months.

BC Hydro recommends the following to keep pets safe and happy at home, while saving energy during the dog days of summer:

  • Cool with a heat pump: Heat pumps offer two-for-one heating and cooling year-round and are more environmentally friendly than a system powered by gas. BC Hydro offers up to $3,000 in rebates for switching from a fossil fuel based system, which can be combined with provincial and federal rebates for a total savings of up to $11,000 on cost and installation with some municipalities adding additional rebates on top of that. There are also ductless models available if a central system is not an option for your home.
  • Be a star: If you are buying an air conditioner, opt for a window AC unit as opposed to portable units, as they are twice as energy efficient – especially if they are Energy Star certified – Energy Star models use about 30 to 40% less power than standard units.
  • Draftproof: Keep cool air in your home longer by using caulking and weather stripping to seal gaps and cracks around doors, windows, and outlets to prevent cool air from leaking out and warm air from coming in.
  • Use a mat: If you have a dog that is in a crate while you are out, put the crate in a cool room and consider purchasing a cooling mat to place inside. These mats are made of a special kind of cooling gel that’s activated by the pressure of your pet’s body.
  • Shade windows: Shading windows can block out up to 65% of the heat from outside.
  • Fan strategically: Ceiling fans are the most efficient fan option for cooling. Ensure the fan is rotating counterclockwise to help direct a cooling breeze.

For more cooling tips visit bchydro.com/coolsummer.

BC Hydro photo

BC Hydro


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