Hardware Heatwaves


In the beginning of September, California experienced the worst heat wave in history. Many towns and cities, such as Sacramento, reached record breaking levels of temperature which far eclipsed any previous records by 2 degrees where the previous record went back to 1877 according to the Washington Post. Through this heat wave, homes in California experienced increased power grid pressure. Since the heat wave started they have been struggling to match the demand of power to Air Conditioning units and the issues of supplying that much energy to households. This straining on the power grid eventually caused many homes to experience “brown-outs” or complete blackouts, which until now has been an uncommon occurrence for the state. These brown-outs and black-outs caused a lag in household productivity, taking out essential electronics like refrigerators and computers.

Heat waves continue to be a recurrence for California but unfortunately with the sudden escalation of this year’s heat wave compared to previous year’s, the commonality of the black-outs will increase as the temperature increases. Preparations for these blackouts should be a priority when heat wave seasons come into frame again so that these occurrences won’t be an unexpected problem for the state.

Beating the Heat

Preparation for beating the heat is a long term commitment. The nature of the heat waves in California is seasonal and is getting worse every year.

The amount of electrical utilities in use within your household are significant during a heat wave. The main problem with these blackouts is the over use of appliances in conjunction with other units that cool us down. In this day and age we all use some form of electronics that needs to stay powered to continue to work 24/7. For most of the time they’re out of sight and out of mind. For example, refrigerators are always plugged into the walls. They use energy constantly, though we mostly take them for granted. By identifying what appliances take electricity we can then address the power grid straining under the sudden increase in energy demands. 

Through identifying what appliances are plugged in, necessary or unnecessary, the process of elimination for what to unplug can begin. Unplugging will address the main problem, relieving stress from the power grid. By not using as much electricity, it will create less demand and reduce the commonality of blackouts. Unplugging appliances through a process of elimination isn’t easy, appliances that are plugged in are plugged in for a specific reason, which is why during the process of elimination you should consider what you use the most and what has the most use out of all the appliances. For example, a large fan in your living room can be easily replaced by handheld portable fans that provide an almost equal amount of cooling. Downsizing larger temporary use electric utilities will help to conserve electricity throughout the household.

Forecast for the Heatwaves

The future for the climate across the world is uneasy. Small solutions on a local scale can encourage a larger demographic to accept and follow these quality of life solutions that ultimately serve a common goal or good. The simple act of unplugging some appliances or even devices, on an individual scale, can cause a difference all the same. The blackouts causing discomfort across California during record breaking heat waves is a fixable problem and it requires that individual cooperation to work.  

Some people may not like the idea of unplugging, but realistically speaking there is no consequence to unplugging unnecessary or barely used electronics. The matter of fact is that the heat waves are escalating, and solutions are needed. So remember to check in when a heat wave is coming, remember to unplug those appliances, and remember to stay cool out there.

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