PORTLAND, Ore. -- Now is the time to prepare for the heat because, even if you have air conditioning, there is a chance the heat could put such a strain on the power system, you could lose it.

"Recognize if you've got a situation that you really have to have power, a medical need or something like that, you need to have a back up plan in place," warned PGE Spokesman Steve Corson.

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But, you can help cut down on the power load and help keep your home cool at the same time.

You probably know that keeping your curtains or shades shut during the heat of the day will help keep your home cooler. But there are lots of other things you can do too.

When the temperature drops at night, you can open up windows and doors to let that cooler air in, but during the heat of the day keep those windows shut tight and the hot air out.

Just one of the many pointers, Katie Wallace with Energy Trust of Oregon gave us.

Wallace said if you don't have air conditioning or if you lose it, setting up fans the right way can really help.

"You can just strategically place fans in the windows," said Wallace. "It's great if you can use two fans, one to draw cooler air in on the shady side of your house, and one to move that air throughout the room."

If you don't have curtains or blinds you can close to keep the sun out, temporarily tack up a blanket over south and west facing windows.

And not only should you avoid using the hot oven during the afternoon and evening hours, you should skip using dishwashers or clothes dryers in the afternoon as well.

And if you do have air conditioning, turn it up. PGE recommends you set it at 78 degrees when you're at home and 85 degrees when you're away.

It says that will not only help keep you comfortable, it will also keep the load down and avoid a power outage.

"We never say never, but we're cautiously optimistic that our system is in place and ready to handle the heat," said Corson.