PORTLAND, Ore. — A cool and comfortable home starts with keeping the heat out of your house in the first place.

“We're having more of these heat waves these days in Portland. So, it's something I think people can plan ahead for a little bit more than they have in the past,” Portland General Electric spokesperson Steve Corson said.

There are many things you can do before you step out of the door in the morning to ensure your home stays cool by the time you get home in the evening.

  • Those blinds can be your best friend. Corson says to put the shades down on the sunny side of the house to keep the sun rays, and heat that comes with it, out.
  • Avoid indoor appliances that put off heat, such as the oven. Corson suggests using the microwave or outdoor barbecue instead. You can also use the heat as an excuse to put laundry day off until the thermometer drops.
  • As for air conditioning, Corson suggests keeping your thermostat around 75 degrees, instead of 68 or 70.

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“Still cool enough to be comfortable, but not so hot that your system is having to work extra hard to keep the temperature down,” he said.

Other ways to keep your home cool without sending your energy bill through the roof: Corson recommends adding a heat pump for air conditioning. There are some deals going on right now through PGE. Learn more about the discounts

They're also offering a peak time rebate for energy use to help you save money this summer. It is a new program that rewards you for shifting your energy use for a couple of hours on the 12 to 20 days a year when temperatures are unusually hot or cold. Learn more about the program

Heat Advisory in Portland: Highs expected to soar into 90s

More and more homes have AC units.  The number has jumped from 30 percent of PGE served homes in the 1990s to well over 80 percent now.

That's where Tony Spezza with AAA Heating and Cooling comes in.

“It's usually the first 95-degree day that we get an avalanche of calls and just a lot of people that are distressed,” Spezza said. “Because there's nothing worse than being without air conditioning in the heat wave.”

Spezza says the number one thing you can do to make sure your air conditioner is ready for the heat is check the filter and replace it with a new one every few months.

“It has a lot to do with airflow. So, if the unit can't breathe because of a plugged filter then the coil can freeze, it can do damage to the outdoor unit.”

If you have an outdoor unit, Spezza says to clear it of all vegetation and make sure nothing is blocking it.