FirstEnergy says it has been preparing for the coming hot weather but says customers can help them meet the increased demand for electricity.

The utility says as temperatures rise, so does electricity use as air conditioners, refrigerators, and other electric equipment work harder.

FirstEnergy says it has prepared for the extreme conditions through system inspections and maintenance programs.

Thermovision cameras capture infrared images that can detect potential problems with electrical equipment in substations and on poles. By identifying hot spots, FirstEnergy says proactive maintenance and repairs can be conducted.

Helicopter patrols also are used to inspect transmission lines before the high-demand summer season.

Crews also review hot weather operational procedures to ensure any outages that occur are promptly addressed, according to the utility.

FirstEnergy offers the following hot weather tips to stay comfortable while using electricity wisely during this period of high demand:

Set thermostats as high as comfort will allow. Every degree a customer can increase the temperature in their home will result in using about 2 percent less energy during the hottest summer days.

During sunny weather, close drapes or blinds on windows facing the sun to prevent direct radiant heating from impacting interior temperatures.

Use fans – moving air cools skin faster, resulting in greater comfort on hot days.

Use a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures higher when no one is home, and to reduce the temperature before arrival back home.

Only operate window air conditioners when someone is in the room.

Keep refrigerators and freezers as full as possible. Frozen or cold items in the refrigerator help keep other items cool, reducing the amount of work the refrigerator has to do to maintain a lower temperature.

Close rooms that aren't used regularly during the summer, and close the air conditioning vents in those rooms, as well.

Avoid using heat-producing appliances during the hottest hours of the day. The less heat produced at home, the less work the air conditioner will do.

Consider investing in ENERGY STAR® appliances or heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. FirstEnergy's utilities may offer rebates on these purchases and tax deductions may apply, as well.

Check air conditioner and furnace fan filters. Clogged filters waste energy and money by forcing HVAC systems to work harder than necessary.

Other FirstEnergy summer safety tips are available at