British Columbians pampering pets with AC, says BC Hydro

BC Hydro data shows AC use increased by about 50 per cent over the past decade

During the summer's record-breaking heat wave, BC Hydro reports residents were using 8,568 megawatts of power, the equivalent of 600,000 air conditioners | Photo: Kilito Chan/Moment/Getty Images

BC Hydro says pets may be one reason why residential air conditioning use is on the rise in the province.

A survey conducted by the government-regulated power supplier found one-third of respondents said they use air conditioning specifically to keep their pets cool during summer months. Of those people, a quarter are leaving the AC on for pets even if they aren’t home. They also say costs are not a concern.

BC Hydro data shows AC use increased by about 50 per cent over the past decade from a quarter of British Columbians using it at home to nearly 40 per cent, the company said in a statement Aug. 9.

Running a central AC for nine hours a day can cost British Columbians around $300 in electricity costs over the summer months, BC Hydro added.

The company took the opportunity in its statement to recommend alternatives to keep pets cool.

BC Hydro first suggests a heat pump installation to cool homes. This will also save electricity use. It also suggests a window AC unit over a portable one. And, people should ensure gaps and cracks around doors, windows and power outlets are properly sealed.

When leaving a pet at home, shade windows and use fans to keep rooms cool, says BC Hydro. If your dog is in a crate while you're out, consider using a cooling mat inside.