Sun’s return too much of a good thing?

Sun, sun, sun ... at last! After speculation that summer would be cancelled, the sun is blazing down again. And of course, not moments after the sun arrived, so did the chorus of “It’s too hot!”

  • Wednesday, July 9, 2008 12:00am
  • Opinion

Sun, sun, sun … at last! After speculation that summer would be cancelled, the sun is blazing down again. And of course, not moments after the sun arrived, so did the chorus of “It’s too hot!”

Who didn’t gripe in early June when the thermometer didn’t get out of the 50s? And, then, who among us didn’t get a little touchy when the thermometer hit the 90s?

Statistically, our spring went into the books as one of the coldest ever recorded, setting new lows for chilly temperatures and rainy days. But those clouds that never seemed to lift, where are they now? Gone for a while, if history is any guide.

Yes, it rains in Washington, but mostly that precipitation doesn’t spoil our summer fun, it just turns October through May into one wet and windy rinse cycle. From late June through September, we tend to be in the 70s – and often the 80s – with only about an inch or rain per month.

Now, here’s the trouble: our summers are getting warmer, and too much of a good thing may not be a good thing in the long run. The last time we had a summer where we didn’t hit 85 degrees or more was way back in 1976, and before that, 1957. In the early 1900s, it wasn’t uncommon to go all year without seeing the mid 80s. On the flip side, since the year 2000 we’ve set new marks for summer hot streaks and dry spells. Plenty of evidence points to climate change making summer hotter.

My advice for battling global warming? Take a shower. Well, not just any shower, but one with a new, high-efficiency showerhead. You’ll be squeaky clean, you’ll be saving money on water and energy, and you’ll be helping the environment all at the same time.

This summer, Puget Sound Energy is teaming with the Snohomish County Public Utility District, Tacoma Public Utilities and Cascade Natural Gas to give away free, energy-efficient showerheads that will save you a little money and a whole lot of water, natural gas and electricity. Consider that in the average home, we use about 100 gallons of water per person per day. Cutting that use by putting in a better showerhead is a real winner, and it’s easy to do. Even the un-handiest of home handy-persons (read: me) can do this job in five minutes.

To get a showerhead, go to or call 1-888-404-8773. They’ll come your way in a few weeks, with a list of energy-saving tips and a low-flow sink aerator, too.

And the next time you feel like grumbling about the heat, go lather up and cool off – in good conscience.

Andy Wappler is a senior public relations manager at Puget Sound Energy. He joined PSE in February 2008 after being chief meteorologist at KIRO-TV. He looks forward to hearing from you at

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