Don’t Let a Heat Wave Make Utility Bills Boil Over

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Provided by NOVEC

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative offers 10 ways to lower home cooling costs during the heat of summer.

“Topping 100 degrees in parts of the U.S. means air conditioners and fans are working overtime,” says Leslie Perry in NOVEC’s Customer Care Center. “We want to help everyone control costs this summer as heat and humidity soar.”

NOVEC’s 10 Cooling Tips

  1. Turn the air conditioner thermostat up to 75-78 degrees or higher. Each degree higher saves money. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise in occupied rooms to create a cooling effect. Keeping ceiling fans on in unoccupied rooms only increases electric bills.
  2. Use fans instead of air conditioning. If not running an air conditioner, run a whole-house or window fan upstairs with windows open on the main floor. Make sure a window fan pushes air outside instead of pulling hot air inside. Run vent fans in bathrooms and over the stove just long enough to remove steam.
  3. Close storm windows and lock main windows when using air conditioning. If needed, apply caulk and/or weather-stripping around windows and doors to keep hot air from infiltrating inside.
  4. Replace air conditioner filters regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Write the installation date on the filter. A dirty filter makes a unit use more energy to keep a building comfortable.
  5. Keep the area around the outdoor air conditioner unit free of overgrown plants and anything that hinders its efficiency.
  6. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying an air conditioner, ceiling fan, and lightbulbs. Save 6% by shopping during Virginia’s Sales Tax Holiday, Aug. 6-8. The higher the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), the less energy the A/C will use.
  7. Close window treatments during the day on sunny sides of the house. Layer treatments. Window awnings work best since they repel solar rays before rays reach windows.
  8. Close fireplace flue damper and glass doors. Hot outdoor air can come down an open chimney and cooled indoor air can escape up it.
  9. Replace incandescent lightbulbs with LED bulbs. Old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs create 90% heat and only 10% light. LED bulbs produce almost no heat, use 80% less energy than incandescents, and last much longer.
  10. Cook with a microwave oven or outdoor grill instead of a regular oven to avoid creating a hot kitchen.

Find more energy-saving ideas at novec.com/save.

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