The Summer Solstice, June 21, marks the official beginning of summer, though many consider Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer. Over the last few weeks, we’ve begun to experience warmer temperatures and most certainly temperatures will continue to rise as we turn our calendars to July and into August, the time of year when summer really seems to take hold in Virginia. While increasing temperatures mean we can spend more time outdoors doing things such as going to the beach, hiking, boating, and going to local water parks, there is a downside to the warmer weather:  the likelihood of increasing power bills. When outside temperatures heat up, so does the inside of your house.  And you know what else goes up?  Your energy bill.  But there are many steps you can take to help your house stay cooler during the hot summer months, helping you save energy and money. Check out some of our favorite summertime energy-saving tips to help you beat the heat, keep your AC use down and save a little money: Assess your Energy Use

  • If you haven’t already, conduct your own home energy assessment to find out where you can save the most.

Treat Your AC Well

  • Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup.
  • Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
  • Schedule regular maintenance for your cooling equipment.
  • Close air vents in rooms you don’t use; ensure vents in rooms you do use are fully open.
  • Place deflectors on vents that are underneath tables and furniture to redirect air flow.
  • Change your AC’s air filter to ensure good air flow throughout your house.
  • If you live in a climate where it cools off at night, turn off your cooling system and open your windows while sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, shut the windows and blinds to capture the cool air.

Utilize Existing and Affordable Cooling Resources In Your Home

  • If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to increase your home’s temperature when you’re not there.
  • If you have a manual thermostat, set the temperature higher when you aren’t at home.
  • Ensure your ceiling fans are rotating counter clockwise.
  • No ceiling fan? Use a portable room fan.
  • Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.

A Few Other Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

  • Minimize activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using hot devices such as curling irons or hair dryers. Even stereos and televisions will add some heat to your home.
  • Large ovens produce significant heat so cook using microwaves, crock pots and toaster ovens.
  • Seal cracks and openings to prevent warm air from leaking into your home.
  • Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.
  • Take advantage of daylight instead of artificial lighting, but avoid direct sunlight.
  • Close blinds and curtains on windows the sun shines in.

Don’t Forget About Your Water

  • When you shower or take a bath, use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. Make sure bathroom and kitchen fans are vented to the outside (not just to the attic).
  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll also avoid scalding your hands.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. Consider air drying both dishes and clothing.

Make sure you share these tips with your friends and family to help them have a more comfortable, and affordable, summer.

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!