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Run a ceiling fan counterclockwise to feel comfortably cool without having to lower the temperature setting on the air-conditioner thermostat. NOVEC photo
MANASSAS, Va. – Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative offers 10 ways to lower home cooling costs during the COVID-19 pandemic and a fluctuating economy.
“The pandemic has disrupted almost everything this year, but one thing is for sure: People are still using a lot of electricity to keep their homes, offices, and businesses comfortably cool this summer,” says Libby Gooden, a NOVEC energy services specialist. “NOVEC customers set an all-time record for electricity use on July 6. We want to help everyone control costs as heat and humidity soar.”
NOVEC’s 10 Cooling Tips
- Turn the air-conditioner thermostat up to 75-78 degrees or higher. Run ceiling and floor fans in occupied rooms to help room occupants feel cooler. Keeping fans on in unoccupied rooms only increases electric bills. Run ceiling fans counterclockwise to force air down and provide a windchill effect.
- 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.
- 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.
- Keep the area around the outdoor air-conditioner unit free of overgrown plants and anything that hinders the unit’s efficiency.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying an air conditioner, ceiling fan, and light bulbs. Save 6% by shopping during Virginia’s sales tax holiday Aug. 7-9. Look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) when purchasing a central air-conditioner. The higher the SEER, the less energy the unit will use.
- Block solar heat by closing window treatments during the day on sunny sides of the house. Layer treatments – close curtains over blinds or shades. Window awnings work best since they repel solar heat before rays reach windows.
- Close storm windows and lock main windows when using air conditioning. If need be, apply caulk and/or weatherstripping around windows and doors to keep hot air from infiltrating inside.
- Close a fireplace flue damper and glass doors. Hot air rises, but some hot outdoor air can come down an open chimney and some cooled indoor air can escape up it.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. Old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs give off 90% of the energy they consume as heat. LED bulbs produce almost no heat, use 80% less energy than incandescents, and last much longer.
- Cook with a microwave oven instead of a regular oven or grill outdoors to avoid creating a hot kitchen.
Find more energy-saving ideas at www.novec.com/save.