On the Energy Front: 
Take Charge of Your Energy Bill This Summer

By:  Andy Farmer

Andy Farmer, Annandale Energy

School’s out, people are taking vacations and the temperatures are getting hotter each day. Summer is here and the warmer weather across Virginia can lead to increased energy bills at home due to lowering the AC and other ways.

As the Commonwealth’s energy education program, Virginia Energy Sense’s mission is to help Virginians understand their energy use, and what they can do to save energy cost effectively and easily. We want to make sure you’re well equipped to beat the heat this summer and help Virginia progress toward its goal of reducing electric energy consumption by 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2022.

We’re working to equip you with resources to help you with the energy consumption challenges you may face this summer. Below are several easy DIY tips you can have a big impact on your energy usage while still keeping you cool at home!

 Summer Energy Saving Tips at Home

Open windows – On mild days, turn the air conditioning off and open windows for natural ventilation.

Install a programmable thermostat – A smart thermostat learns your behavior and can lower or raise the temperature if you are going to be out or not. And it lets you control your home’s temperature from your smartphone. Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting to 78°F only when you are at home and need cooling.

Use fans – A ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.

Buy ENERGY STAR – Older appliances are not as efficient as newer models, so consider swapping them with ENERGY STAR equipment to increase your home’s overall energy efficiency. August 2-4 is Virginia’s sales tax holiday and is a great opportunity to purchase ENERGY STAR appliances and get a rebate.

Maintain your HVAC system – Regularly change your air filters to ensure quality air flow and comfort throughout your home.

Clear your vents – Your home’s AC unit will not work efficiently if your vents are blocked by rugs or furniture. Make sure your vents are open, free of dust and directing air toward the center of the room.

Switch to LEDs – LED light bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Switching to them will boost your home’s energy savings.

Caulk any leaks – Prevent warm air from entering your home by sealing any cracks and openings.

Pull the plug – Turn off lights, computers, and other equipment when they’re not in use and overnight. Leaving them on, or plugged in when not in use, leads to higher electric bills.

Apply for incentives – Check out our residential incentives page to see if there are any government or utility energy saving programs you qualify for.

Visit http://www.virginiaenergysense.org/ for more ways to save energy and stay cool this summer. Taking the initiative will also help Virginia meet its goal of reduced energy consumption

Author:  Andy Farmer is the manager of Virginia Energy Sense, the Commonwealth’s statewide energy education program under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.  (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)


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