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Washington DC Real Estate Resource Center: Summer Energy Conservation Around the House and In the Car

Summer is officially here. Warm weather brings high energy costs. Is your home ready for the metro Washington, DC area's long hot summer? Below are a few simple suggestions to help you prepare your house, focus on energy conservation, and help you lower your cooling bill. A lot of the neighborhoods in Washington DC including Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Trinidad, LeDroit Park, Takoma Park, Chevy Chase DC, Chevy Chase Maryland, Cleveland Park, Shaw, Capital Hill, Logan Circle and Penn Quarter - Chinatown are loaded with beautiful trees. Trees are a great way to save energy! Who doesn't want to save money while staying cool at the same time?

Tips for Saving Money While Staying Cool

  1. Keep all window shades and blinds closed during daylight hours to keep heat out.
  2. Keep lights off in rooms not being used.
  3. Check windows and doors for any cracks, leaks and gaps. Caulk, apply weather stripping, sealants or guard drafts, where needed to keep cold air in house.
  4. Pollen is high in the Washington DC area and can easily clog your home's air filter. Change air filters regularly. Dirty or clogged air filters cause air conditioners to over work and to work less efficiently. Consider changing your old thermostat to a programmable one. You can program the thermostat to have the CAC run at a higher temperature when you are not at home. If you have a manual thermostat, set the temperature to 78 degrees when away from the house. Each degree below 78 degrees can add to your cooling costs.
  5. You can conserve energy by closing the fresh air intake on you air conditioning unit, during extremely warm days. More electricity is used when cooling fresh, hot outside air then re-cooling air that is already circulating in the house.
  6. Shut cooling vents in rooms not used very often
  7. If your home has a fireplace, make sure flue is shut.
  8. Run major appliances, dishwasher, washer/dryer and other heat generating appliances (hair dryer, iron, etc.) during cooler hours of the day. (Early morning or later in the evening.)
  9. Keep oven door closed while baking and/or broiling.
  10. Keep lids on pots, when cooking on stove, to keep heat contained and save 2/3 of energy used.
  11. Use microwave instead of oven.
  12. Air dry your dishes in the dishwasher by shutting the dishwasher off at the drying cycle. Use the air dry setting if your dishwasher has one.
  13. Open refrigerator door just once by removing all items needed for cooking at one time.
  14. Clean condenser coils under or behind your refrigerator.
  15. Run only full loads in your dish washer and washing machine so the appliances are used less often. Use only cold water for clothes washing.
  16. Lower the hot water heater setting to 130 degrees. A 130 degree setting should give hot enough water at the tap to take a comfortable bath or shower. A 103 degree range is also hot enough to prevent bacteria from growing in the heating tank. Every 10 degrees the setting is lowered can reduce the water heating bill by 3 to 5 percent.
  17. Use less hot water by taking a short shower or using less water in the bath tub.

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Michelle Buckman Real Estate

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