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How to Stay Cool and Save Money in the Summer

AARP District of Columbia works to make the District a great place for people of all ages to live, work and play. Reduce Energy Use DC brings people together and raises awareness of how our actions can help reduce energy use and fight climate change. AARP DC is excited to be partnering with Reduce Energy Use DC for the second year in a row to help District residents create energy saving habits and save money.

Louis Davis Jr., AARP DC Director
Louis Davis Jr., AARP DC Director

During the summer months, older adults spend a lot of time indoors  at cooling centers, the home of friends and family, or in their own homes. Having air conditioning in the summer offers relief from heat and humidity and can prevent heat-related illnesses. But it can also be costly, both to the pocketbook and the environment. We want to spread the word that you can adopt energy saving habits and stay cool in the summer at the same time. For example, even if you have air conditioning, keep ceiling fans running during the summer and change the direction of the blades to counterclockwise to make sure air is blowing downward. If you use box or pedestal fans, place a bowl of cold water in front of each one to create a chilly breeze. Keeping ceiling fans running will allow you to raise the thermostat about four degrees (at least in the rooms that have a ceiling fan), which can lower your energy bill.

In addition to using ceiling fans, there are several ways for people to reduce their energy use. Our number one tip forreducing energy usage is to use your major appliances wiselyMaking small changes such as using cold water to wash clothes, only running the dishwasher when full, and using a grill or microwave instead of an oven can be highly effective in reducing energy use. And I recently read that a dryer can lose 75 percent of its efficiency if lint clogs its trap. Cleaning it after every use can save up to $288 on the annual cost of using a dryer!

Finally, consider switching from traditional light bulbs in your home to LED lightbulbs, which use less electricity and last 3-25 times longer than regular light bulbs. Lighting accounts for about 12 percent of an average residential bill, so the savings on your energy bill from this small change may be significant.

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