Here are a few tips to lower your electric bill this summer

The heat is on. Summer heat, that is.

This year’s summer season kicks off Thursday and already Hampton Roads residents are feeling the grip of the heat and humidity.

So, here are a few tips to stay cool and keep that electric bill down:

Dominion Energy recommends keeping window blinds, shades and drapes closed during the day to reflect the sun’s rays and keep the home cooler, according to a news release from the company.

To keep the heat outside, seal air leaks around doors and windows with caulk and weather stripping.

Fans can help circulate cool air and make a room feel 5 degrees cooler, allowing one to turn the thermostat down.

Avoid using stoves, ovens, dishwashers or clothes dryers during the day to avoid adding extra heat to the home. Homeowners should also replace HVAC filters to prevent strain or a breakdown.

Seniors are encouraged to apply for a free single-room air conditioning unit. Call 800-552-3402 to find out how to apply. Eligibility is based on income.

Low-income households can apply for help through Dominion Energy’s EnergyShare’s Cooling Assistance program.

Assistance can go toward the purchase and installation of window AC units, repair of central AC, and help paying electric bills.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.