Author:  DCPSC Staff         Published: 7/17/2023    Washington Informer News

Learn the simple and inexpensive actions you can take to help save energy and reduce utility bills during summer months.

Summer Ready DC

Through the DCPSC Summer Ready DC campaign, District residents can prepare their homes for high temperatures and summer storms by:

Find out how to receive a FREE weatherization item for your home.
Take simple steps to ensure your home is in good shape and that it’s ready for summer weather.

11 ways to reduce summer utility bills

Take a few small steps now to conserve energy and save on your utility bills.
1). Cut down on energy leaks.

  • Shut off the light behind you.
  • Unplug electronics that aren’t being used (e.g., cell phone chargers, small appliances, or power strips that provide power for many devices).

    Note: TVs, DVD players, digital photo frames, and other appliances use more energy than you realize. Unplugging an appliance is best because certain appliances use energy even if they are turned off. Consult with roommates or coworkers before unplugging a shared appliance.

2). Close blinds, storm windows, or shades during the day.

  • The sun can heat up a room very quickly.
  • Keeping the sun from shining into windows will cut down on cooling costs.

    Note: Many stores sell thermal insulated curtains designed to protect against the heat.

3). Use air conditioning efficiently.

Note: The smaller the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, the smaller your bill. Do not place appliances that give off heat, such as lamps or TVs, near an air conditioner’s thermostat.

4). Use fans instead of air conditioning.

  • Circulation is important to using less air conditioning during the summer.
  • Cool down the house early in the morning by placing a box fan in the window and opening up another window at the opposite end of the house, in addition to turning on ceiling fans. Box fans help cool air come inside.

    Note: Most central air conditioners will also have internal fans to help circulate the air in your house while reducing the need to use the air conditioner. Turn the fan on “auto.” Using fans at night will help a natural breeze cool down your house. This will work if the temperature drops at night. Turn a fan directly towards yourself or guests.

5). Avoid heat build-up in your home.

  • Use heavy appliances (e.g., washer, dryer, air conditioning, computers) in the early morning or late night.
  • On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stove, use a microwave, or grill outside.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and/or clothes. Consider air drying both dishes and/or clothing.
  • Take short showers instead of baths.

Note: Minimize activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using hot device such as curling irons or hair dryers. Wait until after 6 p.m. to cook, do laundry, or wash dishes on days the temperature is more than 90 degrees.

6). Ask about utility discounts or budget billing.

  • Receive help with your bill year-round if you are in a low-income household, on disability, or have a limited income for other reasons.
  • Budget billing can help you avoid seasonal peaks in your energy bills by dividing your payments evenly over the course of the entire year.

    Note: Budget billing makes it easier to budget and pay your energy bill each month, because you’ll know your regular payment amount.

7). Participate in Pepco’s Energy Wise RewardsTM program

  • This program helps you take more control over your energy usage, save money, and become more sustainable.
  • Pepco cycles your central air conditioner or heat pump over short intervals (conservation periods) on selected summer days

8). Use energy efficient LED light bulbs.

  • LED bulbs are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs because they use less energy.
  • Most stores have these bulbs available for purchase.

    Note: Check lamps and other lights to see if you are using any incandescent bulbs. Replace all the incandescent bulbs in your house or office.

9). Use appliances efficiently to save energy.

  • Microwaves, pressure cookers, or outdoor grills use less electricity than stoves and ovens.
  • You can also use a clothesline instead of a dryer.
  • When purchasing new products, look for energy efficient options.

10). Check for proper insulation.

  • Insulation cuts down on cooling costs because it helps keep cool air inside during the summer.
  • Your home or place of work may not have enough insulation.
  • Some types of insulation can be installed by you, and others need professional installation.
  • Check for insulation in attics or crawl spaces, making note of areas where there is weathering or gaps in the insulation.
  • Consult a professional to check your wall insulation because it requires probing an electrical socket
  • Batt insulation is flexible blanket-like products that fit into spaces of the wall. This type of insulation can be installed by homeowners.
  • Foam or fiber insulation will need to be installed by a professional.

11). Plant shady trees on the west and south sides of your house.

  • This is a more permanent solution to cutting down summer energy costs, and it’s only possible if you are a homeowner or if you get permission from your landlord. The shady trees will cut down on cooling costs for your home.
Additional programs and resources
Listed below are additional programs, resources and information for District consumers to keep cool, save en