Heat wave drives northern Virginians to push their air conditioners to the max.
This morning it was almost 90 degrees by 10am in the Shirlington area! With temperatures in Arlington, VA reaching 101 (with a heat index of 114) this humid air is making people crank their air conditioners! The Heat Advisory is still in effect until 11pm tonight and will more than likely be reissued tomorrow. Did your neighborhood experience a power outage this afternoon? All of the people turning their thermostats down to 72 degrees is forcing our power systems to go into overdrive – sometimes causing power outages across the city!
What can we do to decrease the temperature in our homes without turning the AC to Arctic levels? Do you have ceiling fans? Sometimes we forget to switch them on, or even better yet, change the direction of the fan. During summer and winter months, the direction of your ceiling fan can be changed to promote better circulation of the airflow. You can also opt to purchase window coverings that have a thermal lining. Lines such as Hunter Douglas offer solar shades and even black out linings which are energy efficient, block the sun and provide a cooling effect in the summer and keep your space warmer in the winter months. Some people opt to have solar film installed on their windows to reduce solar heat gain, but thermal shades or curtains can do the same trick. You can offer your home a decorative style upgrade while lowering your energy bills. I have found that even JC Penny offers some great options with the thermally lined window coverings. When I was shopping for them for my own home, I took my measurements in, and listened to the professional describe the differences between the different draperies. I ultimately chose one with a thermal and black out lining, and the whole front of my home, which has these window treatments is significantly cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the rest of my home that doesn’t have these curtains. I have to say that they are pretty, too! Energy Efficiency can be a beautiful thing!
Do you have a lot of direct sun beaming down on your home or straight in a window? For the future, plant a hardy tree about twenty feet from your home, if you have the space, and nurture it into the great shade tree that it will soon be. Casting a shadow over your roofline will decrease your heat gain. If you don’t have the space for a big, strong, tall tree, plant a climbing plant in a pot with a trellis and place it in front of the window. Having this exterior curtain will, again, decrease the solar heat gain, add beautiful greenery to your home and of course offer you that cooler temperature you so desire.
When the temperatures start to climb up into the hundreds, DC Metro area folks are bound to start finding innovative ways to cool down. Whether you choose to crank up the AC, taking a walk down to the community pool or fan yourself on the back porch with a tall glass of iced tea (garnished with refreshing mint, of course), know that there are many options to help you chill off and if you are wondering how else you can quell your energy costs, you do have alternatives.