How to save money while staying cool

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Your energy bill can soar along with the temperatures. You use a lot of energy during hot days like this, but there are several things you can do for free to stay cool and save money doing it.

Summer is still technically two weeks away, but you wouldn't know it after stepping outside.

"The temperatures are right up there this week," said Karl Neddenien of Dominion Virginia Power. "Along with humidity, it really does make people uncomfortable so a lot of people are cranking up the air conditioning."

Cranking up the air conditioning, can also crank up your energy bill. Neddenien said one way to cool your home for less is to close your blinds. That can keep the heat out of your home.

Another tip is raising your thermostat to about 78 degrees and using a fan. Your air conditioner will run more efficiently at 78 and a ceiling fan can cool the room as much as ten degrees.

Also running the dishwater or doing laundry after the sun goes down can limit the amount of energy you use, and pay for, during the hottest parts of the day. If you need help staying cool, you may be able to get a free fan or A/C unit.

Bill Collins at Senior Connections spent part of Wednesday seeing how many fans he has to give to senior citizens trying to stay cool. Right now he's waiting for funding for more fans.

"The money has been allocated but we're waiting for some I's to be dotted and some T's to get crossed," Collins said. "Until that we have a limited number of fans."

If the weather this week is any indication - he's going to need a lot of fans.

"If it's like this in June, who knows what it's going to be like in July and August," he said. "It's very important to call the hotline early because I expect a lot of individuals to be calling with the heat we're seeing right now."

You must be at least 60 years old and meet some income eligibility requirements to get one of those free fans. You can call 343-3005 to find out if you're eligible.

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