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DMV Summers: Your Guide to a Cooler, More Efficient Home

Michelle Zelsman

During her first year in real estate, Michelle Zelsman was awarded the coveted Rookie of the Year Award...

During her first year in real estate, Michelle Zelsman was awarded the coveted Rookie of the Year Award...

Jun 10 1 minutes read

When the summer heat descends on the DMV, it feels a bit like being stuck in a sauna you didn't ask to enter. From the bustling streets of D.C. to the scenic waterfronts of Maryland and Virginia, we all face the challenge of keeping our homes comfortable without sending our energy bills through the roof. Luckily, transforming your home into a cool oasis in the midst of a DMV summer is simpler than you might think. Here’s your local guide:

1. Seal Up the Fort

Before DC's humidity turns your living room into a tropical rainforest, inspect your home for air leaks. Those sneaky drafts around windows and doors are like open invitations for hot air. A little weather-stripping or caulking can go a long way in places like Capitol Hill or Old Town Alexandria, where historic homes might need a bit more TLC to stay cool.

2. Think Insulation

Insulation isn't just a winter conversation; it's a year-round relationship. In the DMV, where temperatures can vary dramatically, ensuring your attic and walls are properly insulated can block the summer heat effectively. Older homes in areas like Georgetown or Annapolis might benefit from an insulation check-up.

3. Embrace Energy-Efficient Upgrades

If your appliances are as old as the Lincoln Memorial, it might be time for an upgrade. ENERGY STAR rated appliances use less electricity, which is a win for both your wallet and the Chesapeake Bay. From energy-efficient refrigerators to air conditioners, these upgrades are particularly valuable in energy-conscious communities like Takoma Park or Arlington.

4. Welcome the Breeze

In the early morning and late evening, the DMV can experience a pleasant breeze, perfect for natural ventilation. Open your windows in Silver Spring or Fairfax to create a crossflow that invites cooler air in, saving you from over-reliance on air conditioning.

5. Smart Windows Treatments

Blasting through a sunny day without curtains or blinds in Bethesda or Reston is like going to a Nationals game without sunscreen: not the best idea. Light-colored window treatments can reflect the sun’s rays, making your living room feel more like the shady side of Dupont Circle than the sunbaked steps of the Jefferson Memorial.

6. The Right Thermostat Settings

With a programmable thermostat, you can ensure your A/C isn’t working overtime while you’re exploring the museums on the National Mall or hiking in Great Falls. Setting your thermostat to around 78°F when you're home strikes a good balance between comfort and efficiency.


Think of your HVAC system as a loyal pet that needs regular grooming. Annual check-ups are crucial for efficiency, especially before the humid summer months hit. Communities like Bethesda and McLean, with their lush landscapes, also need to check their outdoor units for debris clearance regularly.

8. Consider Energy-Efficient Windows

Upgrading to energy-efficient windows with low-E coatings can be a game-changer in the DMV’s battle against heat. Whether you’re in a sleek, modern condo in Tysons Corner or a charming colonial in Fredericksburg, these windows can help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

9. Fan the Flame of Coolness

Ceiling fans in Arlington or College Park homes do more than just adorn your ceiling; they circulate air to keep you cool. By setting them to rotate counterclockwise, you'll feel a breeze that makes the room feel cooler, allowing for a slight adjustment in thermostat settings.

10. Shade and Landscaping

Using the landscape to your advantage is a smart move in the DMV. Planting deciduous trees on the south and west sides can shield your home from intense sun, a strategy as beneficial in urban areas like D.C. as it is in more suburban or rural parts of Maryland and Virginia.

Implementing these strategies in the DMV doesn't just lead to a cooler home environment but also to significant savings on energy bills. Even better, it aligns with the green initiatives embraced throughout our region, from the energy-efficient policies in D.C. to the conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay area. This summer, make your home a model of efficiency and comfort!

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