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Tips for Keeping Your Home Cooler

By: Arleen Claudio-Gore of GoodCopy Printing & Digital Graphics

As the dog days of summer arrive, here are a few tips to keep your home cooler with little or no air-conditioning to save energy and money:

• Apply energy-saving, high-reflectivity window film on east- and west-facing windows, to keep you cool in summer but let in warming sun in the winter.

• Make sure your ceiling fans are running counter-clockwise.  Check each fan for a little switch on the side to reverse the direction.  In the winter, you want fans to run clockwise to pull cool air up and force warm air back down into the room.  Reverse them in the summer to circulate cool air.

• Turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.  Remember that fans are meant to cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.

• Close the drapes.  For best results, use energy-efficient black-out curtains which provide thermal insulation to block light and save energy.

• Avoid using heat-generating appliances such as ovens, washers, dryers, and dishwashers during the hottest part of the day.  Do cleaning chores in the cooler evening hours and consider grilling outside or using a microwave instead of turning on the oven or stove.

• Run a dehumidifier to moderate your home’s humidity level and help you feel cooler.

• Add awnings on south- and west-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain by up to 77%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

• In the evenings, create cross-ventilation by opening windows on opposite sides of your home.  Put a box fan in one side to pull cool air into the house, and another box fan to blow hot air out.

• Power down appliances you’re not using, especially TVs and computers, which generate heat.

• Replace incandescent lightbulbs with cooler-running LEDs.

• Keep lamps, TVs, and other heat-generating appliances away from your air-conditioning thermostat.

• Shade your air conditioner.  If your A/C is in full sun, it’s working harder than it needs to.

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