Try these tips for keeping your home cool

Looking for efficient ways to keep cool this summer?

Try these tips from Energy Trust of Oregon, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources:

n Power down to cool off: Home appliances, electronics and standard light bulbs create heat when they’re on. The less you use them on a hot day, the cooler you’ll be.

n Skip the oven and use the microwave, cook on the stovetop or grill outside.

n Wait until you have a full load to run your clothes washer and dishwasher, and run them in the evening when it’s cooler. Let dishes air dry, wash clothes in cold water and hang them outside to dry if you can.

n Use windows strategically: Windows allow heat in when they’re open or uncovered during the day. Close windows, blinds, shades or curtains to keep heat outside. Light-colored window coverings help reflect heat away.

n When temperatures drop, open your windows and doors to draw in cooler air at night or early in the morning.

n Shield windows from the outside with blinds, awnings or shutters and plant trees or tall shrubs to filter sunlight before it enters your house.

n Join the fan club

Use fans to keep air moving and help you feel cooler, even if you have air conditioning. They create a breeze that pulls perspiration away from your body.

A fan in the window can pull cool air in and draw warm air out. Try using a box or window-mounted fan on the shady side of your house to draw in cool air. A second fan on the opposite side of the house can blow hot air out.

n If you use air conditioning, a fan can allow you to raise the thermostat setting and still stay comfortable. If you buy a new ceiling fan, choose an ENERGY STAR® qualified one (available as a light/fan combination).

n Keep hot air out and cool air in: sealing air leaks and insulating your home can reduce cooling and heating costs and make your home more comfortable.

n Check for leaky windows and doors, as well as holes or cracks hidden in attics, basements and crawlspaces. Seal them with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping.

n Add insulation, but seal air leaks first. Leaks make insulation less effective.

n Make the most of air conditioning: Set the air conditioner or heat pump thermostat a few degrees higher than normal when no one is home. When you are home, set the thermostat to 72-75 degrees.

n Place electronics and lamps with conventional bulbs away from the thermostat. The heat they produce can cause the air conditioner to work harder than necessary.

n Check the system air filter regularly and change it when it looks dirty. A dirty filter makes the system work less efficiently and reduces air flow. Service the system each year.

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To take part in a Home Energy Review and for more energy-saving solutions, homeowners can visit www.energytrust.org/start or call 1-866-368-7878.

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