Tips to keep your energy bill down in hot weather

WASHINGTON — Hot and humid temperatures will rule the rest of the week, but there are ways to stay cool without running the air conditioner constantly.

Some common tips include using ceiling or box fans to circulate air, closing blinds to block direct sunlight and not using ovens. Some people take cold showers, wear fewer clothes and keep lights off.

More involved ways to help save money and keep a home cool include planting shrubs to shade air conditioning units. Programmable thermostats save money by automatically adjusting a home’s temperature warmer than normal while residents are away.

Some home air conditioners will run unnecessarily if a thermostat is fooled into thinking an entire home is hot. The AARP Bulletin notes that can happen if there are heat-creating sources near the thermostat, such as lamps or a TV. says “one of the quickest energy- and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside.”

Homeowners can hire professionals to thoroughly test a home for energy efficiency.

The U.S. Department of energy says cooling and heating accounts for more than half the energy used in a typical U.S. home.

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