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INFO YOU CAN USE 24 Try no-cost and low-cost cooling tips A lot of money is spent on the energy needs of our life- styles, but did you know that Ontarians spend the majority of their energy dollars controlling the tem- perature of their home? In the summer, this means keeping it cool, so before cranking up the air conditioning, try a few alternatives fi rst. Even if you’re using air condi- tioning, you’ll use less and that will lower your electricity use. Here are some helpful tips: Before cranking up the air conditioning, try a few alternatives fi rst. draw the curtains on heat In the morning, open windows to let cool air in. Then close them, and draw your blinds or drapes during the day. Your home will retain much of the cool morning air. let fans move the air Ceiling fans help cool down your home. They don’t use much electric- ity and can help reduce the need for air conditioning. Make sure ceiling fans blow air downwards in summer. cool down your menus too One of the easiest things you can do to conserve energy and keep your house cool is to avoid using appli- ances that heat up the home. In the summer, use the barbecue and in- clude more cold foods and salads in your menu. Try not to use major ap- pliances in the middle of the day. the real problem may be humidity Humid homes feel hotter. Use ex- haust fans in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas to expel the air directly outside (not into walls or at- tics). Avoid air-drying clothes in the home and don’t store fi rewood in- side. check around the house Examine the caulking and weather stripping around your windows and doors. People tend to think this is a winter preparation, but it is just as useful in the summer to ensure that you keep the cool air in. If you have a window air conditioning unit, clean or replace the fi lter monthly. Dirty fi l- ters may restrict airflow and reduce effi ciency. turn it off Lights, appliances and home elec- tronics use a lot of power and give off heat. During the summer, it’s more important than ever to turn them off when you aren’t using them. You’ll save energy twice.■ — News Canada July 9–23, 2016