Keeping Your Home's Cool

It seems like just a few weeks ago we were wearing sweaters and cuddling under the comforter at night. Now we've changed to the summer quilts and short sleeves. And if you've looked at your last couple of gas and electric bills, you've seen a difference there too.

So what's a conscientious woman to do to both cool the house and save some money? While a trip to the Antarctic sounds good right about now, there are lots of tricks to staying cool in your own home.

Outside:
* Use awnings on the west, east and north sides of the house.
* Find out of all your insulation is in good shape and up to date.
* For the long-term, plant a tree. It will take a few years to completely develop, but great landscaping can help you cool your home tremendously.
* Have an expert come and inspect your air conditioning unit's effectiveness.
* Check for leaks around the doors and windows.

Inside:
* Use window coverings. Especially during the hottest hours of the day, keep shades and blinds pulled.
* Turn on your ceiling fans to keep air circulating.
* Close doors to rooms that you rarely use.
* If it's cool enough at night, open the windows and fireplace damper to let some of God's air conditioning in.
* Change your air filters frequently.
* Use heating elements like the stove as little as possible. When you do have to turn them on, do multiple jobs all at once so you're not having them on all the time.
* For a quick cool, turn the attic fan on for a couple of minutes. Don't run it very long or very often because it uses a good bit of energy, but it can suck the warm air out of the house super-fast.

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