Tips to stay cool, save cash during the heat of summer

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Staying cool might be a tough chore Thursday with triple digit temperatures and heat indices nearing 110.

Although the hot temperatures may not be breaking news and seem typical of the metro in July, the CDC reports that more than 650 people in the U.S., die from the extreme heat.

Heat safety tips:

  • Don't leave children or pet in cars
  • Check on neighbors
  • Take breaks outside

If you don't have air conditioning:

  • Use fans
    • You can use circulating fans near open windows at night to help rid the house of any daytime heating. Ceiling fans make you feel about 4 degrees cooler than the actual temperature by moving air across your skin - but they do not lower the actual temperature of the room. Be sure to turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.
  • Close shades
  • Cross ventilation
    • At night, open windows opposite on another for cross ventilation
  • Avoid activity during peak hours
    • Whenever the outdoor temperature exceeds the temperature inside your home, try to avoid activities that generate a lot of heat, such as cooking on the stovetop, using the dishwasher, or dryer.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics
  • If you own your home, plant trees. Shade will help lower your utility bills.

If you do have air conditioning, try these tips to save money:

  • Install a programmable thermostat
    • Program the thermostat to automatically turn back the cooling when you are not home and when you are sleeping (raise your thermostat)
  • Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher if you use a ceiling fan
    • You can save 3% - 5% on your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the thermostat in the summer
  • Keep filters clean
    • Check furnace and air conditioner filers monthly or as recommended by the manufacturer. Clean and replace filers as needed.
  • Use the auto fan setting
  • Buy an Energy Star air conditioner
    • Replacing an older unit with an Energy Star model can cut energy bills by an average of $14/year