If you want to keep your home comfortably cool while saving energy dollars during the warm months, here's an idea: don't add extra heat in your home. In practical terms, that means:* Use your microwave or countertop appliances for cooking chores instead of your oven or stove. Better yet, grill some burgers outdoors.* Run your dryer and dishwasher at night instead of the day. Or let your clothes and dishes air dry. Also, wash only full loads.* Keep out heat from the sun by keeping drapes, blinds and shades closed during the hottest parts of the day.* After a shower or bath, use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity. Better to take short showers instead of baths.* Set your thermostat as high as comfortably as possible. Each degree above 78 can save 6-7 percent off cooling costs. Also, don't try to cool faster by setting a thermostat colder than normal. It won't help and could result in added energy expense.* Install a programmable thermostat to save energy while you're away and comfortable while home.* Ceiling fans will create cool breeze and keep air circulating in the home and, the Department of Energy says, will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without reducing comfort.* Replacing an aging Central
air conditioning with a new Energy Star qualified model can reduce cooling costs by 20 percent.