Helpful tips to beat the heat at home

LA CROSSE, Wis. — When the heat is one, we all want to stay cool, but may feel lighter in the wallet.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has these recommendations to get the most bang-for-your-buck when it comes to cooling your home:

Home Cooling
• Turn off lights when leaving a room.
• Check weather-stripping and caulking for leaks around doors and windows.
• Use a microwave oven or cook outside instead of using the stove or oven.
• Minimize the amount of time your refrigerator and freezer doors are open.
• Use natural lighting and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Ninety percent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb makes heat.
• Close blinds and curtains on hot days.
• Install white window shades or blinds to reflect heat away from your house.
• For long-term cooling, plant trees/shrubs to shade your house. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of a typical household’s energy used for cooling.
• Place your room air conditioner on the north side of the house. A unit operating in the shade uses up to 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
• Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air into the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. Most effective when operated at night as the air is cooler outside than inside.

Appliance Usage
• Use cold water for doing laundry and air dry clothes on clotheslines.
• Unplug electronics like computers, televisions, and radios when not in use.
• Set your dishwasher to air-dry mode and use it only when it’s fully loaded.
• Turn on ceiling fans only when you’re in the room.
• Clean and maintain your air conditioner often. Make sure air filters, air intakes, grilles, and radiators are unblocked and clean at all times. Clean dirt and leaves off coils on outdoor units.
• When buying new appliances, including air conditioners, look for those that are ENERGY STAR rated, which means they are more energy efficient than traditional appliances.