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Today’s Forecast: hot!

Yep, it’s supposed to be a scorcher. So we’ll share some helpful hints and thoughtful energy habits to help you stay cool AND stay green as temperatures rise:

• Drink lots of water. Cold drinks drop your body’s core temperature and cool you down quickly.

• Turn off unnecessary heat-producing devices. Incandescent light bulbs are a big heat generator. Shut down electronic gear when you’re not using it.

• Set your thermostat to 78. Go higher, if the humidity is low enough and you feel comfortable. Turning a thermostat down to cool a room quicker doesn’t work, by the way — it makes the A/C run longer, not colder.

• Run your air conditioner fan on low. This is particularly helpful in areas with high humidity. The low air volume helps your A/C dehumidify.

• Keep heat-producers away from your thermostat. Don’t allow a closely located TV or water heater to convince your thermostat that it’s hotter than it really is.

• Draw your drapes. Keeping your blinds, shades and curtains closed — particularly on the west side of the house — helps keeps heat from getting inside in the first place.

• Use the microwave. Conventional cooking dumps heat in the house, but microwaves cook the food directly.

• Skip your dishwasher’s dry cycle. Rack your dishes and let them air dry instead.

• Wash and dry clothes when the day is cool. Do laundry early in the day and late at night. Don’t forget clotheslines: they generate no heat in the house.

• Open the bathroom window when showering. Vent heat and humidity outside, rather than back into the house. Keep the bathroom door closed.

• Check your refrigerator settings. The refrigerator is best set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The fridge takes heat out of your food and transfers it to your kitchen, so be sure you’re running efficiently.

• Turn off your furnace pilot light. You can always re-light it next autumn.

• Close the fireplace damper. Don’t send cool air up the chimney. If your fireplace has a glass door, shut it.

Source: Chris Baskind, Mother Nature Network (www.mnn.com)

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