Keeping Cool and not Burning up Your Cash

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Despite the heatwave broiling the country, WHNT NEWS 19 found ways you can stay cool, while hold onto your cold hard cash.

Temperatures in some areas are sneaking up to dangerously hot levels and there are some small things you can do and changes you can make to keep it under control.

Here's how experts in our community, and online, say people can stay cool for less money.

"The main thing is change your filter.  Your return air filter every month," said Chuck Stewart who owns Alabama Climate Control.
He's run the business for 39 years and knows how quickly cooling a home can burn up income.

Eighty-four percent of homes in America use air conditioning and homeowners can save by keeping the equipment serviced and clean.

"When you mow your grass, you need to always discharge it away from the unit to keep the debris from stopping up the coil," said Stewart.

If you don't have them in your home, consider installing indoor ceiling fans..  They'll keep cool air moving around.

"You can reverse it in the winter time and pull the heat off the ceilling and it makes it more comfortable and you use less energy," said Stewart.  "You can tolerate 78 degrees with a fan."

Stewart says each degree on your thermostat amounts to seven percent on your bill and 78 degrees is the suggested level.

He likes the idea of solar powered attic fans, but warns going green isn't cheap.

"Green is good but it is still very expensive," said Stewart.  "The tax rebate is really the only thing that makes it possible."

At the very least, close your blinds, but open your windows at night, if the temperature cools.

You can make your own air conditioning by putting a metal bowl of salted ice in front of a fan, and adjust the fan so the air is blowing over the ice and towards you.

Use CFL, or compact fluorescent lamp lightbulbs and turn off lights when you don't need them.

Avoid coffee, alcohol and soft drinks which can dehydrate you and drink a lot of water.  Tap water doesn't cost much.

We found a link on pinterest to a thermos-like gadget that costs $99.  It uses ultraviolet technology to purify contents in 60 seconds, saving you from having to buy bottles of water.

You have to keep clean despite the sweat, so try a peppermint soap.  They're known to make you feel a few degrees cooler.

For that matter, even a thin slice of a cold cucumber placed on your forehead can cool you down at home or in your car.

About an hour before you go to bed, put a small pillow in a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer.

Also freeze a water bottle and keep it with you to drink from or just put on your skin.

For children, have a water balloon fight, with balloons you can get at a dollar store.

Don't forget about the pets in the heat.  It doesn't cost much to keep them comfortable and safe.

Pet owners should keep the furry ones inside on hot days or spray them down with water.  Don't spray them with ice water because that could make heat exhaustion worse by decreasing blood flow.

Don't leave a pet in a hot car--even with air conditioning running.  If the car malfunctions and the AC stops working, the pet could die.

Finally, don't give a pet sports drinks or electrolyte supplements.  Those can actually harm them and make them sick.