Cranking up the AC can also crank up your electric bill. Here are a few alternative ways to keep your home cool this summer.

1. Swap Bulbs
If you still haven't switched to CFLs for environmental or economic reasons, do it to be cool. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy through the heat they emit.

2. Keep A Cool Head
Try out a buckwheat pillow for bedtime. They don't absorb and retain heat like cotton and down pillows.

Place a big bowl of ice water in front of a fan for a cheap alternative to central air.

4. Mind the Blinds
Close your window blinds or curtains during the day (particularly if you are out of the house) to prevent your home from heating up like a greenhouse.

5. Grill and Chill
Cooking outside on the grill keeps you from heating up your home with a stove or oven. Bonus: It also minimizes the time you have to sweat over the dishes.

6. Don't Block Your Breeze
Open internal doors at night to maximize any fresh, cool breezes that blow in.

7. Change Direction
For the summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate in a counterclockwise direction to create a cooling, downward airflow. In winter, turn the setting back to clockwise to recirculate warm air.

8. Suck It Up
Use your bathroom fan when you shower and your exhaust fan when you use your stovetop. They'll help draw the hot air up and out of the room.

9. Unplug
>Electronics emit heat when they're plugged in, even if they're turned off. Unplug them, or use a smart power strip, when they’re not in use.

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