Stay cool

Keeping cooling costs down when the weather heats up

With unbearably hot Chico temperatures lurking around the corner, now is a good time to consider clever ways to keep home cooling costs down this summer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program recently released its annual tips for cutting cooling costs and staying comfortable at home during the scorching months.

Here are a few of them:

• Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. Energy-Star-qualified bulbs emit about 75 percent less heat.

• Set the thermostat according to your routine. Don’t cool the house when nobody is home.

• Use ceiling fans wisely. Use them to avoid cranking up the air conditioner, but turn them off when no one is in the room.

• Maximize shade. Move plants in front of windows and close curtains when no one is home.

• Reduce oven time. Use the microwave instead (or the outdoor barbecue!).

• Check the air-conditioner filter. If it’s dirty, change it.