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Courtney Cachet

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How Not to Be a Hot Mess at Home

Posted: 07/07/10 11:56 AM ET

It's hot out there! No matter what you're doing or where you're going, it's unavoidable. You have frizzy or flat hair, a shiny forehead and well, you're just plain sweaty. When you get home, you just want to cool off and relax. With the extreme heat much of the U.S. is battling with right now, we need some quick tips to keep us cool and safe! Here are some options that can help pretty much everyone. If you combine a few of them you will stay cooler and you will be cooler because you'll save some money. What's cooler than that?

Programmable Thermostats

Keep them set at 78 degrees when you're out fo the house during the day. Upon entering the house, you can turn it down to something a bit cooler if you wish. By doing this, as opposed to turning on and off everyday, you'll not only prolong the life of your air conditioning unit but save money! My top pick is one by Honeywell that can be programmed up to seven days in advance at a little over $100. Widely available at major retailers.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans have come a long way since those ugly white paddles with the even uglier brass string hanging down. They come in a whole bunch of finishes and sizes. I found some really cool ones at someplace called bigassfans.com. If you need to cool a big ass room, or maybe just a big ass, what better place to start your search?

Shades/Draperies

The same thermal shades that keep you all toasty in the dead of winter will cool your sweaty self in a heatwave, plain and simple. The all day heat on your windows is where your home loses so much energy. And money! Pull the shades, draw the curtains. I found a ton of really cool varieties at several price points at blinds.com. I just got some that came with a battery powered remote control. So when I'm too hot (or too lazy) to get out of bed, I can open and close them without getting up!

Lightbulbs

If you're still using the old school bulbs, change them! Long-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs produce about 70 percent less heat than standard incandescents. Less heat, less cash!
I like Sylvania, but there are lots of good brands to choose from.

Attic Insulation

While most people think about installing attic insulation in the fall, insulation works equally well in the summer to keep hot attic air temperatures from penetrating the attic ceiling. Well insulated homes should have a minimum of 8 inches of ceiling insulation. Insulation is easy to install with just a few precautions. Make sure to cover exposed skin, especially when using fiberglass insulation. Also, be sure to wear a dust mask to prevent breathing in fiberglass particles and wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. If doing the attic insulation job in the summer, start early in the morning and quit well before the sun heats up.

Way Cool Money Saving Tip for the DIY Set: If you're looking for building materials or anything (seriously anything!) home related for that matter, check out one of my top spots I hit first, diggerslist.com. They are in dozens of major U.S. metropolitan areas and are an invaluable source for pretty much everything you might need around the house. Think Craigslist for the home, but minus the creep factor.

And if you think the heat is bad, remember back to last winter when it seemed like the snow had no end...Yeah, remember that?

For now, let's just stay cool.


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