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Sharon is melting; she is so hot. She fans herself and wishes for premature menopause. A hot flash would probably cool her off, she muses. She looks at the thermometer and knows it is not broken. It is 92 degrees in the house. Last month, airconditioning her house jacked the electric bill up an extra $150. She just cannot afford that much.

Sharon does not need to suffer the heat if she will follow a few tips. She can maintain a cooler house AND keep her A/C bill reasonable.

1. Set the A/C thermostat for 80 degrees. That is enough to feel a cool difference while keeping the meter from spinning out of control.
2. Close the windows, close the blinds, and close the curtains. The point is to keep as much sunlight out as possible. Tinting the windows all around the house will help to keep your house cooler. Taping aluminum foil to the window panes will keep virtually ALL sunlight out.
3. Take tepid showers and baths, not hot and not cool. Make the water temperature a bit less than warm without getting the shivers. When done bathing, pat dry and leave your skin somewhat damp or moist, even wet in some places. Finish drying by convection. Hang out for a while in your skivvies before getting dressed.
4. Wear 100% cotton. A little spandex (2%) is OK, but avoid polyester or blends. You may as well wear a parka if you are looking to wear your old dacron jumpsuit. Cotton is absorbent and light on the skin. You will be cooler wearing cotton than hanging out in the buff.
5. Leave your fans on. Ceiling fans are a great investment, and they are relatively easy to install. If you have them, turn them on and leave them on, even if you are not in the room. They cost pennies to operate, and they keep the cool air circulating.
6. Cook with your microwave. Avoid, at all costs, turning your oven on! Ovens put out a tremendous amount of heat, even after they are turned off.

Sharon has closed her heavy curtains to keep out the sunlight. She has put aluminum foil on the windowpanes facing west, to avoid the broiling afternoon sun. She can feel a difference already. Sharon has turned the thermostat to 80, and the thermometer reads 86.

Every bedroom has a ceiling fan along with the living room. She turns the bedroom fans on low because she spends little time there during the day. The living room fan is cranked up on high. Her thermometer is at 84 now.

Sharon goes for a tepid shower. When done, she towels off her hair mostly, leaving her body drippy. She dries her hair on low, which also dries off some of her body. By the time she is through with her hair and makeup, Sharon is dry enough to get dressed. She wears white cotton shorts and a loose cotton T-shirt. She feels great! She checks the temperature gauge that has fallen to a comfortable 79!

Instead of $150 over her regular bill, Sharon’s A/C use is a reasonable, $75-100.