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Stay Cool Without Going Broke

Keeping cool in scorching heat can lead to high electricity bills, but doing so is a must for your health in this weather.

Did you know that what you pay for electricity varies depending on the time of day? Check your company's rates. For example, Connecticut Light & Power has two time-of-use (TOU) rates: on-peak is from noon to 8 p.m. All other hours are off-peak.

Try planning your electricity use for the off-peak hours and you'll save money. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your home cool without wasting money.

• Turn off lights and appliances when not in use, especially the TV, which gives off a lot of heat.

• Close the blinds on your windows. Sun shining through the windows will heat up your home.

• Run the dishwasher and washer during off-peak hours.

• Don't use the dryer. Air dry your clothes.

• Don't use the oven. Try microwaving or barbecuing outdoors. If you simply have to have a pizza, have it delivered.

• Change or clean the filters on your wall or window air conditioning units. They'll work more efficiently.

• Run the air conditioning in just one room or zone of your house. There's no pointing cooling the whole house unless you absolutely have to.

• If you don't have air conditioning, keep cool with cold showers and fans. Check with your local authorities for cooling stations in your town.

If it's still too hot for you, head to the mall or the movie theater and enjoy their air conditioning for free.

What are you doing to stay cool?

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