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      Staying cool and saving money the DIY way

      COLUMBIA (WACH)â??As summertime in the Midlands continues to kick in, the days feel very long and equally as hot. Finding ways to stay cool are as diversified as the people that seek them. If you are outside, hydration, shade, and even a dip in the river or lake can provide that respite from the constant beating of the hot sun, and our friend humidity.

      If you decide that the comforts of home is where you find you â??coolâ?? happy spot, there are some steps you can take to save over $500.00 a year.

      The US Department of Energy says that creating a whole-house plan for energy conservation can save hundreds of dollars.

      One simple way to utilize your air conditioning unit more effetely is to install a new digital thermostat that is programmable, and in many cases, can be remotely controlled. The right thermostat can save you about $180.00 a year.

      Changing a thermostat is something just about any D-I-Yer can do. According to Tayler from the Home Depot on Harbison, there are just a few steps.

      1. Pop off the old thermostat and open it.
      2. You will see wires with letters plugged in
      3. Use the labels provided in the new kit to label the wires and then disconnect them from the old unit
      4. Put the new wires in the corresponding labeled connecters on the new unit, and replace on the wall.

      Tayler also points out that it is important to change the air filters on your HVAC unit, as it can have an impact on how well your unit works, and a dirty filter can cost more to operate.

      The USDOE says that we loose 30%-50% of the energy we use through cracks, gaps and holes. Filling cracks is also a very easy endeavor.

      1. Install caulk into caulk gun
      2. Run tip of gun along the crack while squeezing caulk and filling the hole
      3. Smooth with your finger and allow to set.

      You can also use weather stripping in many cases.

      A slightly more advanced project is replacing windows and doors in your home. Using double pane windows and doors that are Energy Star rated can save hundreds of dollars a year. This government rated assessment ensures that you are getting the best performance rating possible.

      Home Depot Harbisonâ??s Ari says that saving money and staying cool can also be as simple as replacing light bulbs. LED bulbs can use up to 85% less energy can incandescent bulbs. Not only does that use less electricity, they also stay cool when in use, which can have an overall impact in the temperature of your house.

      Using dimmable lights and even motion sensors in rooms can also make the most of every bit of energy that is used in your house.

      If all the energy savings arenâ??t enough to motivate you to change out some light bulbs, SGE &G is offering instant discounts when you change from the incandescent bulbs to CFL and LED lights. This instant discount, that is available at many hardware retailers can be anywhere from $1.75 for a bulb to $10.00 for a fixture.

      With a little know-how, and perhaps a drop or two of sweat, you can save hundreds of dollars on your energy bill, and stay that much cooler.