DEAR HELOISE: I’m big on saving money, and lowering my air-conditioner bill is a great way to do it. Here are some hints I use, even in the heat of summer:
Comfort is key, but I’ve gotten accustomed to a room temperature of 78 to 80 degrees.
I keep my outdoor unit free of grass and bushes.
Ceiling fans often are all that I need to cool off, especially at night. Closing blinds and window treatments, I’ve discovered, keeps the house cooler.
I replace and clean the AC filters regularly.
I don’t have a room AC unit, but it’s best to keep these out of direct sun.
I close the doors and vents to rooms I don’t use, so they don’t get cooled.
I turn up the AC when I’m away from home.
My unit is fairly new, but if you have an older model, it’s probably not as energy-efficient as it could be. I’d consider an upgrade.
— Mike C. in Arizona DEAR READER: Great hints. Use some of the dollars saved to have an ice-cream treat or cool glass of iced tea.
DEAR HELOISE: I bought an ice bucket with a good-fitting lid from the thrift store and lined it with a plastic produce bag.
I put the waste from my cat’s litter pan in it and change the bag once a week on trash day. The insulated bucket completely contains all the odor.
— Vicki L., Ohio
DEAR HELOISE: My complaint is that many stores have their cart return far away from the accessible spots. I’m not disabled, but my wife is.
— Gary H. in Maine
DEAR HELOISE: An old golf bag can be used in the garage to store mops and brooms, etc. It holds a lot and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
— Elaine H., Florida
DEAR READERS: Button, button, who’s got the button? There are a number of uses for recycled buttons:
They can be used in jewelry-making to create interesting, new designs.
Attach to the ends of drawstrings to keep from pulling through casings.
Great for decorating picture frames, and for gift decorations.
Instead of pebbles in a pot, try a couple of handfuls of old buttons.