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I have seen many hints on here about using black plastic bags over windows and glass doors to block the sun from coming in. I agree that this should work, but it makes it impossible to see outside and that's what I like. I used to use the bags, but found that I was forever cutting or tearing small holes in the plastic so that I could see. It wound up looking terrible and defeating the purpose of them being there as the sun would come in through my tears. I came up with a better solution.
I use the plastic film that is sold to use on car windows. I know it's expensive (I pay approx. $18 a roll) so I bought buying a roll or two a week until I got enough to cover all my windows and glass doors. It took a while, but now all my windows and doors are covered, and it's a lot cooler in here without blocking my view.
At the end of the season, I take a lot of cheap wax paper and scotch tape it to the plastic. Then I take a long paper towel roll (I tape several together to make the lengths I need) and roll the wax paper and plastic around the roll. Then I label each one with what window/door it went on. This way I can reuse it year after year.
Along with the plastic, I also use window blinds and room darkening curtains. It has made a world of difference in the comfort of our home, and has also brought our electric bill down by close to 50% from over $300 to about $175-185. In the winter I take down all my room darkening curtains and the film and replace them with sheer curtains. For rooms where we want privacy, I keep the blinds up, but during the day (after dressing) I raise the blinds. This way I'm letting all the sun in that I can and warming the house up naturally.
By Cricket from Parkton, NC
It's extremely HOT here in St. Louis. Today should reach 110 degrees Heat Index and we have a very old house without proper insulation (we're working on it). In the meantime I just had to do something to try and keep out the horrible heat and humidity. So I took a cheap vinyl flannel-backed tablecloth, cut small holes and thread it through the curtain rod on our back door and small back window. It worked! I was amazed how much it really helped.
By darlene from St. Louis, MO
To keep your house comfy and save money on electricity during summertime, buy an exhaust fan that you can easily mount/dismount in one of your windows. Use two cheap thermometers, or just use your senses, to check whether outside temps are lower than inside. When outside temp is lower than inside, turn on the exhaust fan. It will expel warm air and cool air must then enter to replace it.
I have an old natural gas furnace. The pilot light must stay lit all year around, otherwise the furnace hardware will rust and cost far more in repairs than the cost of the gas. But, it heats the house all the time too.
By Chuck from Canton, OH
Put a fan in front of your A/C unit in your home to spread cool air around quicker.
During the dog days of summer, we expend considerable amounts of energy (and dollars) trying to keep our homes cool. Here are 12 no-cost or low-cost ways to save energy while keeping cool this summer.
Keeping Cool by Grilling Lots of Meat. I fire up my grill once a week and grill enough meat for the entire week -- hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts, steaks and pork chops. . .
This is a page about making solar drapes. While solar drapes can ultimately save you money on your energy bills, they may be expensive to buy.