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Quick ways to catch cooler air

July 10th, 2015

It feels as if it's 100 degrees inside, and you need some tools to cool down your house stat. We rounded up some experts who offered quick-fix tips to get your home down to a reasonable temperature — even if the sun is trying its hardest to make you sweat.

Install an Energy Star ceiling fan. These can quickly lower the temperature of your room by 4 to 6 degrees — and they cost just a few cents per hour to operate. "For better results, pair with an air conditioner that provides cooler, drier air that the fan can then circulate," said Jaclyn Pardini, Lowe's spokeswoman.

Seal your home. Save up to 10 percent on electricity bills by using caulk, weather strips and spray foam around windows, doors and other hot spots including basements, crawl spaces and attics, Pardini said.

Remove moisture from the air. A dehumidifier can make an instant temperature difference in how a home feels on humid days. "Drier air will make the home feel cooler, particularly in areas that have inadequate ventilation, and will prevent the buildup of mold and mildew," Pardini said.

Install thermal curtains or cellular shades. More than 30 percent of home heating happens through your windows because they have the thinnest insulation barrier in the home, Pardini said. Thermal curtains — which cost about $25 per panel — can reduce monthly energy bills by up to 25 percent.

Add insulation. Attics are often the largest source of potential heating and cooling loss in the home, and about 65 percent of homes in the United States are under-insulated, Pardini said. According to the EPA, homeowners can save up to 20 percent on the heating and cooling portion of their energy bill with a properly insulated and air-sealed home.

Install a window air conditioner. These are the most popular units because they are easy to install and they're affordable — and some models can double as a heater, said Todd Marks, regional merchandising manager for The Home Depot. Keep in mind that most models can be installed in a single or double-hung window, and typically come with accordion panels that allow for a secure fit. Some models are designed to fit in sliding windows, but they require a support of some kind, such as a wooden plank or a specially designed shelf that can be attached to the exterior of your home.

Be savvy about air conditioner size and type. Before you shop for a window air conditioner, measure the square footage of the space you plan to cool, said Chris Hoffmann, HVAC project manager at ABT Electronics in Illinois. "Take a picture of the window (or wall sleeve) where you would like to place the unit, and bring along measurements ... so the sales associate can help you pick the proper unit," Hoffmann said. Also, make sure you have a proper electrical plug available, because many older homes aren't properly wired or don't have the proper plugs. They should be 115 or 220 volts, he said.

Get a portable air conditioner. "Portable air conditioners or freestanding units can be used to cool a specific area in a home such as a bedroom," Marks said. "They are easy to set up and don't require permanent installation." These have a standard window venting kit for the exhaust hose, and many are mounted on casters so you can move them from room to room. Many also have reservoirs that need to be emptied periodically, though some come with optional hookups for a drainage hose.

Quick cool

These products will cool you — and your home — quickly.

Lasko 20-inch 3-speed fan It's an energy-efficient fan that can pivot or stay in one place. This comes fully assembled and is ready to go with three speeds.

Lava Heat Aire Aviator Try this outside on a hot day, and it'll spray cool mist throughout your backyard with technology inspired by turbo jet engines, which use the power of wind and water. It has a 25-gallon water tank that provides up to 16 hours of uninterrupted cooling.

Hampton Bay Southwind 52-inch ceiling fan Use the remote control to operate this fan (there are no hanging chains), which comes with a lifetime motor warranty. The light has a dimmer, and it's a quiet, smooth fan. $89.88

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