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Keeping your house cool without air conditioning

Air conditioner (WGME)

FALMOUTH (WGME) -- It's officially summer and that means hotter temperatures across the state. Efficiency Maine says there are several ways to keep your house or apartment cool without turning on the AC units.

"They're probably the last way I would recommend someone try and stay comfortable in the summer," says Efficiency Maine Program Manager Andy Meyer.

Meyer says there are a lot of alternatives to air conditioning, which can start with capturing the cool air at night.

"Nights are typically 20 degrees cooler than days," says Meyer, "So if you can open your windows all night, let the cool air in, then in the morning close your windows and close your shades to keep the hot air out and the sun out, that can make a big difference."

Try opening front and back windows to create cross-ventilation, and if it's still too hot, use a fan.

"Make sure the fan is directed on you," says Meyer, "Fans don't make rooms cooler, they make you cooler, so if you leave the room, turn off the fan, it's not going to help anything."

If you need something a little stronger, Meyer says heat pumps use half the electricity of AC units.

"A heat pump can air condition or dehumidify and people usually buy them because they're a very efficient way to heat," says Meyer.

Avoid cooking and other heat sources when possible and assess your home's insulation.

"An attic during a hot summer day can get as hot as an oven," adds Meyer, "So insulating that attic can help keep the heat away from your house and make you more comfortable."

Falmouth resident Mark Petersen improved the insulation in his home years ago and says it's paid off.

"With cross ventilation, windows on one side of the house and the other side, we're able to keep it much more comfortable for many more days," says Petersen. "It's penny wise and pound foolish not to take care of something like that."

Meyer says it's all about using your home and nature to your advantage.

"If you are clever about using these other strategies you can really save a lot of energy and be just as comfortable," Meyer says.

Efficiency Maine offers rebates for heat pumps and insulation, as well as loans.

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