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It’s been a hot and humid July so far, and increased temps often mean increased energy usage. But before you go blasting that central air down to near freezing temperatures, check out these low-cost ways to keep yourself cool and your energy costs down during the dog days of summer:

  • What you put into your body can drastically affect how you feel! Stay cool and hydrated by drinking plenty of ice water and eating hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, and celery.
  • Cool down at mealtime by opting for yogurt, cold salads, gazpacho, and other no-heat meals.
  • Start and end your day with a cold shower to bring your body temperature down. During the day, keep a spray bottle of ice water nearby and give yourself a spritz when you feel you’re heating up.
  • At night, keep a cold washcloth by your bed and apply it to your forehead if you wake up feeling hot.
  • Fans are underrated! Avoid turning on air conditioning preemptively by positioning yourself in front of a fan. Just remember to turn it off when you leave the room — fans cool people, not rooms, so they only serve a purpose when someone’s inside.
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your water heater at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding. The lower setting will conserve energy, save money, and keep you from scalding yourself and your guests.
  • Instead of hunkering down in the AC on your free time, spend your time outside near a body of water and take a refreshing dip! While no one’s home, turn your thermostat off.
  • Have blinds on your windows? Shift them so they reflect sun (and therefore heat) out, rather than let it in.
  • For sustainability brownie points, schedule a home energy assessment to learn where you could increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Head to Energy Star for some more summer energy saving tips!