The second heat wave of 2010 has hit. As the temperature soars into the high 30’s, so does the temptation to crank that air conditioning.

Unfortunately, air conditioners use a lot of energy, which is hard on the environment and your wallet. Here are cost-effective alternatives:

1. Use ceiling or portable fans to encourage air flow. Even mild air movement can feel three or four degrees cooler.

2. Use smaller appliances for cooking that don’t generate much heat.

3. Keep windows and curtains closed during the day, and open them at night. This will allow cool evening air into your home that won’t escape in the day time.

4. Make sure your fireplace damper is closed so cool air doesn’t escape through the chimney.

5. Shade south-facing windows with a tree or an awning. Blocking out direct sunlight keeps your house cooler.

6. Make sure your home is properly insulated to prevent cool air from escaping. Use blower-door guided weather-stripping or caulking.

7. Use energy-efficient LED lights. They’ll save you money and produce less heat than incandescent bulbs.