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KEEPING your cool, means keeping your A/C working

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Keeping cool usually means cranking up the air, and that can be expensive. But experts say there are ways to make a big dent in cooling costs.

Airco Service Manager Rick Kellenberger says the easiest thing to do is change air conditioning filters and keep equipment cleaned and maintained. When it comes to thermostats, consistency is the key. Kellenberger says turning the setting down too low just makes it have to run longer. When you're away from home, don't raise the thermostat more than five degrees above your usual setting.

PSO recommends other steps such as turning off lights and planning cook-free meals. Carole Hicks with PSO: "We would recommend anything that uses electricity, your showering, clothes drying and washing and any other chores you do, do early in the morning or evening hours. The temperatures are much cooler then and it really draws down less on the electricity and makes a big difference."

A few other conservation tips: Make sure the size of your air conditioner is right for your home. Set the thermostat between 74 and 78 degrees. Keep drapes and blinds closed during the hot part of the day. And plant trees, especially on the west side of the house.
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