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Print Dollar Bills Using Your Air Conditioner!

Mark Jeantheau -- Here are some money-saving tips related to air conditioning and staying cool and green energywise.

Well, OK, you can't exactly print dollar bills using your A/C unit. You can, however, do the equivalent by saving money on how efficiently your air conditioner operates. In addition, the last thing we want is to have our air conditioner go belly up during these hot months, and proper maintenance can help avoid that. If you're already in the market for a new central air conditioner or window unit, you can STILL save money.

"I want to save the money! How, how, how???" Easy! Just follow the pointers below to the article most appropriate to your situation.

1. Optimize your existing air conditioning system with one of these articles from Better Homes and Gardens: "Maintaining a Central Air-Conditioner" or "Maintaining a Room Air-Conditioner."

2. Install the right new air conditioning system. Check out the Union of Concerned Scientists' article "Saving Energy While Staying Cool." If you're in the market for a new central unit, be sure to consider a ground-connected heat pump (a.k.a. geothermal HVAC). These may cost more up front but they save big-time on heating and cooling bills.

3. Do it the old fashioned way by using techniques like ventilation and evaporative cooling — see the US Department of Energy's page on Cooling Systems.

You can also help cut cooling costs simply by being smart about using your window shades and drapes. Keeping the shades down and the drapes closed helps reject sunlight coming through the window (which would add heat to the room due to the greenhouse effect) and also improves the insulation value of the window. During the summer, in theory, you would want to keep the windows covered all the time, but doing that also cuts down on daylighting and gives one the feeling of living in a cave. A compromise is to just keep the shades down at night and anytime the sun is shining directly on a window.

So, you can save some money, no sweat. Maybe you'll end up with enough for an extra day of your vacation to Six Flags Over Disney Park Beach. Cool!

A few hot summer quotes

"We all learn by experience but some of us have to go to summer school." — Peter De Vries

"It's a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do." — Walter Winchell

"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." — James Dent

"A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp." — Raymond Duncan

"Sometimes I get bored riding down the beautiful streets of L.A. I know it sounds crazy, but I just want to go to New York and see people suffer." — Donna Summer

Mark is a writer, financial analyst, Web developer, environmentalist, and, as necessary, chef and janitor. Grinning Planet is an expression of Mark's enthusiasm for all things humorous and green, as well as a psychotic desire to work himself half-to-death. Hobbies include health foods, music, getting frustrated over politics, and occasionally lecturing the TV set on how uncreative it is. For jokes, cartoons, and more great environmental information, visit

© 2008 Mark Jeantheau

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