Dear Heloise: Here are some hints for staying comfy and cool this summer while saving money:
• Maintaining the air conditioner is critical. Schedule yearly maintenance to be sure everything is working properly.
• Consider adding window treatments to keep heat out — awnings outside, blinds and curtains inside.
• A “smart” thermostat can maintain an appropriate temperature for your home. Some can be controlled through an app on your phone.
• Check windows and doors for leaks, and seal any you find. Additional attic insulation also might be called for.
• Finally, as simple as it sounds, a cool evening breeze can replace the air conditioning. So, open a window! — Barry in Missouri
Dear Readers: If you have an issue with a company, they may offer a live chat forum on their website where you can chat (message) with a representative who can help resolve the problem or direct you to someone who can.
The best part of the chat is that you’ll have the conversation in writing, so you can save the transcript for future reference. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I love those cloth dish-drying mats, but they can get stinky and moldy if not dried properly between uses. So, I have two mats that I alternate, hanging the damp one on a pants hanger (with clips). — Mama Betty in Texas
Never have I ever
Dear Heloise: I never open my door to a stranger, even if it’s a kindly lady poised at the peephole. A team of bad men could be crouched down out of sight. — Hilda in Alabama
Hilda, sad but true. These people often work in teams, and although Southern hospitality is a wonderful thing, it’s always important to put safety first. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: Why do I get blasted with air when I walk through the door at my grocery store? What’s going on? — Ida in Texas
Ida, what you’re experiencing is called an air door (or air curtain), which uses a downward-facing blower fan. And while it is strong (it’ll probably undo a beehive hairdo in a hot minute), it serves important purposes.
Air doors work to keep birds and flying insects out of the store for your safety and for the safety of the creatures as well. It also helps to keep the air-conditioned air inside and the hot air outside.
Restaurants, airlines and loading docks also use air doors, and many businesses where the doors are open often. — Heloise
Dear Readers: You’re thinking about running a 10K (kilometer) race, but just how many miles is that? Well, 1 kilometer is about .62 miles. So before you put on your running shoes, you should know that a 10K run is 6.2 miles, which might require some training beforehand. You may want to start off with a 5K (3.1 miles), which many runners complete in about 30 to 40 minutes. Whichever you choose, wear the proper equipment, and run safely. — Heloise
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.