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Experts give advice on cooling home during heat wave

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Jul 02 2013 11:10:21 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

The heat continues to scorch western Montana and it's not over yet -- Tuesday night could turn out to be the warmest night of the year so far.

With temperatures climbing into the 90s and even reaching triple digits in some cases, we wanted to find out how you can keep your home cool.

NBC Montana did some digging and talked to managers at Ace Hardware who tell us if you don't have an air conditioner there are still a few things you can do to keep your home cool,  particularly at night. 

Nicholas Hunter, the assistant manager at the East Broadway Ace Hardware in Missoula, tells us the key to keeping cool without an air conditioner is to trap cold air in your home.

“You can actually open up your windows, let all of the hot air out of your apartment or house and then you can turn around and let the cold air in,” he says. “Then seal it up because we're generally well-insulated because we have cold winters so we need to hold that cold in as best we can all the way through the day.”

Hunter says keeping the direct sunlight out can also help.  He suggests pulling your blinds down and keeping curtains closed.

Hunter tells NBC Montana one cheap and effective way to keep your house cool during the summer is to use window film, sometimes called privacy film, which is similar to tinting the windows of your house. 

Film kits can be applied right to your windows and help keep hot UV rays out. 

Missoula residents Ahnie Litecky and Jeffrey Johnson tell us an air conditioner would be ideal but they don't think it's necessary.

“At home we close up the house in the morning and we try and keep the cool air in which hasn't really worked so well the last few days because it's been so hot even at night,” she says.  “So we use fans as much as possible.”

“This kind of heat in Missoula usually only lasts a few weeks a year, so for us it's not really worth buying a big unit to use three weeks a year,” says Johnson.  “We just sort of deal with the heat for that amount of time and then we appreciate it when it gets cool at night again.”

For folks who are using an air conditioner, Hunter has a few tips. 

“When it's moist outside you actually lower the efficiency of your air conditioner,” says Hunter.  “What you should do is keep your house all sealed up, as much as you can, and just run it when you have to.”

He tells us only using air conditioning when you need to will help you save a few bucks too.

“That's what I do at home,” says Hunter.  “I run my air conditioning only when I absolutely have to because I don't want to spend the money if I can help it.”

Hunter says it's best to turn your air conditioning on only when you're home during the day and use fans at night. 

Tuesday evening we called several stores in Missoula and asked if they had any air conditioners – all the stores told us they were sold out, but if you're looking to get one soon Sears and Ace Hardware are going to be your best bet -- both are expecting shipments over the next few days.