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While people across large parts of the country are roasting in the heat, some Canadians are getting inventive about keeping cool.

In Ottawa, Brandon Waselnuk has come up with an economical solution for those without air conditioning: "If you place a bowl full of ice in front of a fan, it will help tremendously. It's like poor man's AC!"

Cary Horning keeps the lights out and the dehumidifier on. "Tin foil up your windows if you don't have room darkening blinds," she suggests.

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Hey, whatever works, right?

If cranking up the air conditioning is your only method of keeping cool, you're in for a shock when your hydro bill arrives. (If you are worried about that, check out this previous Home Cents blog post about how to save $700 on your energy bill.) More recently, a BMO survey found that half of homeowners cite utility costs as the biggest financial surprise about home ownership.

To help cope with the heat, BMO offers a few tips for keeping your cool without sucking up a lot of energy:

1. Close the blinds. Choosing a pale colour of window dressing can reflect heat away from the house. Also consider window film for heat and glare reduction.

2. Use a thermostat programmer. Program your thermostat to turn on the air conditioning only during times when you will be home.

3. Turn down the internal heat. Be aware of where heat is coming from within your home from sources such as appliances, electronic devices and lighting. Try to avoid placing these heat generators near your AC unit, as this will cause the system to work harder and longer.

4. Control humidity. Washing and drying clothes, showering and cooking all increase humidity inside your home. If these cannot be avoided, turn on a ventilating fan or dehumidifier to help extract warm, moist air.

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5. Service your AC unit. Be sure to tune up your air conditioner unit and clean your ducts every spring to ensure they are working efficiently.

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