Dear Readers: The heat is on. Hot temperatures are here for the summer, and they can take a dangerous toll on people, pets and pocketbooks. Let’s take a look at some hints to save money on your summer cooling bills:

Limit the use of large appliances like clothes dryers and ovens. Perhaps line-dry clothes and fire up the barbeque grill.

Set your ceiling fans to run counterclockwise in the summertime (there’s a switch on the unit’s housing). Table fans can help you feel cooler.

Direct sun streaming in? Close blinds and curtains.

Set your thermostat higher — experts suggest 78 degrees — and higher when you are away for the day. Make sure your air conditioner is tuned up and in good shape.

Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use. If the unit is plugged in, it is consuming energy even if it’s turned off.

Conserving electricity will help keep your bills lower, and help keep energy available for everyone.

— Heloise