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Blame it on global warming if you wish, but the fact remains - summertime temperatures are soaring with each passing year. And we're sure your electricity bills are rising too! But instead of blaming the power company, you need to indulge in smart air-conditioning to lower cooling costs. Here are a few handy tips to do just that:

Get a high-efficiency AC NOW!
Don't be paise wise, rupee foolish. If the AC unit in your home is over 5-6 years old, replace it with a new, higher-efficiency unit that will immensely reduce cooling costs.

Go automatic!
Install an electronic setback thermostat and automate settings for your AC unit. So if you're at work all day, set the thermostat to turn on an hour before you get home. At night, put it on energy saver mode and choose the interval at which it should run and rest. After all you don't need non-stop air-conditioning for 8 hours.

Seal appropriately to save energy
Properly seal and insulate your AC duct. Also, take care to seal the space around an air conditioner with foam weather seal available in various sizes in any hardware or home-improvement store. This will save almost 30 to 40 per cent of cooling energy that is lost through leaks.

Maintain your AC
Keep the AC's condenser coil free of obstructions that impede airflow, making the unit work harder to expel heat. Also, keep all filters clean and check them monthly for any build-up as this restricts airflow, thus reducing cooling and causing operating problems.

Place your AC wisely
Typically, an AC unit is fitted in a window. So ensure that you pick a window that receives the least sunlight as AC in the shade use less energy to run. The same rule applies to AC units fitted in a wall.

And of course, never ever cool an unoccupied room!


As a proud home owner, surely you are proud of how well maintained and beautiful your home is. But there can be some small problems around the house you can’t always find a solution to that is aesthetic and goes with your décor. Here are three quick tips to handle common interior decoration woes.

Wilted flowers: Vases of flowers brighten up any room, but flowers die in a day or so, ruining the look of your house. Since it can be difficult to keep replacing flowers quickly, try using bowls of fresh fruit to decorate your home instead. Glossy fruit in bright colors – such as red apples or a striking bowl of cherries – add as much freshness and color to a room as flowers, and they stay fresh longer too. These also make for a handy snack for unexpected guests!

Flying curtains: Sheer curtains on large French windows can add a wispy, beautiful quality to any room. But if you live near the sea or on a high floor, such curtains can keep flying and upsetting objects kept on nearby tables. Curtains flying in the breeze can be a real irritant and most people solve this issue by pinning them down with clothes pegs – an extremely ugly solution. Sew on some large heavy wooden buttons or colored beads to the edges of your curtains to weigh them down and also make them more attractive. You can use practically anything – shells or even small bells that will tinkle every time there is breeze, without letting the curtains get in your way.

Drying plants: Most people enjoy having greenery in the house by way of potted plants but often forget to water them on time. Try this unique solution. Purchase a large weighing scale, the kind your local vegetable vendor uses, and place a potted plant on one side of it. When you water this plant, the plant will weigh the scale down due to the weight, and slowly rise as the water dries, reminding you that the next watering is due! This won’t just keep your plants alive but also add a nice touch of kitsch to your home.


Aarti Saxena, a housewife from Mumbai dreads the festive season. She says “We spend so much money on painting our home, then my children happily go and paste decorations on the walls. Just the thought of tape marks or white patches on the walls, makes me want to keep the decorations up all year long.”

Most of you must be in the same situation as Aarti. But be it Diwali, Id or Christmas, we go berserk with the decorations. The more we adorn our place the happier and spirited we feel.

But as decorations go up, they must also come down. So how do we ensure maintaining the beauty of your walls? Here’s 5 simple ways how you can do so.

• Use a paper tape or remove the stickiness of the tape by rubbing it on cloth before pasting it on the wall.
• When pulling off the tape, be gentle and slow. By going slow you can ensure maintaining the paint from getting ripped off the walls.
• Another simple method is to get 4 small nails mailed in at the four top corners of your room. This way you can draw strings around and then paste streamers around them. Or even use it to hang cards and decorations.
• There are a variety of chemicals on the market for glue removal, ranging from acetone and lacquer thinner to stronger stripping compounds. How well they will work again depends on the adhesive and the wall surface.
• Always ask your painter to leave behind, at least half a litre of paint used to colour your room. By doing so you can ensure of retouching the places where the paint got pulled off.


To keep your metal artifacts and curios sparkling with shine, polish them the usual way and then coat with a colourless lacquer. They will retain their glittering brightness for a much longer time.


Are you one of those who has loads of books tucked away in trunks in the attic or gathering dust on your bookshelves? And isn’t it pretty annoying when you remove an old favourite and creepy creatures crawl out as you turn the pages. Or to be dismayed to find the pages eaten into in one of your favourite chapters. Here’s one way of caring for your books. To protect them from white ants and other insects keep dry red chillies and /or Neem (Margosa) leaves in small sachets in between books. You’ll never see the old book worm again!


If you try to open an old chest with an old key, you will find that it just might not relent. So if you are stuck with a key that won't turn easily in a lock "lubricate" the key by rubbing a pencil point along the jagged edge. The graphite in the pencil smoothes the edges making it easier to turn the keys.


Nothing's more frustrating than tablecloths that slip out of place if you are one who loves your home to be a spic and span. To prevent this from happening, sew tiny pockets on the four inside corners of the tablecloth. Fill these pockets with some weight - eg.small marbles / grains / sand. You will never face the slip-up problem again.
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