Q When a house isn't air-conditioned, is it better to keep the windows open or closed? A friend said it's best to keep the windows closed to keep the heat out. I think the opposite. The windows should be open to allow the house to cool off. Which is correct?

A Both. It's a question of timing.

In the evening, as it cools outdoors, open the windows so circulating air can cool the house. Placing a fan in a window will speed up the process by exhausting warm air from the house while drawing in cool air through the other windows.

In the morning, before the sun heats the day, close the windows, turn off the window fan and draw the shades. This will keep it cooler longer indoors. If windows are kept open on a hot day, temperatures equalize indoors and out. At some point, if indoor temperatures exceed those outdoors, then it makes sense to open the windows during the day.

You can get relief by keeping windows open all the time and using a fan to move air that will feel cool as it passes over the body. Achieving comfort is often a case of trial and error.

Getting rid of whiskey

Q I have some rare whiskey that's 45 years old. How can I get rid of it?

A You can always pour it down the drain, of course, but consider passing it on. If you want to give it away, try listing it on a website such as www. twincitiesfreemarket.org. or www.craigslist.org. You can try selling it online at craiglist or by auction at www.ebay.com. Or, take out a want ad.

Be aware that the bottle itself may be valuable. Contact an antique dealer or bottle collectors organization. The Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors operates a website that lists such organizations by state. Go to: www.fohbc.com.

Improvise clothes pole

Q My daughter recently moved to northern Iowa and wants to hang her clothes to dry outdoors. She'd like a clothes pole, the pole that supports the middle of the clothes line to keep it from sagging to the ground with heavy loads. But we can't find these poles in stores. Can you help?

A I don't think clothes poles are commercially made, but you can make your own.

Go to a local hardware or building supply store with the measurement of the length of pole you need. Then ask them to cut it from PVC conduit or wood dowel. (PVC is strong, light and, unlike wood, weather-resistant.)

Ask if they could cut a V-notch into one end for the clothesline. If not, you can cut one yourself or have a handy person do it for you.

Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-9033, or e-mail fixit@startribune.com. Past columns are available at www.startribune.com/fixit. Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies.