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When keeping cool, being energy efficient, and saving money on utilities bills, here are 5 ways to beat the heat this summer.

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When it gets blazing hot outside this summer, your first instinct might be to flip on the air conditioner. You’ll be more comfortable, but you may not like the increase in your utility bill that results. To keep your energy bills down this season, consider these alternatives to costly, power-hungry air conditioning:

#1 Use ceiling fans.

It’s less expensive to power ceiling fans than it is to power air conditioning, and fans are just as capable of cooling down a single room. If you don’t have a ceiling fan in a frequently used room, consider having one installed for $140 to $350. It will pay back quickly in utility bill savings.

#2 Open your windows.

While it might be counterproductive to open your windows during the day, opening them at night will create a home-cooling cross breeze. If it’s still hot outside, run window-mounted or standing fans to cool the air and push it through your home. It will cost less to power fans than it will to power your central air conditioning system. You could also have a whole house fan installed to help circulate air, and it’s important to make sure your attic fan is running to keep hot air from pushing down through your ceiling into your rooms.

#3 Use window treatments.

Sunlight can bake heat into your home. Consider installing heavy window treatments, shutters or solar screens to shield it from the rays and keep it cool. On the exterior of your home, think about planting trees and shrubs to reflect the light and shade your windows. Or, apply window film to the glass to conserve energy and reduce UV exposure.

#4 Seal leaks.

If you decide to turn your air conditioning on during the day, check for any leaks or holes in the system that might allow cold air to sneak out. Also, inspect for any holes around your windows and doors and install weather-stripping as needed. To increase insulation, think about using a plastic film or caulk to seal any areas where you feel hot air coming in. If you find a major leak — in the basement or attic, for example — you may need to hire an insulation contractor.

#5 Cut down on energy waste.

There are plenty of additional opportunities to reduce your energy bills while keeping yourself comfortable over the summer. Some of these include:

  • Turning off electrical appliances — appliances, TVs, computers, etc. — when you aren’t using them
  • Using cold water in showers, baths, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.
  • Replacing any fluorescent or incandescent bulbs with their CFL and LED alternatives.

For more tips on how to cut down on energy waste and make your home more energy efficient this summer, check out this recent post from RISMedia.

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Andrea Davis

Andrea Davis is based in Denver, Colorado as an editor for HomeAdvisor. As a deeply engrossed fan of the written word in its many forms, she’s always looking to tell home improvement stories in a new light that both engages and entertains. She's a frequent and very welcome content contributor here on the BuildDirect Blog.