Many people look forward to summer as it brings warmer temperatures, outdoor activities, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Hot summer temperatures can also bring about a sharp increase in energy bills as air conditioning is turned up high to counter the heat and humidity of the season. Luckily, there are ways to keep your home cool without running up a massive energy bill by constantly running an air conditioner. Even if you choose to use an air conditioner periodically, there are steps that can be taken to save energy and in turn save money.

Staying Cool During the Hot Summer Months

Keep Windows Shut During the Day

While it may seem odd, keeping windows closed on really hot days will actually keep your home cooler instead of making it warmer like you might think. When temperatures begin to cool off at night, windows can be open to let in the cooler breeze from outside. Keeping the windows open at night allows the cooler air to circulate through the house, then when the windows are closed during the day, the cooler air stays trapped in the house. Make sure to close blinds and curtains as well to keep the heat from the sun out. An extra step that can be taken is to place houseplants in front of windows that let in lots of sun. The plants will actually absorb some of the sun's energy.

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Keep the Lights Off

Lighting, especially incandescent lighting, can produce a good amount of heat. Shutting lights off on particularly hot summer days will help keep the house cooler while having the added benefit of saving energy. Any devices that are not regularly used can also be unplugged as electronics tend to hold heat. While this may only make a slight difference in temperature, it will decrease the amount of energy being used.

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Utilize Various Fans

There are many different types of fans that can help keep your home cool. Ceiling fans will help cool you off in addition to stand-alone fans and box fans. Box fans can even be placed in open windows at night to pull in cooler air. Using fans, you can even create a type of wind tunnel in your home to push the cool breeze through the whole house. Simply place one fan on the side of the house that receives a breeze, facing in. Then, place the other fan at the opposite end of the house, facing out.

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Go for a Swim or Take a Cold Shower

If you are feeling overheated, one way to lower your core temperature is by taking a cold shower or a dip in a cold pool. Once out of the water, it will begin to evaporate from your skin, allowing your body to further cool down. If a cold shower or swim are not an option, a quick solution is to place ice cubes on your wrists. Blood vessels are close to the skin on wrists and placing ice directly on the area will help people feel cooler.

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Consider Planting Trees or Installing an Awning

Strategically placing awnings and trees that provide shade can cut down on the amount of heat that a house absorbs. Trees that are planted on the west and east side of a home will have leaves that will shade the house and keep heat out. Not only will planting trees help shade your house and keep it cool, it is also good for the environment. The more trees we plant, the higher amount of greenhouse gases we can eliminate from the air.

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Make Sure Your Home is Insulated

People often think of insulation when it comes to keeping homes warm but it is also important for keeping your home cool. Attic insulation in particular will keep cold air from escaping through the ceiling, leading to cooler temperatures. It is also important to make sure that air ducts are sealed if using a central air conditioning system as a proper seal will prevent cold air from escaping the house.

On very hot days, even if you choose to use an air conditioner, the steps above will still help to keep your home cool in addition to the help of the air conditioning system. This can lead to the air conditioner working more efficiently and you may still be able to save some money on your energy bill. Staying inside to avoid the heat doesn't have to be boring. For a little fun out of the sun, try a fun DIY project like making paper fans!

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How do you stay cool in the summer?