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Ah, summer. ’Tis the season for warmer weather, cookouts, vacations and other pleasant things. However, summer’s higher temperatures usually have at least one downside–bigger energy bills. Here are 10 tips to help you save energy and money while keeping your home cool and your family comfortable:

  1. One of the simplest ways to save energy around the home is to turn off lights and unplug appliances and electronics when not in use.
  2. Seal any air leaks around windows and doors by using caulking or weatherstripping. It’s a cost-effective way to help ensure cool air stays in and hot air stays out.
  3. Set the air conditioner as high as comfortably possible to save on cooling costs, and keep your home warmer than normal when you leave. Consider getting a smart thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature around your schedule.
  4. Install energy-efficient lighting, such as LED and CFL lightbulbs. Avoid incandescent bulbs, as only 10 percent to 15 percent of the electricity they consume results in light—the rest turns into heat.
  5. Water heating, alone, accounts for almost 20 percent of energy consumption in most homes. To lower energy costs, turn the heater’s temperature setting down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit if the manufacturer had set it at a higher default.
  6. On hot days, minimize activities that generate a lot of heat in your home, such as running the dishwasher or clothes dryer. Try cooking with the stove, microwave or outside grill instead of your oven to avoid more heat buildup.
  7. Using ceiling fans in conjunction with air conditioning allows you to raise your thermostat setting about 4 degrees, while still maintaining the same level of comfort. Just make sure to turn off the fans before you leave because they technically cool people, not rooms, with their wind chill effect.
  8. To ensure your appliances are performing properly and as efficiently as possible, do some cleaning around your home. For example, dust under the fridge and clear lint from your clothes dryer. You should also check if your home’s air filters need replacement or if any air vents are blocked by furniture or curtains.
  9. During breezy summer nights, turn off the air conditioner and open your windows to take advantage of the naturally cooler air while you sleep. When you wake up, close the windows and blinds to help contain the air.
  10. If you need to replace appliances, consider buying ENERGY STAR-certified products to save on energy costs.