Keeping your home cool during the summer heat doesn’t have to be expensive. No matter where you live or what kind of home you own, you’ll want to keep your summer cooling costs under control. Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce your cooling costs.

1. Maintain your HVAC unit. A well maintained HVAC unit is an efficient one. Getting your HVAC system checked out once a year is a smart idea, as is ensuring you have new and clean filters.

2. Invest in new window coverings. New curtains and blinds look great, but they can also reduce your summer cooling costs. Heavy drapes can keep the hot air out on warm days, and seal the cool air in as well. Blinds can also help keep your home cool and comfortable, making these new window treatments pay for themselves.

3. Let the cooling breeze do the work. Even on the hottest summer day, there are cooling breezes that will flow through the house. Keeping your windows open allows these breezes to cool your home naturally.

4. Use ceiling fans to supplement your air conditioning. Ceiling fans can make a huge difference, lowering the temperature significantly on those hot summer days. If you install ceiling fans, you could greatly reduce your summer cooling costs.

5. Keep the blinds and curtains closed during the hottest part of the day. Keeping those new window treatments closed during the hottest parts of the day is a great way to reduce your summer cooling costs, so you can avoid using the AC as much as possible.

6. Plant shade trees. Your landscaping can make a huge difference in your cooling costs, so grab your shovel and start planting some trees. Shade trees can cool your home naturally, reducing the need for additional air conditioning.

8. Upgrade to a programmable thermostat. Replacing your old thermostat with a programmable, WiFi-enabled model could really reduce your heating and cooling bills. Once it is installed, you can set the temperature based on time of day, or even turn on the AC remotely.

When the summer temperatures soar and the heat of summer arrives, you want your home to stay cool and comfortable. Use these tips to keep your home cool no matter how hot it gets outside.