The high temperatures of summer are here, bringing high energy bills in tow. But a few simple tips can help reduce your energy costs and help keep your home more eco-friendly.

Program Your Thermostat: Program your thermostats to begin cooling about 30 minutes before you return home (unless you have heat-sensitive pets, of course).

Raise The Temp. Lower Your Costs: Love to keep your home ultra-cold during the summer months? For every degree you lower your thermostat, your cooling costs increase by about seven percent.

Unplug: Save money and keep small appliances from radiating heat all day by plugging cell phones, computers, etc. into a power strip that you turn off each morning.

Fan Yourself: Using your ceiling fans along with the AC makes rooms feel about four degrees cooler, allowing you to raise the thermostat and save energy without feeling the heat. Turn fans off when you leave the room; windchill makes you feel cooler but doesn't actually drop room temperature or ventilate the house. Don't forget: Set the fan to counterclockwise rotation, which pulls hot air up and away.

Redecorate: For windows that catch direct sun, use blackout blinds or heavy drapes to minimize solar heat gain. 

Delay Your Chores: Run clothes dryers and dishwashers at night to avoid peak energy rates and the humid heat they generate. Excess humidity makes your air conditioner use extra energy to process the moisture, making it more expensive to run.

Have another tip for eco-friendly summer living? Leave it in the comment section below. 

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