Aren’t those reduced utility bills in the springtime great? Without your furnace running and the A/C not turned on yet, homeowners get to enjoy some serious savings. If you’re looking to save a few dollars this summer on your cooling costs, there are a number of ways to beat the heat without blasting your air conditioner 24/7.

The first step is finding ways to shade your home from the sun’s powerful rays. An awning, pergola or trees will block the sun from hitting your windows and doors 12 hours a day. Planting a few strategically placed trees isn’t exactly a quick fix, but it will provide some relief in the next few years and will really start to pay off as the tree grows.

Another option for keeping the heat of the sun out of your home is exterior rolling shutters. They are very effective but can be expensive. Solar screens, which look like standard window screens, also cut glare in addition to heat.  “Double glazing” your windows can cut the intake of summer heat inside your home by as much as 30 per cent.

Fans are your next best defense against a hot house. Ceiling fans are often used incorrectly. During the summer they should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down. This helps evaporate perspiration, creates a cooling wind chill effect and makes a room feel up to eight degrees cooler – without touching the thermostat! Ceilings fans are particularly beneficial in bedrooms and living areas.

Oscillating fans have come a long way in the past 20 years, style-wise, and are still an effective way to keep a room cool. Place fans in a few rooms throughout the main level of your home to keep the air circulating. The latest trend in oscillating fans is the addition of ionizers, which provide air purification in the room. Ionizing fans are equipped with air filters that keep out dust and other allergens.

Inevitably, we can expect some days when we must rely on our air conditioners.  If you don’t already have one, install a programmable thermostat so you can control the temperature of your home more efficiently.