With summer heating up and raising more than just your core temperature, it is best to learn some easy tricks to cutting down that AC bill. Not only can turning off your AC save you money, but in the long run it may actually benefit the environment as well.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “heating and cooling systems emit over half a billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global warming”. Not only are Americans literally raising the temperature outside but our air conditioners are also contributing to acid rain.

Let’s try to avoid running for that thermostat at the first sign of heat and brush up on a few ways to cool your house the natural and cheap way. The first mistake that people make is opening windows. You might be craving a cool breeze, but bringing in extra air means you are bringing in extra heat. It is best to insulate your house during a hot day. Make sure all of your windows are closed and sealed. Most heat radiates through the walls and through openings in your house, so creating a seal will protect against the heat creeping in.

Next invest in a fan. As simple as this sound it really works. A good ceiling fan or standing fan will do just the trick. For an extra kick, try placing a cold bowl of water in front of the fan. This will create condensation and blow nothing but cool, water vapor.

Also, if you have a lot of plants and trees, they are wonderful at creating natural shade outside of your windows. It makes for a much cooler environment. Also, if you have some nice heavy drapes, you can also easily shut those to keep the sunlight out, giving your home a nice, dark, cool feel. Try out a few of these tips and see they work out for you. They might just save you some green in the end!