It’s been a month since the ‘official’ start of summer, and energy bills are feeling the heat! If you’re looking for ways to conserve energy and stay cool as July rolls into August, consider these ten energy-saving tips: 1. Clean or replace AC filters monthly for maximum efficiency. 2. Set your thermostat as high as is comfortable—75-78°F when you’re at home, and 85°F when traveling. 3. Use ceiling and/or attic fans to draw out hot air and circulate cool air. 4. Avoid using major appliances between 2-8 PM. Run your dryer and dishwasher after dark to minimize indoor heat. Use your microwave, toaster oven, or outdoor grill to cook, rather than a conventional oven. 5. Wash clothes in cold water and clean the lint filter in your dryer after every use. You can also hang clothes to dry outside in the heat of the day, conserving dryer energy and keeping that appliance from producing excess heat in your home. 6. During the day, keep blinds and windows closed. Open them on cool nights as a no-cost way to cool your home. 7. Unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t in use. Plus TVs, DVD players, and computers into power strips that can be turned off they aren’t in use. 8. Use the bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity when showering or bathing. 9. Install energy-efficient lighting. Incandescent lights use 10-15% of the electricity they consume to light your home, which leave 85-90% of it to turn into heat. Use indirect daylight for lighting, rather than turning on multiple lights in your home during the heat of the day. 10. Close off doors to unused rooms and the vents in those rooms if you have central AC to concentrate your energy usage to the parts of your home that are used. Finally, consider the smart home technology we discussed in this recent blog post. Connected home devices like Stack, the Nest Learning Thermostat, Belkin WeMo, and SmartThings Hub can control, monitor, and conserve energy usage for you, streamlining your lifestyle and saving energy in the process!