As any seasoned homeowner can tell you, few things will chip away at your finances like summertime cooling costs. Many of us simply crank up our air conditioning when indoor temps get too warm, an approach to cooling that commonly results in exorbitant utility bills. While a dependable AC system is certainly a good tool to have on hand, you’d do well to avoid relying on it too much. Instead of treating air conditioning as your sole source of relief from extreme heat, you should regard it as one of many tools in your home cooling arsenal. Anyone looking for effective ways to cut back on cooling costs this summer should procure the following items.

High-Quality Ceiling Fans

No home should be without high-quality ceiling fans during the blazingly hot summer months. To ensure that you get the most out of your ceiling fans, take care to install one in every area of your residence. This will enable the cool air created by your central AC system to be evenly distributed throughout your entire abode. Furthermore, by adjusting your fans’ blades to spin counterclockwise, you’ll enable them to produce cooling breezes that flow directly downward – regardless of whether or not your AC happens to be running.

If your home’s current fans aren’t quite up to snuff, there’s no time like the present to upgrade. Fortunately, dependable ceiling fans are affordable on virtually any budget and should provide you with many years of reliable use. Additionally, since these fans are available in a seemingly endless assortment of styles and sizes, finding ones that are uniquely suited to your home shouldn’t prove daunting in the least. For example, if you’re looking to install fans in a barn or farmhouse, rustic ceiling fans may be right up your alley.

Blackout Drapery

During the summer months, it’s generally a good idea to keep curtains, wide blinds and other drapery closed during the daylight hours. Although the sun can be a good source of natural lighting, it can also increase indoor temps throughout the summer. So, if your home is located in an area that receives an exorbitant amount of sunlight, you’d do well to minimize the amount of sunlight that’s able to get into your home.

If your current drapery is too thin to sufficiently block out the sun, blackout drapery may prove to be a wise investment. Per the name, blackout curtains, drapes and shades are designed to block out as much sunlight as possible. Furthermore, they often don’t cost much more than standard drapery. As an added bonus, the thermal variety of blackout drapery can help seal in cool air while keeping warm air from outdoors at bay. This can also come in handy during the winter months, when warm air will be sealed in and cool air will be kept outside.

Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

There are numerous reasons to ditch traditional incandescent light bulbs. For one thing, despite costing a little less, they have much shorter lifespans than energy-efficient bulbs. In addition, they consume far more power than their energy-efficient contemporaries. What’s more, they also burn a lot hotter, which can contribute to uncomfortably high indoor temps during the summer months. So, for the sake of your carbon footprint and home cooling efforts, make the switch to energy-efficient bulbs. They may cost a little more upfront, but this small financial sacrifice can save you a bundle in the long run.

Energy-Efficient Doors and Windows

Most homes lose a fair amount of air through their doors and windows, even when they’re firmly closed. Conversely, energy-efficient doors and windows are composed of thick, resilient materials that are adept at preventing indoor air from escaping and outdoor air from finding its way in. Like energy-efficient bulbs, these doors and windows have slightly higher price-tags than their standard-grade counterparts, but the long-term savings you enjoy should prove well worth the additional cost.

To say that summertime cooling costs can be a drain on one’s finances would be an understatement. Depending on where you’re based, running your air conditioning around the clock can guarantee that your finances are depleted by the end of the season. Of course, this isn’t to say that air conditioning shouldn’t feature into your cooling efforts – it just shouldn’t be the only cooling aid you rely on. Putting the previously discussed tools to good use can help you maintain a comfortable cool residence and save big on utility costs all summer long.