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Summer means sunshine, beaches, picnics, and heat. Unfortunately, summer and heat usually mean higher electric bills too.

Luckily, there are a few easy things you can do around the house to conserve energy and save money. All of which are easy, quick, and mostly free. Try a few of our tips below to keep your power bill in check over the next few months. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.

Use energy efficient lightbulbs

Incandescent bulbs are common and inefficient. You can save electricity and money over the long term by replacing those incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or LED bulbs. Both have become quite affordable in recent years.

LED bulbs cost more than CFLs, but are even more energy efficient. A 15-watt CFL bulb will last for 10,000 hours and cost $1.20 a year to run for two hours a day, according to Department of Energy data. An LED bulb would last for 25,000 hours and cost only $1.00.

Keep the sun out

Whether you prefer curtains or shades is a matter of taste. Either will do the trick!

Heat from direct sunlight makes your air conditioning work harder than it needs to. A bit of shade indoors will go a long way to keeping your home naturally cooler — savings a lot of money.

Go the extra mile by adding an inexpensive solar film to windows that get the most sunlight. It’s a cheap way to save energy without closing out the natural light.

Wash your clothes in cold water

Heating water for laundry takes a tremendous amount of energy. Also, it’s usually unnecessary. Load up your washing machine and use a cold wash and rinse instead. You’ll save a lot over the course of a year.

Use fans to supplement air conditioning

Central air is often the biggest energy expense in a home. However, fans use much less energy. Keeping the fans blowing will make your space feel that much cooler already, helping you feel great and limit AC use.

Running a $20 desktop fan each night instead of full AC will pay for itself within a year. Turning the thermostat from 78 to 76 will cost more than running the fans, especially if your home or apartment is poorly insulated or has an old air conditioner.

Extra tip: If you have a window fan, try running it in reverse. You can push your home’s hot air out, instead of pulling the hot air outside back in.

Air dry your dishes

Save a little more electricity by letting the dishes air dry unless you are in hurry. Heated drying is energy intensive and isn’t necessary most of the time. When the dishes are done, just open up the washer and let them sit for 10-15 minutes.

Summer is almost here, which almost always means higher power bills. Use these simple tips and changes to conserve a little extra energy. You’ll be doing right by your wallet and the planet.

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