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Your air conditioning bill is likely rising along with the summer temperatures. While you cannot control the weather, you can take some small and simple, yet effective actions to keep that bill as low as possible. Here are three home additions that can help you lower your air conditioning bill.

Add Reflective Film to the Windows

Reflective film can direct some of the sun’s heat away from the house, preventing heat retention and reducing the need for you to run your air conditioner.

You can also reduce the amount of sunlight in your home by installing sunlight-blocking curtains, window shades, or blinds. Adding these sun-blocking features to your windows doesn’t have to mean that you’ll lose all that gorgeous natural light in your home—you can use them strategically during the hottest parts of the day, but open them when temperatures are cooler in the mornings and evenings.

Add a Programmable Thermostat

Adding a programmable thermostat is a smart idea because it can automatically adjust the temperature settings in your house. You can lower the cost of your bill by setting the AC to 80 degrees when you aren’t home during the summer.

Another way you can use your thermostat to lower your AC bill is setting it at a few degrees higher during the day, then making use of ceiling fans to circulate the air throughout your house. Coupling your AC and ceiling fan usage can help you save money while staying cool. However, make sure to turn off your ceiling fans when you leave the house, since these do not actually lower the temperature of your home; they merely create a wind-chill effect.

Add Some Greenery

Adding trees to your yard can block some of the sunlight and heat from getting to the house. Additionally, planting shrubbery near an outdoor AC unit can help it run more efficiently. Some experts have said that strategically landscaping your yard with trees and shrubs can save you up to 25 percent in energy bills. As you plan to add some greenery in your yard, consider planting trees to the east and west sides of your home. These are the areas directly affected as the sun travels during the morning and afternoon. Of the two, the west side of your home should be the highest priority, because the sun’s intensity is highest in the afternoon.

If you’re looking to lower your AC bill this summer, consider these three smart additions to your home. Reflective window coverings, a programmable thermostat, and trees and shrubs are great, creative ways to save money and stay cool at the same time.

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