For many, the summer means months of outdoor recreation and fun under the sun. Unfortunately, for others, it means soaring energy costs. If your air conditioner is constantly running, you can expect to accumulate big utility bills. On the other hand, if you employ some smart strategies that can make your home more energy efficient; you could end up saving hundreds of dollars by the time the fall arrives.

Paint your home

It may come as a surprise, but the color of your home can have a lot to do with your energy costs. In cold, northern climates, homeowners are encourages to paint their houses with dark colors, such as deep brown and blue; because these shades absorb sunlight, resulting in lower heating costs. On the other hand, homeowners who live in warmer climates are encouraged to paint their homes lighter colors, because these reflect sunlight. By painting your home white, yellow or beige; you will help lower your cooling costs. This is an especially valuable strategy to homeowners who live in Florida, Texas, Arizona and any other states that experiences numerous months of hot weather.

Cover your windows

Your windows can let a lot of sunlight into your home, resulting in higher temperatures and escalating energy costs. If you don't want your air conditioner running at all hours, you should consider covering your windows during the day. While ordinary window blinds can help, they aren't nearly as effective as reflective coverings. The best window shade screens are made with woven coated polyester yarn that allows them to reflect the sun’s rays. These attractive coverings also help reduce glare and provide an element of privacy to homes that have a lot of big windows.

Plant trees

Planting trees on the south side of your home can have a big impact on your home's energy efficiency. Properly placed trees offer a lot of shade, which can help keep your house cooler during the hottest times of the day.

Get new windows

Just because your existing windows appear to be in good shape doesn't mean they aren't leaking air where you can't see it. Energy-efficient windows can help save homeowners a lot of money by ensuring they aren't paying to cool the neighborhood.