Summer is finally here! While we all enjoy the longer days, warm sun, and with it comes the sometimes difficult to deal with heat waves.

Cranking the air conditioner is an option, but how about we cut down on our already high hydro rates and try to keep the house as cool as we can with a few helpful tips.

Inside Your Home

Windows
During those hot days, pull the shades, draw the drapes or close the blinds. Have you heard of the greenhouse effect? It causes unwanted heat to accumulate in your home. If it gets in - it stays in. Taking this simple step can reduce the heat by an astounding 30%!

Since it usually cools down at night, open those windows. If you can, add a fan to circulate the air. The fresher cool air will displace stale hot air.

Appliances
This is a no brainer. Keep them off. If you need to do laundry or run the dishwasher, do it at night, since they do give off a lot of heat. Same goes for vacuuming. Not only does the machine heat things up, but you do to! (Moreover, you save on your energy and water bills if you do these chores after 7pm anyway - now you have added incentive).

As for cooking, summer is the perfect time to take it outside to the barbeque or toss up a nice cold salad. This makes double the sense as we tend to crave fresher, lighter fare when the temperature is high. Enjoy your outdoor grill!

Outside Your Home

Landscaping
The trees and greens outside have a bigger role to play than just being pretty! A tree planted in the right spot can made a huge difference in the temperature of your house. Acting as a barrier, and providing the necessary shade to work for you. If you have any landscaping plans this spring / summer - consider asking your local expert where and how to position your flora to improve the efficiency of your home.

Additional coverage
Installing awnings or shutters, especially on south-facing windows, can also provide significant relief. If your house is painted a dark color, and due for an update - consider painting it light as it will reflect and release the heat instead absorbing it. These steps can also add some great curb appeal to your home!

If all else fails - try this:

Finally, let's remember that Summer is only here for a short time, so let's embrace it!