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Tips to keep your home cool without running up your energy bill

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Most of the nation is enduring a brutal heatwave this week, which isn’t surprising given it’s July. Homeowners face the annual summer quandary: How to keep the house cool without racking up a huge energy bill.

Thankfully, Inhabitat has some advice for staying cool in a sustainable, energy efficient ways as the heat wave rages on. Here are a few often overlooked recommendations:

Keep the heat out. Window treatments are about more than aesthetic. “Covering windows with light colored blinds inside helps, especially on west windows that allow much more heat to permeate later in the afternoon.”

Make the air move. When central air condition isn’t an option, consider fans or open windows to create air flow. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than a still, sticky day. Add a little breeze and the heat becomes a little more tolerable.
Insulate. (No, really.) Homeowners imagine adding insulation to be the same as adding layers in the winter to stay warm. But insulation can also help keep your home cool. Be sure to seal cracks that allow warm air to seep in and insulate attics and walls so that your heater or air condition dictate your home temperature, not the weather outside.
Keep your A/C unit clear and cool. During extreme heat waves, air-conditioning units can fail to operate at full capacity because of excessive sun exposure or too much surrounding clutter and debris. Ideally, your A/C unit should be located in a cool area outside of the house and in an open space where it can more easily draw in air.