Brace yourself, the heat of summer is right around the corner. It’s the time of year when you start thinking about cranking the air conditioner and hiding in the shade. Which is fine, if you want to pay high utility bills all summer long.

Just know that there are ways you can keep your home cool and keep your utility bills low.

Keeping your home cool in the heat of summer can be challenging. That summertime sunshine is powerful and when it gets into your home, it feels like an oven. Even if you don’t have air conditioning, there are ways to beat the heat.

Oxford Energy, your air conditioning repair service in New Jersey, offers these tips to keeping your house cool this summer.

Chill When You Grill

When you turn on your oven to bake your lasagna and toast your garlic bread, you are basically adding a lot of heat to your home. So go ahead and take your dinner outside.

By firing up the grill, you avoid the added heat in your home and the family will never complain about grilling out. You can also add uncooked dishes to your summer menu like salads that will keep you cool and fresh all summer long.

Unplug

Everything you have plugged into an outlet produces heat. Unplug all unnecessary appliances and electronics when they are not in use. Even those annoying tiny red lights that stare at you at night are letting you know that something is plugged in and wasting energy and producing heat.

Close the Curtains

You have probably sat directly under the sunbeam that streams into your home in the winter to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Well, that very same sunbeam heats your home up in the summer.

Close your curtains or blinds first thing in the morning and keep them closed until after the sun sets. This easy task can keep your home 10 to 15 degrees cooler.

Better still, consider purchasing blackout shades or having your windows tinted.

Shade the Outside of Your Windows

If the thought of keeping your windows covered all day long makes you feel a bit like a vampire, shade your windows from the outside instead.

A completely dark home will drive some people crazy. An alternative is to have stylish shades installed on the outside of your house and over your windows. This way, you allow the light in, but keep the heat out.

This might take a little time and there will be some planning involved, but you can also plant shade in front of your windows.

A tree in full bloom can block up to 70 percent of solar radiation from entering your home. Shade-providing trees and plants lower the temperature of your house and provide beautiful landscaping to your yard.

Swap Your Sheets

While your flannel sheets and fleece blanket keep you toasty warm in the winter, they are not the right materials for the heat of summer. Cotton is a smart move for this time of year as it breathes easier and stays cooler.

Embrace the Night Air

Even in the midst of a heatwave, temperatures will drop at night. So make the most of those magical hours by opening up your windows before you go to bed.

Hang Your Clothes

Clothes dryers are an obvious source of heat. You can keep your home cooler and reduce your electric bill by hanging your freshly-washed clothes on a line outside to dry. Not only will you have a cooler house, but your clothes will also have that fresh smell and feel to them.

And remember that when your AC gives you problems, call Oxford Energy right away.