With the cost of energy rising and budgets tightening, the urge to go without air conditioning this summer can be tempting, though daunting.

The good news is that relying less on air conditioning does lower your electricity bill.

Here’s how to keep your home and yourself cool in the summer heat, without causing a spike in your electricity bill.

1. Ventilate.  Adequate air flow in your home is vital if you want to keep it cool without air conditioning.  A $100 ceiling fan can cost less than $10 a month to operate 12 hours a day and can cool a room by 5 to 7 degrees, according to home improvement site RafterTales.com.

2. Insulate.  Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated. During the day, seal hot air out and cool air in by closing doors and windows, suggests ClimateSmart, an environmental organization in Boulder, Colo.  Close curtains or blinds to block out the sun, The New York Times suggests.  At night when the air is cooler, open your windows to let the breeze in.

3. Regulate Heat and Humidity.Humidity can make your home seem hotter than it is since it’s harder for sweat to evaporate from your body.  Ventilate steamy kitchens and bathrooms.  Make a salad instead of cooking to minimize heat, or if you cook, turn your oven or stove off as soon as you’re done.  Even better, cook outdoors! You can also minimize your use of lamps, televisions and computers, your stove and other appliances on especially hot days.

4. Stay in the Shade. Plants and trees in and outside of your home have a cooling effect.  In fact, many tall city buildings now have plants or gardens on their rooftops to minimize the need for energy to cool the buildings. And planting deciduous shade trees strategically on the south and west sides of you home can save as much as $300 to cool your home this year, reducing the temperature inside your home by 3 to 5 degrees, according to RafterTales.

5. Cool Your Body.  As your body adjusts to life without air conditioning, cool off by drinking lots of water.  Stay out of direct sunlight, minimize daytime activities, shed clothing, go barefoot and try cooling yourself with wet washcloths.

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