Are you concerned about how high your utility bills will get this summer? Energy costs aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Fortunately, homeowners don’t have to wait for overall prices to fall in order to control costs at home. Take a look at eight easy ways to cut your home’s utility bills during the summer.

1. Invest in a Smart Thermostat

If you’re in and out of the house during the day, consider getting a smart thermostat that allows you to adjust cooling based on your schedule. Smart thermostats can be programmed based on your daily habits, your preferences for how cool you’d like your home to feel after you arrive home, and outdoor temperature trends. They save energy by avoiding the need to “crank up” your air conditioning just to make your house bearable after a long day of being out.

2. Keep Your Air Conditioner Clean

Did you know that a dirty air conditioner can waste energy? Air conditioners function optimally when their coils and filters are being properly maintained. Allowing filters to remain clogged and dirty can radically reduce efficiency. Get on a schedule with cleaning or replacing parts to ensure that you’re enjoying optimal cooling.

3. Make the Switch to Solar Power

One way to stop cutting huge checks to the power company month after month for the rest of your life is to make your home more self-sufficient using solar power. Installing solar panels allows you to utilize energy you generate on your own instead of being dependent on a company. This eco-friendly, cost-saving option can even potentially improve your home’s resale value.

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4. Unplug Appliances and Electronics

Many people don’t realize that appliances can still suck energy from your home when they aren’t turned on. While each appliance or gadget in your home may seem like it only uses a small amount of energy, having a television, phone charger, coffee maker, modem, gaming system, computer, and other items plugged in around the clock can really add up. The average person could potentially save a few hundred dollars per year by simply unplugging appliances and other electronic items that aren’t in use.

5. Hang Laundry Outside to Dry

Consider getting a clothesline for the summer to let Mother Nature dry your clothes for free. A dryer is one of the biggest energy consumers in a home. By putting clothes on the line to dry in the sun, you can enjoy a simpler way of living that just happens to save you money.

6. Use a Ceiling Fan

One strategy that people use to cut energy costs during the summer is to keep a ceiling fan running in conjunction with an air conditioner. While this may seem counterproductive, a ceiling fan can help to lower the temperature in a room by a few degrees. That means that your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard! Ceiling fans are also great for circulating air.

7. Add Some Shade Using Trees

Does it feel like your home is baking in full sun all summer long? Adding trees can be a great way to cool your property naturally using shade. According to the USDA Forest Service, the net cooling effect of a young healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day!

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8. Add Window Coverings

If upgrading your landscaping with some new trees isn’t in the budget this year, there’s another cost-effective way to increase shade at your home. Consider adding some blinds, shades, or other window coverings to prevent your home’s interior from overheating. The Department of Energy shares that cellular shades can reduce unwanted solar heat through windows by up to 60%, and dapes with plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%.