Its summer and many of us in North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are looking forward to spending our days outdoors enjoying the beautiful natural resources we have in our great states. However, exorbitantly high cooling bills during the heat of the season can put a damper on our summer fun.

A typical single-family home spends $2,200 in annual energy costs, according a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And according to the Laboratory’s website, if a house has central air conditioning, even though the system is only used a few months out of the year, it is most likely the single biggest consumer of electricity, driving annual air conditioning costs that can exceed a $1,000.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency in homes is to seal and insulate windows and doors. Often, this means replacing old poorly performing windows and doors. A typical home that replaces its single-paned, clear glass windows with energy-efficient windows can realize up to $494 in annual savings, according to the EPA.

Another great way to lower costs is to increase insulation by installing energy-efficient insulated vinyl siding. Insulated vinyl siding can increase a home’s R-value, a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it, the higher the R-value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation.

Other ways to improve energy efficiency and lower summer electric bills include:
* Increasing insulation in attics and crawl spaces
* Making sure you have proper roof ventilation
* Sealing air conditioner ducts
* Keeping your blinds closed when the sun is shining in
* Installing a programmable thermostat

So enjoy your summer, without worrying about your energy costs.