We all can appreciate the comfort air conditioning provides during those hot, scolding summers, but running it continuously will have your utility bill sky high. The fact is, cooling your home in the summer can take up too much energy. But by reducing how much sunlight enters your home by doing something as simple as shutting the blinds, for example, can make a world of a difference. The good news is there are simple options that can save you a few bucks. Using curtains and blinds can help your home stay nice and cool during hot summers. According to Department of Energy reports, using window treatments can block out up to 77% of heat. Blinds and curtains will also give you the same protection when it comes to losing heat in the winter. It is also important to consider which windows face west and south, as they get more direct sunlight. Below are some tips for using window treatments that can save you money in the long run. 1. Shades Shades are one of the easiest solutions for saving energy. To be as effective as possible, they need to be mounted as close as you can get them to the glass. Also, be sure to keep them closed all day while you are at work. You can purchase reversible shades where you use the darker side in winter, and the lighter side in the summer. For additional insulation, use roman shades and quilted roller shades which have multiple layers of fiber batting. These are far better than using most window treatments. 2. Curtains Keeping your curtains closed can keep it cool during the summer time. The color and type of fabric you use matter greatly when it comes to curtains and drapes. Using medium colored drapes with white plastic backing will help reduce unwanted heat in your home by up to 33%. As with shades, you want to hang your curtains as close to the window as you can get it. To increase how well they work, put a cornice at the top of your curtains, seal the curtains at the sides, and overlap them in the middle with either Velcro or tape.

3. Reflective films If you live in an area that has long cooling seasons, then window films are perfect for your home. For the best results use silver, mirror-like films instead of colored, transparent ones for east and west facing windows. This is because they are likely to receive more heat. The downside to reflective films is how challenging they can be to clear, and they also make it difficult to see outdoors. 4. Blinds Blinds are a bit of a challenge when it comes to managing heat loss through windows, due to the horizontal slats. However, all is not lost. With blinds, you can adjust the slats to control ventilation and light. With the right type of blinds, at their best when closed, they can reduce heat gain by up to 45%.