As the temperature goes up outside, that often means the electricity bills start going up too. Air conditioning has made peak summer heat more bearable than it used to be, but it takes a lot of energy. In the US, air conditioning takes about 5 percent of the total energy used every year. There are ways you can lower your energy usage and electric bills; however, here are some ways to keep your house cool without AC.

1.) Keep The Shades Closed.

Keep your blinds and curtains closed during the day, so that sunlight is not coming in your windows. When sun shines through the window, it heats up the air inside, so keep your house cool by closing the shades in the daytime.

2.) Open Your Windows At Night

Once the temperatures outside drop to a comfortable level in the evening, open up some windows so you can get a breeze through the house. Leaving some windows open overnight will get cool air into the house. To keep your house cold, be certain to close them again when the temperature rises the next day.

3.) Replace Any Incandescent Bulbs

The old style incandescent light bulbs use more energy than the modern bulbs, and they also create a lot more heat. Replace them with more cooler, energy-efficient bulbs.

4.) Don't Cook Inside

During the summer, cooking on the stove and in the oven will heat up your house, and the more cooking you do, the hotter it will get. To keep your house cool, try using your grill instead to cook outdoors in the summer. The microwave is better for other tasks.

5.) Turn Off All Appliances

A lot of appliances stay on even when you are not using them, and they still generate a certain amount of heat. One easy solution is to keep electronics and other appliances plugged into a power strip. Then you can just switch off the whole power strip when you're leaving the house.

6.) Use Reflective Windows

You can cut down on the heat that enters your home through the windows by adding a reflective window coating, especially for windows on the south and west sides of your house.

7.) Insulate Your Attic

Insulating your attic can make a big difference as far as keeping hot air out of your house. If you have other areas where hot air may be coming in, try to insulate them and seal off any drafts.

8.) Use More Fans

When air is moving, it feels cooler. Even a faint breeze of just one mile per hour can make it feel 3 or 4 degrees cooler. Fans are also far more energy efficient than air conditioning, so make the most of them. To keep your house cold, you can also position a fan near a window at night to bring more cool air into the house.

9.) Set Ceiling Fans To Blow Down

Most ceiling fans have two different settings. In the winter, you want them to turn one direction, so they pull air upward. In the summer, you want them to turn the other direction, so they blow air downward. Check that yours are set for summer.

10.) Plant More Trees

This is a longer-term strategy, but having some deciduous trees planted where they shade your home can do a lot to keep your house cool without AC in the summer. If you plant some trees now, in a few years, you could notice a real difference.