The summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather, but the heat may not be as enjoyable if you're inside your home.

You can turn on the air conditioning, but over time, you'll see your electricity bill climb. Fans can help you stay cool, but they are only for circulating air and simulating a wind chill. To get this effect, your home needs to already be cool or else you're just moving hot air around. Plus, fans are only good for a direct blast of cold air, which means you're actually wasting energy if a fan is on and you're not within range. 

With cost savings in mind, let's explore some ways to keep your home from turning into a sweat lodge this summer.

Close the blinds and drapes

Much of the heat in your home during the summer comes directly from the sunlight flowing in through your windows. Drawing your drapes and blinds can block that light, keeping the heat outside of your home. Also, consider investing in drapes of a lighter color, as such hues are better at reflecting light.

Update your lightbulbs

You may be a fan of incandescent bulbs, but switching to energy efficient compact fluorescent or LED products can help you stay cool while saving on your electricity bill. This is because incandescent lighting emits 90 percent of the energy it uses as heat, which can produce a noticeable temperature increase in your home. Given that you'll have less natural light coming in with the blinds closed, you may use turn your lights on more often. Making the change to efficient lighting allows you to offset the cost of more usage while using another strategy to cool your home.

Reflect sunlight

There are special reflective films that can be used to bounce light off your home. Apply a coat to the southern and western exposures of the house.

Open windows at night

While keeping heat out of your property, you want to bring cold air in. At night, when the temperatures are more favorable, open your windows. This will create a cooling effect throughout your home.

To this same end, you can't keep cold air in if your house isn't properly insulated. A home inspection can give you a status report on the insulation in the house.

Turn off appliances

Appliances give off heat when they are in use. Switch off any that do not need to run continuously. This can also help you save on your energy bill.

Computers and televisions are good places to start. Additionally, try not to use appliances that produce steam or heat during the hottest parts of the day. If you're making lunch, for instance, opt for a cold sandwich or salad. If you're washing laundry, use the exterior heat to your advantage and dry your clothes on a line.

Plant a few trees

Although Earth Day is on April 22, you can still aid the environment in the summer by planting a few trees - not to mention, you can help your home stay cool. Deciduous trees are great for providing shade. Plant a few on the southern and western exposures of your home and in a location that will offer shade to your air conditioning unit, which can lower the amount of electricity it uses.

Use your fan wisely 

If you have ceiling fans, you have to ensure they're functioning properly for summer. Most models have a switch that lets you change the direction of the fan, which directs hot air upward or downward. During the summer, run your fan counter-clockwise to pull heat toward the ceiling.