Plant deciduous shade trees and shrubs around your home to keep it cool. In the summer the foliage will block the rays of the sun, which cause your house to heat up. In the winter the bare branches will allow the heat to come through. This technique works particularly well for older home that are poorly insulated, and it can help keep newer homes cool as well, particularly if the trees are planted on the home's west side.
Hang insulated curtains over the windows in your home. When closed, the curtains can block the sun's heat and prevent it from entering your home, which can keep it cooler.
Keep your thermostat above 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. You can save 7 to 10 percent on your cooling expenses for each degree your thermostat is set above 78 degrees. In addition, keep the thermostat high or turn it off when you leave your home.
Replace your old furnace with a new energy-efficient model. Furnaces made before 1992 waste about 35 percent of the fuel they use. Replace it with a condensing furnace with an annual efficiency of at least 90 percent to help cut down on energy use and costs.
Run your ceiling and floor fans. Implementing this type of cooling system can help take some of the responsibility off of your air conditioner to keep your home cool. Running a fan only costs about half a cent per hour, but it can reduce the temperature in a room by three or four degrees. Avoid running fans in unoccupied rooms.