It's time to change directions -- of your ceiling fan. You also can set your thermostat about 10 degrees higher. And head for the barbecue grill.
These are just a few simple changes you can make to help keep your energy costs low as temperatures rise outside this summer.
A fan makes the room feel cooler by introducing a breeze or wind chill, according to experts from Fanimation, a manufacturer of ceiling fans. The chill keeps you as cool at 79 F as you are at 72 F without a fan. As a result, you can set your thermostat higher, cutting down use of the air conditioner, which needs a greater amount of energy to operate.
On average, a fan will cost about a penny an hour to operate while a room air conditioner costs 16 cents and central air conditioning costs 43 cents, said the company's experts.
Additionally, you can turn the fan on only when the room is occupied, resulting in even greater energy savings.
NV Energy recommends keeping the thermostat at 78-80 when you are home, and setting it 5 to 10 degrees warmer when you are out. A programmable thermostat makes this task especially easy and has the potential of saving anywhere from 10 to 25 percent on your monthly energy bill.
The utility company also suggests cooking outdoors as using the stove or oven will increase the heat level in your home along with the need to use the air conditioner.
Since light -- and heat -- enter your home through your windows, it's important to keep them covered during the day during summer.
It's also important to make sure those windows are as energy efficient as possible.
Tom Herron, communications and marketing manager for the National Fenestration Rating Council, said consumers should look for the council's rating label on any window, door or skylight they purchase. Similar to an Energy Star label, the fenestration council's rating certifies that a product has been independently tested to perform as promised.
He said it's important to look at the window's U-factor. The lower the number, the greater its resistance to heat flow -- either letting it in or out -- and the better it is at insulating the home.
Herron said the council's rating label considers the product as a whole, so that frames as well as glass, work together to save energy.
The nonprofit council was started in the 1970s when the nation was facing an energy crisis similar to today's conditions, Herron said.
It's also critical to make sure windows and doors are installed properly and caulked or weather-stripped to keep outside air out and inside air in.
According to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help Americans save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices, nearly half of the energy consumed by the average household is used for heating or cooling so it's important to make sure those systems are well-maintained.
Suggestions include an annual tune-up on the heating and air-conditioning systems; changing air filters regularly, usually about every three months, as dirty filters will slow air flow and make the system work harder; installing a programmable thermostat, which automatically raises and lowers heating and cooling levels according to when the home is in use, resulting in a savings of about $180 a year; and sealing all heating and cooling air ducts, which can improve the system's efficiency by about 20 percent.