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If you are dreading another summer without home air conditioning, there are easy and affordable ways to beat the heat. Collectively, Americans spend over $15 billion yearly on air conditioning, creating more than 140 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Air conditioning drains your wallet and warms the air outside your house where the hot air filters out, making for a rather short-sighted solution.

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1. Keep Your Blinds Closed

Windows allow more than 30% of unwanted heat into your home. Shades and curtains save up to seven percent on energy bills and can lower inside temperatures by as much as 20 degrees. Blinds help keep your home from feeling like a greenhouse, and blackout shades insulate your windows naturally. If your room feels too dark with the windows covered, lower the top of the shade about six inches to let the light in but keep the heat out. Consumer Reports states that neutral-colored curtains with white plastic backing reduce the amount of heat entering your home by 33%. Window tint film is easy to install and effective. As a long-term improvement, install double-pane windows.

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