Do you know what uses the most energy in your home and, therefore, what makes up the bulk of your electricity bill? Heating and cooling systems. That means that winters and summers can be especially brutal when it comes to your bill.

Unfortunately for the world, temperatures are on the rise. That means warmer summers as the years go on, so best to start prepping your home now for the heat that this summer will bring.

Here are five easy ways to naturally cool your home so that you can save on your electricity bill!

1. Strategically Open Windows

A good breeze can work wonders. A big mistake that those looking to curb air conditioning costs make is that they simply open any window in the house. If you aren't getting a cross breeze, that could mean you're warming up your home, not helping it cool down.

Think about the layout of your home and the direction of the wind. The best windows to open are the ones that create airflow through your home. A cross breeze can continuously move warm air out, replacing it with cooler fresh air.

Be mindful of the rooms the breeze will be traveling through. Are there significant paths of obstruction that would stop a breeze in its tracks? If airflow is the goal, ensure the layout of your furniture promotes that.

As wind direction can change throughout the day, many people have found that a windsock placed in a yard can help determine when to open up windows, which ones to open, and when to close things up.

2. … or Cover Closed Windows

Do you know just how detrimental uncovered windows can be when trying to cool your home? Here's what Energy.gov has to say about windows and heat: "About 76% of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters to become heat."

That can really heat things up during a hot summer day, so be sure to make use of curtains or blinds whenever possible. Energy.gov goes on to give some great window attachment suggestions that help keep the heat at bay, like insulated cellular shades and medium-colored draperies with white-plastic backings, which studies have shown can "reduce heat gains by 33%."

Related
Going green saves green

3. Check Fan Direction

Do you switch the direction of your fans during the winter and summer months? If you're not, you're missing out on easy ways to cool or heat your home.

During warm months, your ceilings fans should spin counterclockwise. This helps push the air down, creating a nice breeze, thus reducing the amount of time you'd need to run an air conditioner.

The opposite is true for the winter months; blades that spin clockwise create a light updraft, which recirculates heat downward. As seasons change, give all of your ceiling fans a quick check to ensure they're spinning in a direction that benefits your temperature needs!

4. Time Your Meals

If you do any type of cooking, you know just how quickly a kitchen can heat up. If you're tackling a big meal at the hottest time of the day, you're in for sweltering indoor temperatures.

Instead of making your air conditioner work overdrive, plan your meals so that you're not cooking during the warmest time of day. When is the hottest time of the day? Contrary to popular belief, it isn't noon when the sun is at its peak. It takes time for the atmosphere to heat up, and the warmest time of day is generally around three in the afternoon.

Therefore, ensure your cooking is done well before then, giving your oven ample time to cool down, or don't start working on an early dinner until later in the afternoon. As some food items take hours to simmer, a little timing can go a long way in keeping your home cool during the summer months.

5. Step Up Your Insulation Game

When is the last time you checked your home for gaps in your windows and door seals? Cooling the air down in your home won't help much if you can't keep that cool air inside. Before summer arrives, give your home a thorough once-over, checking for ways that air can escape. Then, get to insulating!

Related
Become a "wrap star" and other energy-saving tips

Weather strips for doors and windows are readily available and affordable. In addition to weatherizing doors and windows, think about rooms you don't use often. Close doors to areas that aren't in use much of the day so that you can concentrate on keeping cool air in the areas you and your family spend the bulk of your time.

Cut Down on Electricity Bills With Solar Panels

What better way to cool your home than using the power of the sun against itself? Natural ways to cool your home can certainly take the edge off, but if you're looking for a way to utilize your air conditioner while lowering your electricity bill, it's time to look into solar panels.

Renewable energy systems are more affordable than you may think, what with the tax credits and solar incentives that come with them. With help from EnergyBillCruncher, it's easy not only to connect with local solar installers but also estimate how much you could save by making the switch.

Stay Cool While Saving

Don't wait until the summer months are upon us; take steps to prep your home to stay cool during heat waves now. These energy-efficient moves not only help you relax in your home but help you save money while doing so!