Phoenix, Arizona (NAPSI) - While high heat can drain your energy, increase your utility bills and make your AC work overtime, there are simple ways you can save energy without compromising comfort.

Try fighting back against heat in your home with these tips:

• Install a programmable thermostat: There’s no need to keep the AC blasting while you’re away. A programmable thermostat can help you time your AC use and cut up to 20 percent from your cooling bill.

• Change your lightbulbs: CFL and LED lightbulbs give off significantly less heat than incandescents and use less energy. If you don’t want to replace all your bulbs at once, prioritize the hottest or most frequently used rooms of your home. Longer-lasting LED bulbs are good for hard- to-reach places, such as in garages or high ceilings.

• Use appliances wisely: Avoid using the oven if you can—fire up the grill instead to keep the heat outdoors. Check if your dishwasher has a nonheated drying setting and if it does, use it. Save clothes drying for nighttime—or, better yet, hang the wash on a clothesline. They’ll smell fresher, too.

• Use a fan: It costs just pennies an hour to operate and can make a room feel four to six degrees cooler—it’s low tech and low cost. While some believe a fan cools the room by drawing in fresh air, it really works by helping perspiration evaporate from your skin, so there’s no need to keep it running when you’re not around.

• Check for duct leaks: Your AC’s efficiency can be affected if ductwork isn’t properly balanced. Call an HVAC professional to have your system examined, and while they’re at your home, they can perform any necessary tune-ups to the AC itself.

• Control sunlight in your house: If it feels drab to shut out sunlight with drapes or blinds, consider installing a heat-rejecting window film. These films can help keep your home cooler, reduce energy use and protect your furnishings from UV rays. For example, 3M Sun Control Window Films can reduce cooling costs by up to 25 percent by rejecting solar heat. They also help block up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays to minimize fading of furniture and carpet. The films are available in several varieties that do not change the appearance of the window, so there’s no obvious tinted look.

To find how much energy you could save with this improvement, check out the Cooling Savings Calculator at