For our friends up north, taking steps to lower their energy bill is primarily a winter activity.

But here in Florida, we all know that the heat and humidity make the upcoming months uncomfortable on your body and your budget.

While other parts of the country may deal with warm summer weather, it’s usually limited to June, July and August.

While summer may not officially start until June 21, the Florida heat and humidity has already made an appearance. It will likely be here in full force within a month and last until October.

So, what can you do to stay cool without busting your budget? Here are some suggestions.

Obviously, you have to lower the temperature on your air conditioning to make it through the summer. But keeping the thermostat too low for too long puts it into overdrive. That’s bad for your utility bill, and it can also damage the a/c itself.

Periodically, raise the thermostat temperature a little and dress appropriately. Shorts and T-shirts would be appropriate.

If you have ceiling fans, this is obviously the time of year to use them. They produce some cool air and would be especially useful when you raise the thermostat, or if we get an occasional cool night, and you can open the windows.

And if you don’t have ceiling fans, maybe now is the time to invest in them. Remember, if you choose to buy ceiling fans, this is not a DIY project. You need a licensed electrician to install them.

Make sure your vents are clear and free of dust. Furniture in front of an a/c vent will prevent the cool air from getting to you. If the vents are blocked, it may not matter how low you make the thermostat.

Obviously, when you go out for extended periods, raise the thermostat slightly. There’s no need to keep an empty house as cold as you would if you were home.

Through most of the year, you should keep blinds open. That provides natural light from the sun. But during the warmer months that natural light comes with added heat. So, it’s better to keep your blinds closed when the air outside is hot. And when you’re not in a room, turn off the lights.

Here are a few more ideas. Try to avoid cooking during the hottest times of the day. Consider cold water to wash your clothes. And if you can, use the hot sun to dry your clothes instead of the dryer.

Yes, it’s Florida summer, and it’s hot and humid. But there are some things you can do to get through it. And you can also think about the middle of winter, when we have maybe only a few freezing days and nights.