You love summer, don’t you? School’s out and BBQs are on. But what you probably don’t love are those higher air conditioning bills. Here are some tried-and-true ways to help lower the cost of keeping cool.

Change Air Filters

Make sure you switch out your filters before those sizzling summer temps arrive, then once a month after that. When filters are dirty, they block the airflow, which causes your air conditioner to work harder when cooling your home. You’ll not only lower your bills by five to 15 percent, but you will also extend the life of your entire A/C system. If you don’t change those clogged filters, it could create a malfunction and you’ll have to get your unit repaired.

Turn Up Your Thermostat

Set it to 78 degrees and shed a few layers. Yes, this might not be preferable to your icy 72 degrees, but you know what will feel good? Seeing your electricity bill go down 18 percent.

Run the Ceiling Fan

This works in tandem with turning your thermostat to 78 degrees. If you’ve been running your fan clockwise during the previous months, be sure to change the direction so the air moves down into the room.

Invest In a Smart Thermostat

With these babies, you can regulate the temps when you’re not home from an app on your phone or via voice commands. For instance, you can set the A/C to a toasty 80 degrees when you’re not home to save money. Two good brands to check into are Nest and Ecobee, but here’s a list of others. They’re well worth the cost.

Close Your Curtains and Blinds

When the sun’s rays enter your home, they not only heat up the room, but also your thermostat. The best time to shut your curtains and blinds is during the warmest part of the day, between (roughly) 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This will help insulate your windows and stop the cool air from escaping.

Consider the Placement of Your Thermostat

Where do you have this? If it’s next to a hot window, your poor A/C will work harder than it needs to because it will think the room’s hotter than it is. Other places not to put it are near doors that could let in drafts. Or by bathrooms that are usually warm and steamy. In fact, the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy advises to avoid placing thermostats near lamps or TVs. Why? They release heat that could confuse the sensors of your poor, struggling device.

Avoid Activities that Heat Up the House

Try to refrain from using the oven, dishwasher or dryer during the middle of the day. This heats up the house. Instead, use the microwave, grill outside or – if you can stand it – wash your dishes by hand. If you need to dry clothes, wait until after sundown.

Check Your Air-Conditioner

If you had some issues with it last summer, get someone (a professional) to take a look at it before the high temps descend upon you. If you make a few small repairs, you’ll save mightily in the long run.

If you implement one or all of these tips, you’ll be in a much better, cooler place come full-on summer, the time of year when you most want to chill.



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