Aim for High Efficiency
If you are shopping for a new air conditioner or a replacement, be sure to choose one that carries the Energy Star seal. Not only will the higher efficiency save you money over time, but many energy companies, like ConEd in New York, offer rebates—just for making the smarter choice.
Related: 11 Air Conditioning Mistakes That Spike Your Bills
Keep It Clean
To keep your system running smoothly, make sure your air conditioning filters are clean and replace them regularly; you'll need to clean or replace as often as once a month during the summer.
Related: Get Your Fix: 20 Easy DIY Repairs for Every Part of Your Home
Little Things Count
When you set your thermostat, remember you just want to be comfortable—not chilled. Be aware of the settings; every degree you lower your thermostat increases energy savings by up to 6 percent.
Related: 13 Simple Ways to Cut Your Home Cooling Costs
Close It Up
Close the door! Listen to your mothers—were you raised in a barn?—and keep your doors and windows shut while the AC is running. Cool air stays in; hot air stays out.
Related: 20 Summer Life Hacks Everyone Needs
Live Like a Vampire
Like a creature of the night, avoid the sun. Close curtains and lower blinds to block out summer rays. If you want to take it to the next level, consider installing exterior awnings to reduce heat gain. Awnings are particularly effective over south- and west-facing windows and doors.
Related: 9 Energy-Saving Home Upgrades That Pay for Themselves
Don't Strain the System
Help your AC by not getting in its way. Try to do your heat- and moisture-producing chores, like running washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers, in the early morning or late at night when temperatures are lower—and energy costs are too.
Related: 8 Appliances that Cost You a Fortune in Energy Bills
Give Your Oven a Break
Summer is the season for juicy fruit pies, but when it’s really hot, your AC might prefer that you direct your culinary skills toward backyard grilling, or concentrate on microwavable recipes and meals. The heat from an oven can cause your AC to work harder and your heating bills to spike.
Related: 17 New Essentials for Your Best Ever BBQ
Protect Your Thermostat
Keep lamps, TVs, and other electronics away from your thermostat. You don’t want it to pick up ambient heat from these appliances and force the AC to run longer than necessary! Also, opt for CFL light bulbs, which give off less heat and save even more energy.
Related: Buyer’s Guide: LED Light Bulbs
Make Your Own Summer Breeze
Let your ceiling fan do some of the work! Make sure it’s rotating in a counterclockwise direction to push air downward and breeze past you for a cooling effect.
Related: 12 Clever Hacks to Help You Beat the Summer Heat
A little help from you will keep your A/C running efficiently.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!