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Cooling your home in the summer can be expensive, but skimping on the air conditioning can leave your home feeling hot, stuffy, and uncomfortable. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to cut cooling costs so you can ensure your home is comfortable all summer long without breaking the bank.

1. Place Your Thermostat Properly

Your thermostat placement is vital if you want to ensure that it’s regulating your home’s temperature appropriately. If your thermostat is placed on an exterior wall or close to a window, it will likely misread the temperature of your home and turn on air or heat more frequently as a result. Moving your thermostat to a place where it can get a more accurate reading of your home’s temperature can help you save a lot of money on cooling costs. An HVAC contractor, such an Arch Air Services, can reposition your thermostat if this is the case.

2. Seal Your Windows and Doors

Your air conditioning can easily seep out of unsealed windows and doors. You can check to see if this is happening in your home by placing yours. Hand along the cracks of your windows and doors to see if the air is flowing in or out of them. If you’re noticing air is escaping, you should apply a coat of fresh caulk to seal them. You can also look into window films and solar screens to help block out solar energy.

3. Program Your Thermostat

If you’re not going to be home all day or if you’re going on vacation for a week, program your thermostat to keep your home about 10 to 15 degrees higher. You don’t need to cool your home when you aren’t in it, and doing this will save you quite a bit of money on cooling costs. Some thermostats are even programmable from your phone, so you can check and adjust the temperature remotely if you need to.

4. Utilize Other Cooling Methods

If you don’t absolutely need the air conditioning, try using other cooling methods. Turn on your fans and use curtains or blinds to eliminate heat coming in from the windows. You may even want to use these methods in conjunction with your air conditioner as both will ensure that your air conditioner works more efficiently.

5. Don’t Add More Heat to Your Home

During hot summer months, avoid any sort of activity that generates heat. This can include cooking in the oven or on the stovetop, running the dishwasher, or putting clothing in the dryer. To keep your home cool, try grilling outside, washing dishes in the sink, and hanging your clothes on a clothesline to dry. Avoiding these activities reduces the amount of heat present in your home and helps ensure your air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard.

6. Plant Trees to Generate Shade

This solution isn’t a quick fix, but if you intend to stay in your home for years to come, planting trees in your yard can help reduce energy costs over time. As the trees grow, they’ll begin to produce more shade and lower the amount of sunlight that seeps through your windows and roof. Shading your home can effectively increase the efficiency of your air conditioning by as much as 10 percent.

7. Repair and Maintain Your Air Conditioner on a Regular Basis

Taking care of your equipment is an important part of ensuring that your HVAC system runs efficiently. Be sure to regularly clean and replace the filters on a regular basis. Doing this just once a month can help you use anywhere from 5 to 10 percent less energy. In addition, you should also ensure floor registers are not clogged with dust or blocked by furniture. Outside of the house, your unit should be free of debris like dirt and leaves to help it function properly. Keeping your system clean and well maintained helps ensure it not only lasts longer but works efficiently for its entire lifespan.

As the summer heat ramps up, it’s easy to want to do whatever you can do to stay cool. Try these seven rules for a few months to see if you can lower your cooling costs. If you’re finding that doing these things is not making a difference or that your cooling costs have suddenly spiked for no apparent reason, you should consult with an HVAC professional. There could be a mechanical problem with your HVAC unit.