Summer is right around the corner and many of us are already scrubbing the barbecue grill and cleaning the pool to prepare for warmer weather. Something else that accompanies the summer heat is those dreaded cooling bills. If summer utility bills make you cringe, here are a few tips to help keep your AC running efficiently and lower seasonal cooling bills.

Draw the Blinds

Just covering your windows to the afternoon sun will make you feel much cooler and block excess heat from transferring through window glass. The hottest part of the day is early afternoon when the sun is at its peak. Draw the blinds of let down the shade until sundown and your home will stay nice and cool.

Keep Windows and Doors Tightly Shut

Central air conditioning works best with all the windows and doors tightly closed to retain the cooled air. Doors left open leak out cooled air and will make your AC cycle longer which will in turn, raise your utility usage. There is some confusion with cooling systems that use water instead of refrigerant, if you have an evaporative cooler you need to keep a window cracked, but not for an AC system. Central air systems are closed and do not require outside air flow.

Reduce Air Leaks

Weatherize windows and doors by replacing old or worn weather stripping, sealing cracks and gaps with latex or silicone caulk and using a draft blocker at the bottom of the doors to reduce cold air leaks.

Change Air Filter Frequently

Air conditioners need air flow through the system to work efficiently, so keeping the air filter clean is vitally important. Dirty air filters are a major contributing cause to system break down. Filters should be changed monthly and electrostatic or permanent filters that are metal can be hosed off and allowed to dry before replacing.

Use Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans can be a big help in circulating cool air throughout the home. It is a misconception that fans cool the air, they can help circulate cooled air and remove heat from around your body but they have no power of their own to cool the air. Used in combination with your AC system, fans can help improve your air conditioners efficiency and reduce cooling bills because you can actually raise the thermostat setting a few degrees and not feel any difference in cooling.

Replace Older Appliances

Replace older appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators and air conditioners with newer Energy Star appliances. Appliances with the Energy Star symbol use 0 to 50% less energy and water than their older counterparts. The saving will add up year after year of continued use.

Maintain Your Cooling System

Keeping your cooling system tuned up goes a long way to improve energy efficiency. A dirty system will use more energy because it has to work a little harder. Schedule a pre-season tune up before summer to get your AC clean and ready for use.

Contact ABA Heating and Cooling for more information about energy efficiency, or to request a service call. Our technicians are NATE-certified and very knowledgeable about all aspects of HVAC systems.