If you’re like most Americans, about 51% of your energy consumption each year goes to heating and cooling your home.

Figuring out how to save money on air conditioning before summer temps hit can help you lower that percentage. Lower energy consumption to keep your home cool translates into lower bills.

Keep reading to learn how to use your air conditioner economically.

Change Your Air Filter

Maintaining your air conditioning system allows it to work efficiently, which saves you money. It can also prevent unnecessary wear and tear and damage to the system.

Replacing the air filter is one of the most basic maintenance tasks that can keep your home cool with less energy use. Clogged air filters slow the air flow and make your system run less efficiently.

The frequency of changing the filter depends on how much you use the system and how dusty your home is. Having a pet can also increase the need for more frequent changes due to the pet hair in the filter.

Check your filter monthly to see if it needs to be changed. You can see dirt and debris buildup to show that it’s time for a change.

Tune Up Your System

Even if you don’t think anything is wrong with your HVAC system, it’s a good idea to have regular seasonal maintenance performed.

Hiring an HVAC expert means you can ensure your system is running optimally. The HVAC pro can make small adjustments to make your air conditioning run more efficiently.

These checks are also a good way to find problems with the system before they get worse. Minor repairs early on will save you money.

Keep Your Exterior Unit Free of Debris

Your air conditioning unit outdoors can also affect how well your system runs. Dust and outdoor debris can clog the unit and decrease its efficiency.

Remove large debris that you can see on your system. Disconnecting the power and hosing down the unit is a quick way to remove dirt and dust that you can’t manually remove.

Trim back landscaping that touches or crows the air conditioning unit. Using a weed trimmer on grass and weeds along the base of the unit also helps.

Adjust the Thermostat

Setting your thermostat to a higher temperature can save you money on cooling costs. An adjustment of 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over 8 hours per day can save you up to 10% of your energy costs for heating and cooling.

Bumping up your thermostat a few degrees and using other cooling methods can help you stay comfortable while using less energy.

Programmable thermostats make it easy to change the temperature automatically when you’re gone or sleeping.

Smart home thermostats give you even more control. You can adjust the temperature from a phone app when you’re away from home.

Use Fans

If your home has ceiling fans, use them to circulate the air and make your space feel cooler. Using ceiling fans with air conditioning can help disperse the cool air better. That can make it more comfortable in your home with your thermostat a little higher than normal.

Portable fans can help you cool specific areas. Place them near open windows to pull in outside air on cooler summer days and nights.

Shut off fans when you’re not in the room to cut down on your energy use.

Block External Heat

If your home has standard double-pane windows, about 76% of the sunlight that hits them comes into your home and turns into heat.

That heat can make your HVAC system work harder. Your air conditioning has to run more to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

Use window treatments to block out sunlight during the day. Blackout curtains can provide stronger sun-blocking power than thinner curtains or blinds with gaps.

You can also use landscaping, such as trees and bushes, to block sunlight on your windows strategically.

Make Home Repairs

Another way you can keep the summer heat outdoors is by making home repairs. Cracks, leaks, and poor insulation allow the hot air from outside to seep into your home, which makes your system run harder.

Feel for drafts and look for visible gaps around foundations, windows, doors, and other areas. Seal up those spaces to increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Adding insulation in the walls and ceilings can help your home hold onto the cooled air. Your air conditioner won’t have to run as much to maintain your preferred temperature.

Another home repair you may need to make is to the ductwork. The ducts carry the cooled air throughout your home.

If they have leaks, the cooled air escapes before it can reach the rest of your home. This can result in cold areas around the leaks and warmer areas throughout the home.

You might turn up the thermostat to compensate for the warmer temperatures in other areas of the home.

Repairing the ductwork leaks lets the system efficiently carry the cool air where you want it.

Choose Activities Wisely

Cooking, drying clothes, running the dishwasher, and using electronics create heat that can build up in your home. You can’t avoid those activities completely, but timing them well can help your cause.

Avoid heat-generating activities during the hottest times of the day. Try running your dryer and dishwasher at night instead of heating the house up in the morning or during the day.

Grilling outdoors or using alternative cooking appliances, such as slow cookers, pressure cookers, and microwaves can cut down on cooking heat. If you use your stove or oven, use them for as short of a time as possible.

Minimize the heating effects of showers by keeping them short and running your exhaust fan or opening the window slightly.

Learn How to Save Money on Air Conditioning

Figuring out how to save money on air conditioning helps you overall budget without sacrificing your comfort. A combination of system maintenance and behavior changes can help.

If you need HVAC maintenance service, new equipment, or air conditioning repairs, schedule an appointment online today.