It’s that time of year when your air conditioner works overtime to keep your home cool and comfortable. While a nice cool temperature may feel good, it can be tough on your checkbook. An overworked air conditioner can drive up your utility bills and put a dent in your wallet.

The good news is that there are options to cool down your home and reduce the workload on your air conditioning unit.

Use a Smart Thermometer

Standard thermometers are pretty simple. First, you set a temperature where you’re comfortable. Next, the thermometer turns the air conditioner on and off as needed to get your home to set temperature.

Smart thermometers take a more nuanced approach to temperature control. For example, you can automate the temperature based on whether or not you’re home. Some thermometers connect to your phone and adjust the temperature when you leave the house. Others can change the temperature based on the time of day and whether anyone is home.

The result is that your air conditioner isn’t working all day to keep your home at a constant temperature. Instead, it gets breaks throughout the day if no one is home, which reduces your bill and helps your unit operate more efficiently.

Upgrade Your Windows

Did you know that up to 30% of the heat in your home comes through your windows? One way to save on your cooling bill is to upgrade to energy-efficient windows. They allow sunlight but block out as much as 75% of the heat.

Even if you don’t want to upgrade your windows, there are other steps you can take. For example, you can weather strip your windows to eliminate gaps. That prevents cold air from escaping your home and warm air from entering.

You can also use window films and curtains to reduce the heat from the home via sunlight. Reflective window films prevent heat from entering your home but don’t affect the amount of sunlight you receive. Dark curtains, on the other hand, block out light and reduce incoming heat.

Switch to LED Light Bulbs

Do you use incandescent light bulbs? Now may be the time to switch to LED. There are good reasons to use LED bulbs, even without considering cooling. First, LED bulbs last much longer than incandescents, using significantly less energy. Second, you’ll save money on energy costs from upgrading to LED.

However, LED bulbs will also help with cooling your home. Incandescent bulbs give off up to 90% of their light as heat. LED bulbs don’t do that. So by switching to LED, you can reduce the heat levels in your home and put less strain on your air conditioner.

Green Cents has more great information on LED lights on their blog.

Use Your Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans aren’t a replacement for air conditioning, but they can supplement your air conditioner and provide a significant boost to cooling your home. Even better, they’re relatively inexpensive to buy and install.

A ceiling fan keeps cool air circulating within a room, reducing the need for the air conditioner to push more cool air into the home.

Cool air comes into the room through a vent when a room doesn’t have a ceiling fan. That air eventually warms and is sucked out through a duct to be cooled by the air conditioner. A ceiling fan prolongs that process. It keeps the air flowing and cool, which extends the time before the air conditioner needs to distribute more cool air.

You can also use smart fans, which coordinate with your thermostat. The thermostat can turn them on and off automatically to help maintain your desired temperature and lighten the load on the air conditioner.

Keep Your Air Conditioner Maintained

Perhaps the best way to reduce your cooling bills is to ensure your air conditioner runs efficiently. A regular checkup in the spring is an effective way to avoid any issues.

When an air conditioner has a maintenance issue, it works harder to reach the desired temperature in your home. That increases the energy usage and then increases your bill. It can also lead to inconsistent temperatures in your home.

Regularly changing the filter is a simple step to maintain your air conditioner’s health. The air filter pulls dirt, grime, dust, and other particles out of the air before it enters your home. Unfortunately, over time, the filter becomes dirty, making it harder for air to pass through it.

That means the unit must work harder to maintain the same temperature. A regular filter change is an easy, affordable way to maintain your air conditioning unit and keep your cooling prices down.

Plant Trees Around Your Home

Trees are Mother Nature’s cooling system and can be very effective for your home. Trees and bushes can provide shade around your home, limiting the amount of hot air near your doors and windows. They can also reduce sunlight entering your home through windows.

Trees can also help your air conditioner run more efficiently. Plant some trees and bushes around your air conditioner to provide shade. That will naturally cool the unit and keep it from overheating. That can lead to a longer lifespan and more efficient use.

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