There are two seemingly contradictory things that every homeowner wants in the summer: a comfortable home and low air conditioning bills. While it seems like these two desires will never be realized at the same time, there are ways to help bring them together.

Here are our favorite things to try when making your home cool and energy efficient.

  • Have your air conditioner tuned-up and inspected.  This simple annual check-up keeps your unit in tiptop shape by keeping it clean and identifying any possible problems.
  • Change your air filters monthly.  Just do it; write it on the calendar, put a reminder in your email, whatever it takes to remember. You’ll increase your air conditioner’s efficiency and lifespan while improving the air in your home as well. 
  • Plant a tree or other tall plant to shade your outdoor unit.  This keeps it cooler and makes it easier to cool the inside air. You can increase your efficiency by up to ten percent, according to the Department of Energy.
  • Have your air ducts sealed and insulated. A professional will be able to locate places where your cooled air is leaking out into spaces such as attics and garages.  According to the Department of Energy, duct sealing pays for itself in energy savings within three years.
  • Turn on the ceiling fan, but only when you’re in the room.  The fan cools you by running air across your skin; it doesn’t actually lower the temperature.  But it will allow you to keep your home a few degrees warmer without sacrificing comfort.
  • Program and use your programmable thermostat.  If you’re not home and don’t have any heat-sensitive pets, you can save lots of energy by allowing your home to be a few degrees warmer while you’re gone for long periods of time.
  • Don’t use lights, the oven, the dishwasher, and the clothes dryer in the hottest part of the day if possible; they all contribute to keeping your home warm instead of cool.
  • Use blinds or curtains to keep the sunlight out, especially on the south and west sides of your home.
  • Insulation keeps your home at the temperature you want; it works as well in the summer to keep heat out as it does in the winter to keep heat in.
  • Have your ducts cleaned if it’s been a few years; any buildup will keep the cold air from moving through your home easily and make your air conditioner work harder.

source:  Energy.gov