As we head towards June, summer is on our doorstep!

With weather forecasters predicting a hotter-than-average summer for much of the country, and with the average household facing a $410 monthly electricity bill, lowering your air conditioning (AC) costs can provide major benefits for your finances.

Here are some simple strategies to lower your AC costs while still beating the heat:

Clean your AC filters
Dirty AC filters reduce airflow and make your AC have to work harder. If you clean or replace your filter each month, it can help lower your AC’s power consumption by 5% to 15%. If you have a central air, make sure your floor registers aren’t blocked with dust or with furniture. Also clear your AC’s evaporator and condenser coils (usually located outside) from dirt, leaves, branches, and grass.

Set your thermostat to 78°F
An easy way to lower your AC costs is by setting your thermostat to the highest level that is comfortably possible. The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78°F when you’re home and need cooling, and to a slightly higher temperature when you’re away from home.

Also consider investing in a smart thermostat to automate and control your home’s climate control system.

Use your ceiling fans
If your home has ceiling fans, use them! According to the Department of Energy, turning on your ceiling fans allows you to raise your thermostat setting by nearly 4°F with no reduction in comfort. In certain climates or times of day, your ceiling fan may even help prevent you from needing to use your air conditioner.

Close your blinds, curtains and shades
If you leave for work in the morning, close your blinds / curtains / shades before you go (or close them during the warmest part of the day when you’re home). This helps keep out the sun while preventing cold air from escaping through your windows.

Schedule a professional home energy audit
For a long-term strategy at improving your home’s energy efficiency, schedule an appointment for a home energy audit. For around $300 to $400, a trained energy auditor will provide personalized recommendations for your home based on measurements from thermographic scanning tools.

If you introduce the recommendations from your energy audit, you could lower your monthly energy bill by up to 30% while increasing your comfort.

Simple steps can quickly lower your AC costs
You don’t have to suffer in the heat to lower your AC costs. By using these simple methods, you can stay cool while saving money.

For more information on lowering your AC costs, visit the Department of Energy website.

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