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Summer is here and that means, in most homes, air conditioners are working at full speed to keep your family cool and comfortable. Unfortunately, this time of year is often a time for high utility costs as families strive to create an oasis from the heat and humidity. However, there are many steps you can take to cut your air conditioning costs while still staying safe and healthy from record high temperatures. Beat the heat and high costs this summer with these tips to lower your cooling costs.

Install Smart Thermostats
For maximum efficiency, consider installing smart thermostats around the house. With this new technology, your devices will do all the thinking for you. With accessibility from practically anywhere, you can set or schedule what temperature you want your home to be any time of day, such as when you get home from work or take a trip away from home. 

Experiment With Temperatures
For those who don’t have a smart thermostat, it may take a bit of experimentation to figure out just the right temperature for all hours of the day. If you leave the house for most of the day, say for work, it’s probably not necessary to keep the A/C running on full blast all day long. Setting your unit for a few degrees warmer before you head out can help save energy. Once you get home, you can adjust as needed and your wallet won’t mind a few degrees cooler when it’s time to hit the sheets.

Limit Heat-Producing Appliances
Because using your stovetop or oven can boost the temperature in your home, the A/C may need to work harder and more frequently to keep your space at your desired temperature. Instead of baking or frying your dinner, get outside and enjoy the summer weather with a cookout on the grill. Also, try to keep a laundry and dishwasher schedule that allows your dryer to run at a time of day that you won’t have the air conditioning running.

Utilize Shaded Areas
For windows and areas of the home that sit in direct sunlight, consider light blocking drapes for the warmer months. Even add a tree to your property closest to the windows that allow the most light in. Though this is a great feature to have in the winter to cut heating costs, it can counter the efforts of your A/C and cause higher cooling costs. Embrace the shade and lessen the effects of radiant heat and U/V rays inside.

Maintain Your Equipment
Just like your other large home appliances, your air conditioner requires regular maintenance to function properly. Be sure to replace the air filter regularly and at the beginning and middle of each summer season, clean out any dust that may accumulate over time. For additional care, and especially for built in central air systems, hire a professional for a yearly maintenance checkup and schedule a cleaning before the start of a heat wave.