The average high temperature in June, July and August in Pennsylvania reaches between 80º and 90º Fahrenheit. In addition to the heat, humidity can place a strain on your home’s air conditioning system, not to mention your household budget. Although it’s convenient to rely on your air conditioner to keep your home cool during the summer, you’ll want to do so while saving energy and money. How can you lower your summer energy bills? Frequent air conditioner use can cause a shock when it’s time to pay your home cooling bill. Considering that nearly half of an average household’s utility expenses are related to heating and cooling, it’s imperative to find ways to keep these costs under control. Haller Enterprises has assembled the following tips to help you manage your cooling costs while still maintaining a comfortable home all summer long: Install ceiling fans Ceiling fans help circulate air and increase comfort in the rooms you use the most. They can also allow you to set your thermostat at a higher temperature, reducing your dependence on air conditioning. Just remember to turn off the fan when no one is in the room. As an alternative, consider using freestanding oscillating floor fans to move air around your house. Open your windows at night Another way to increase air circulation is opening your windows during the cooler summer nights. Opening at least two windows will create cross-ventilation and generate a cooling breeze throughout your home. Supplementing open windows with fans can enhance this effect, making your home more comfortable without having to rely on air conditioning. Block the sunlight While streaming sunlight will brighten a home’s interior, it will also increase the indoor temperature. Sunlight creates a greenhouse effect that makes a home feel warmer and causes the air conditioning system to work harder. The installation of solar blinds will deflect a substantial amount of the sun’s rays and keep your house cooler. Another option is to keep your curtains and shades closed during the day. Create natural shade The trees and shrubs around your house can produce natural shade to help your home stay cooler. When you’re landscaping your yard, consider planting in places that will add natural shade. The foliage can also enhance the appearance and resale value of your property. Raise your thermostat Most folks prefer a setting of around 72º F in the summer. However, raising the temperature by a few degrees will result in a significant reduction in energy consumption and lower your cooling costs. Install a programmable thermostat A programmable thermostat will regulate the function of your A/C system by automatically adjusting the temperature throughout the day based on your chosen settings. You don’t have to be at home to raise or lower the thermostat manually as the outside temperature changes. A programmable thermostat can lower your energy bills by allowing your air conditioner to operate more efficiently. Keep cool in the basement The subterranean level of your home stays several degrees cooler than the above-ground areas. Take advantage of the cooler basement temperature by bumping up the thermostat and heading downstairs. You don’t need a finished basement or “man cave” to enjoy life underground — a futon, a couple of comfortable chairs and a TV are all you need to create a cozy and relaxing environment. Seal your home HVAC ducts can pull apart or sustain damage over time, resulting in gaps that minimize airflow efficiency. Gaps around doors and windows can also allow chilled air to escape from inside your home and let hot air seep in. A professional HVAC technician can inspect your ductwork and seal any gaps or cracks. Placing weatherstripping at the bottom of exterior doors and caulking leaky windows will also help maintain a comfortable temperature. Maintain your air conditioning unit A neglected air conditioner will not operate efficiently, which can raise your energy costs and lead to an early system failure. Have your unit inspected by a certified HVAC technician at least once a year. The inspection should include a complete tuneup and a replacement of any worn-out parts. An important DIY maintenance step is changing your HVAC filter at least once a month during the summer. A clean filter improves airflow and facilitates condensation drainage, reducing your annual home energy costs. Replace an aging or underperforming air conditioner Even the best air conditioning systems don’t last forever. You should replace your system after 10 to 15 years for maximum efficiency and energy savings. Today’s Energy Star-rated systems are highly efficient and can quickly offset your initial investment. Be sure to have your new unit professionally installed so it will deliver long-lasting performance. Talk to Haller about ways to lower your air conditioning bill this summer Haller Enterprises proudly offers premium air conditioning services to homeowners in Central PA and beyond. You can trust our more than 40 years of HVAC expertise to help you create a comfortable, energy-efficient home all summer long. Contact us to learn more about our cost-effective air conditioning preventative maintenance program today.