Help your air conditioner help you stay cool this summer. Check out these things that you can do today to take some pressure off your A/C and save you some money on your electric bill.

What You Need To Know

  • Your ceiling fan should spin a certain way to create a breeze

  • Limit the amount of sunlight coming into your home

  • Raise the thermostat, especially when you’re away

  • Maintain your air conditioning system

Look at your ceiling fans

Turn on your ceiling fans and see which way they’re spinning. Having them go counterclockwise circulates the air around the room, creating a small breeze that’ll help keep you cool.

This can especially become helpful if you have a second floor, since warm air rises and you might need a little extra “oomph” to keep things cool there.

(Spectrum News/Justin Gehrts)

Open up

Don’t close doors to rooms or walk-in closets. Keeping them open lets air circulate. One exception to this rule is the bathroom while showering, beyond obviously wanting privacy. You don’t want your air conditioner working hard to counteract the warm, humid air, so close that door while you’re in there and turn on the ceiling vent fan.

Block the sun

Okay, you can’t completely blot out the sun’s light to keep it from heating up your house. But you can close your blinds or curtains. Bright sunlight shining through the windows adds unwanted heat… well, maybe not unwanted by everyone.

Turn the dial

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Turn up your thermostat a few degrees. There’s a good reason it’s repeated so often. Every degree of cooling increases energy usage by as much as 8%!

(Photo by Olivia Levada)

Try upping it by a degree or two at first and gradually increase it as you get more used to the higher setting. Remember to use fans to your advantage.

If you’d rather not set your thermostat higher all the time, try doing it when you’re going to be away for a while. Just don’t crank it really low for your return; a colder setting doesn’t make your home cool any faster.

Keep it clean

Replace the indoor air filter as necessary (usually every couple of months), since a dirty filter reduces air flow and makes your A/C work harder than it needs to.

(Spectrum News)

You also need to keep the actual air conditioning unit that’s outdoors clean. Remove leaves and other debris, then hose off the dust, dirt and other stuff that’s gotten stuck in there.

Extra credit

Want to go above and beyond the five simple tips above? Here are three bonus ideas.

  • Seal air leaks around windows. Many kids have heard “we’re not cooling the outside!” as they hold the front door open for longer than necessary. Your house might already be doing that without being as obvious. Closing those leaks keeps warm air out and cool air in.
  • Get an A/C inspection. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having a professional check on your air conditioner each year can save you a lot of trouble… and sweating, if it conks out in the middle of the summer.
  • Plant shade trees. These are most effective on the south and west sides of your house, since that’s where the strongest afternoon sunshine comes from. This can be pricey up front, but is certainly beneficial. If you DIY it, be sure to get underground utilities marked.

Our team of meteorologists dives deep into the science of weather and breaks down timely weather data and information. To view more weather and climate stories, check out our weather blogs section.


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