1. Plant shade trees around the house
Planting leafy trees around the outside of your home will help block the sun and keep your house cooler.
2. Cover your windows
When it’s hot, about 76 percent of sunlight on windows enters in the form of heat, according to the DOE. Solar screens, or mesh-like window screens, can intercept the energy before it gets into the house. Window screens are particularly effective on east- and west-facing windows.
3. Get “smart” about your thermostat
If there’s no one home during the day, you can save as much as 10 percent on your power bills by keeping the thermostat seven to 10 degrees higher for eight hours, the DOE notes.
4. Install ceiling fans
If possible, run ceiling fans on your home’s upper level and open the windows on the lower level. If you live in a one-story house or apartment, close windows near the fan and open windows in rooms far from the fan, preferably on your home’s windward side, the DOE advises. The key, Krigger says, is to circulate air inside the house.
5. Service your AC
An inefficient air conditioner raises your cooling costs. Maintaining your AC unit on a regular basis is important.
For starters, the DOE recommends cleaning or replacing the filter in your AC every month or two during summer. Filters may need more frequent cleaning or replacing if there is a lot of dust or if you have furry pets in the house.
A clogged or dirty filter blocks airflow and reduces the efficiency of the unit. “Keep the filter clean to allow for good air movement and keep the unit level so the condensation drains properly,” advises Scheckel.
6. Go with an alternative cooling system
You can cut your energy costs by replacing an old air conditioner for a new unit with a high energy-efficiency ratio, or EER, or an Energy Star-qualified unit. Higher EER ratings indicate a more efficient air conditioner. Energy Star is a system used by the U.S. government to designate energy-efficient products.
7. Seal the leaks
A drafty house is not an energy-efficient house. The DOE recommends doing a visual check inside and outside the home for gaps, cracks and openings where air can come and go. Windows and doors are the obvious places to check, but there are many other areas that are prone to leaks, such as where the home’s foundation meets the exterior brick or siding.
8. Ask your electric company about assistance
Some energy giants are offering bill payment assistance to their customers. New York-based ConEdison, for example, is offering monthly discounts to customers who are on Social Security and some other government assistance programs.
For more detailed information on how to save money on your A/C bill, visit: