9 Summer HVAC Tips to Stay Cool and Save Money

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated January 12, 2022
 A woman sitting on the couch at home using laptop
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Don’t let thinking about your summer electric bill make you hot under the collar

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You’ve waited for it all winter, and now summer is finally here. The sunny days, pool visits, and—skyrocketing electric bills? That’s not one of the perks of summer, but we’ve got you covered. Here are nine tips for your HVAC system so you can stay cool this summer and save money doing it.

1. Schedule Maintenance

To keep your HVAC system running at peak performance, you should schedule regular AC maintenance inspections. Biannual inspections, once before winter and once before summer, are ideal, but even annual maintenance pre-summer can extend your HVAC system’s life. 

Tune-ups from a local AC specialist usually run around $70 to $100, and can save you up to 15% on your energy bills during the summer.

2. Get a Programmable Thermostat

One of the easiest HVAC tips for summer is to take advantage of smart technology. Investing in a programmable thermostat can save you money in the long run because you can set the system to run specific temperatures at certain hours. 

If you’re at work all day, running your AC unit at a low temperature is a waste (unless you have pets or loved ones at home). You can save by matching your thermostat to your schedule, and some smart thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control them from your phone in case you are out and want to turn the system up or down.

3. Replace/Clean Your Filter

Changing the air filter on your HVAC system is not only important for the air quality in your home—it also helps your system perform well. Before summer, replace your filter, then plan to change it once a month. 

If you have pets in your home or loved ones with allergies or respiratory ailments, think about changing the filter every three weeks to keep your air clear and your system running smoothly. Keeping your air filter clean can cut your system’s energy consumption by up to 15%—not too shabby.

4. Clean (and Open) Your Vents

Dust, mold, and mildew can build up in your ducts over time, so your system not only blows that back into your home, it also can’t perform optimally. 

To keep the air in your home clean and flowing all summer, clean your vents and have a pro clean your ductwork. Make sure all your vents are open so the air can move through your home the way it’s supposed to. Your house will smell better, too.

5. Use Ceiling and Floor Fans

 A modern metallic floor stand electric fan
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Here’s a hot HVAC tip that’ll help keep you cool this summer: fans! Using ceiling and floor fans helps circulate the cool air that your air conditioner produces, putting less stress on your system. 

Fans are especially helpful if you have a two- or three-story home because as the heat rises, the fans will blow the hot air into the return vents and keep the cold air moving. 

Plus, fans create a breeze, making it feel cooler in your home than it is, and can allow you to raise the temperature on your thermostat, saving energy in the summer months without sacrificing your comfort level.

6. Protect Your HVAC Unit

Placing your AC unit under a tree or an awning will help to keep the system cool, but you need to make sure that branches, leaves, and other debris don’t get caught in it. The fan can get damaged from anything that slips through the slits, and any debris on top of the unit can reduce airflow and drive up your energy bills. 

7. Clean the Condenser Coils

Dirty condenser coils are a common A/C system problem, as the dirt prevents the system from being able to transfer the hot air from your home to the outdoors. You can call in an HVAC professional to clean your coils, or if you’re comfortable, do it yourself. 

Just make sure to shut off the power to your condenser, then spray the coils with water to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may have collected on them.

8. Listen to Your System

If you turn on your HVAC system and hear any grinding, hissing, or other weird noises, it’s time to call in a professional. There’s likely something wrong with the unit, and any problems can cause an increase in energy bills.

9. Replace Your Unit

Our last HVAC tip for summer is to consider the overall functionality and health of your unit. If you have an air conditioning unit that’s older, it’s probably less energy efficient than some of the newer models. 

Installing a new A/C unit costs between $3,800 and $7,500, but it can be well worth it for the savings on your electric bill. Energy Star-rated units use up to 8% less energy than other models, which will save you money in the long run. 

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