Summer is just around the corner and because of that, you’re probably already daydreaming about the beach, planning pool parties, or researching popsicle recipes.

However, before you crank that air conditioner up, know that heating and cooling compose approximately half of most American energy bills, according to The Department of Energy. Since summer is the season where your air conditioner is going to see a lot of action, spending a lot on energy may seem hard to avoid.

Be that as it may, there are simple HVAC measures you can take to save energy in the summer:

Natural Ventilation

Perhaps the easiest way to save energy during the hotter months is to use your air conditioner as rarely as possible. This does not mean that you should turn it on only on birthdays and other special occasions. This means that using natural ventilation can go a long way in keeping your energy bills within budget.

As you go to bed at night, open your windows instead of turning on your air conditioner and then when you wake up, close the windows and blinds to keep the cool air inside. You can also install window treatments or coverings to make your home more resistant to heat.

Minimize Indoor Heat

In addition to utilizing natural ventilation, you should also minimize heat buildup inside your home if you want to minimize your HVAC unit’s energy expenditure. A lot of our appliances at home are good at generating heat, so opting for alternatives will definitely help keep the place cool.

For instance, use daylight instead of artificial light, the microwave instead of an oven, and try to air dry dishes and clothes. Watching TV, using a computer, and other activities that generate heat should also be lessened. If your home has some cracks or holes, apply the appropriate seals and repairs to prevent hot air from leaking inside.

Efficient Thermostat Operation

Not many people know that wisely operating their thermostat can be very effective at saving money while still maintaining a comfortable temperature. To achieve this, set your thermostat as high as possible when you are out of the house and lower it to 78°F when you get back home and need cooling.

The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperature, the more you get to save on your cooling bills. Installing a programmable thermostat can make this more convenient because you can adjust the temperature at different times of the day beforehand.

Replace Dirty Filters

Your HVAC system will perform inefficiently if its filters are dirty because it blocks the airflow causing the system to work harder. This will require more energy and it may damage your system in the long run, as well as decrease the air quality and foster an unhealthy environment for your family.

Replace your filters at least once a month to keep your HVAC system working at its best.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Lastly, have your HVAC system routinely serviced by a licensed professional so that your unit will be at its best condition all the time. A technician will be able to clean, repair, and optimize your HVAC system so that it will function perfectly and help you avoid sudden (and oftentimes expensive) repairs in the future.

Don’t let the prospect of high energy bills ruin your summer fun! Follow these simple HVAC tips so you could spend your money not on your air conditioner, but on vacations instead!