Family playing together outside


It’s a simple truth: When your HVAC unit and home complement each other, you can lower energy costs. And if you’re trying to avoid replacing your unit prematurely, you can help keep it going for years to come by making sure you don’t put undue stress on it. You can also enjoy a much more comfortable indoor climate, no matter what the thermostat reads outside. With this in mind, here are 5 tips to stay cool all summer long:

1. Don’t forget the filter.
Though it may seem insignificant, an air filter is your AC unit’s first line of defense against the outside world. Such a feature traps dust, pet dander and even bacteria from the air flowing through the system. Not only does this improve the air quality within your home, but it also protects your HVAC system from damage. However, you need to install the filter with care. There are right ways and wrong ways to insert an HVAC furnace filter. If not properly installed, it could hamper the furnace’s efficiency and cost you money in the end. Closely follow the instructions so you can do it right the first time.

Also, do your homework about which type is compatible with your HVAC unit. You may need to use a disposable type of filter or a more permanent one. With the former, it’s essential to replace your air filter at least once every 90 days. (It helps to make a note on your calendar.)

Other types of filters may require monthly maintenance. The frequency will vary according to a few factors. For instance, you may need to be on a more aggressive schedule if you have pets in your home, are a smoker and/or have allergies and/or asthma. Regardless of timing, a clean filter will catch any dust or dirt blocking or restricting air flow.

2. Keep outdoor areas tidy.
It’s advised to regularly go outside and examine your HVAC unit. The area should be clear and free from debris. This is especially relevant after summer storms, when branches and limbs fall.

You also might need to trim trees to make sure they’re not too close for comfort. You don’t want any foreign objects to get caught in the mechanism and clog it, affecting performance and impacting longevity. A good rule of thumb is to keep a two-foot perimeter surrounding your HVAC unit to avoid particles from collecting inside. The best defense is the best offense, after all.

3. Use a programmable thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat can really help you, especially during the summer months. Newer technology means it’s possible to have more control over your AC schedule, 24/7. You can plan around your day-to-day schedule for practicality. For instance, if you’re at work for 8 hours a day, you can schedule your unit to turn off or let the indoor temperature rise a little. Not only does it help in the way of saving money but running a climate-controlled schedule year-round can mean it’s not working as hard to keep up with often-extreme Midwest temperatures.

The good news? You can manage the temperature remotely through an app on your smartphone. This technology also integrates with home assistants like Alexa, so you can make adjustments with a simple verbal command. Hello, convenience!

4. Use fans to your advantage.
Looking to low-tech methods can help you keep your cool during the summer months. For instance, strategically placing fans throughout your home can make a huge difference in the way of comfort. Ceiling fans can especially work in your favor. Make sure they’re set to rotate clockwise during the summer. That ensures that air is moving downward, preventing excess heat from rising, which is counterproductive to your cause.

Additionally, you should have other types of smaller fans to keep air flowing. Smaller tabletop fans and floor fans are easily moved from room to room and keep your home comfortable.

5. Embrace window treatments
If your home is window heavy, you may notice it heats up easily due to the sun penetrating through the glass. While natural light has an aesthetic appeal, it also means your air conditioner has to overcompensate for the heat.

One way to counteract this issue is to invest in high-quality window treatments, such as blinds, curtains and drapes. Such features can help prevent the afternoon buildup of heat that normally takes place in the summer months. As a bonus, they’re great for privacy.

6. Keep vents clean.
Air flow is the name of the game. If dirt and debris and clogging your vents, that’s going to affect the temperature in your home. You don’t necessarily have to have a professional examine the entire duct system — a visual inspection should get the job done unless you suspect something is amiss.

Simply walk through your home and examine each vent. Clear out any buildup and make sure all vents are open, to help with coverage throughout the square footage of your property.

7. Keep cool air inside.
Fresh air is nice, but it’s not so great for the life of your HVAC unit. Open doors and windows are the main sources of cold air escaping. If you’re constantly opening and closing windows and doors, the temperature reflects this activity, and your system has to work harder to consistently adjust.

Bottom line? Being proactive is good for your pocketbook and indoor environment. Still, sometimes things go awry, and you need service. If you’ve tried all of these tips and your HVAC unit is under-performing, it may be time for an upgrade. A less efficient unit may be costing you more money each year due to cooling loss and excess waste. Newer models on the market today can cool your home faster without driving up your energy bill.

If you’re concerned you need a new unit or simply want a second opinion, we’re in your corner this summer and year-round. Our knowledgeable technicians are just a phone call away. Don’t sweat it — literally.