Energy bills often skyrocket in the summer thanks to our need for air conditioning. With heatwaves rising in frequency and intensity around the world, it’s even more important for those who have A/Cs to take care of them. Think about it this way: if you keep up with regular maintenance, you’ll save money because your A/C will be running more efficiently – plus you’re more likely to notice any issues when they begin, rather than once they’ve gotten so bad you have to call in a technician. So basically, you’re saving money in two major ways!

Each air conditioning unit produces around two tons of carbon dioxide per year. By changing to a high-efficiency air conditioning unit and following a few tips to keep your usage down, you could reduce your energy consumption by 20 to 50%! That can add up to a big chunk of money. And who doesn’t want more money in their pocket these days? Speaking of saving money, check out what financial incentives you can get in your state when you switch to an Energy Star appliance. That can make a new unit much more affordable.

The easiest part of maintenance to keep up with on your own is cleaning or changing the filters regularly. It’s a simple way to keep the efficiency higher and the energy use lower. If your unit is in a place where you can shade it, that will also help it to run more smoothly, since it won’t have to work as hard to keep cool. Ideally, you’ll also have a professional service technician do a checkup yearly, or as often as you can manage, so that they can catch anything you wouldn’t notice. This will allow you to keep up with catching issues before they get so bad that your repair costs skyrocket.

Reducing your energy bill and giving your A/C an easier time working isn’t only about the unit itself. Ventilation is a prime example of an inexpensive way to save electricity. When the A/C isn’t trying so hard, it’s not consuming as much energy. Ceiling or standing fans help circulate air in the area they’re in, changing a stuffy room into a comfortable one. That can help the house feel cooler and allow you to keep the A/C unit’s temperature setting higher. You should also leave the doors to bedrooms and bathrooms open. Again, this contributes to saving energy by allowing for better air flow and distribution of cooler air.

Another way to help curb that excessive energy bill is through shade. We’ve talked about home design for passive solar, but what about passive cooling through landscaping? Among the many benefits of planting trees around your house is the shade they will provide. If you choose the right spots, this can help you save up to 25% on your energy costs. Not only could you shade your A/C, you can bring the temperature down around your house, and of course be decreasing a bit of carbon in the atmosphere. Even smaller plants can be used to reduce heat from the ground around the house. The less heat that reaches inside, the more comfortable you’ll be.

When your air conditioner is running smoothly, it’s a lot easier to keep your cool. All that money you save will contribute too! Bonus: you’re reducing carbon emissions when your unit doesn’t need to run as long or as often. This is great at any time, but more important during summer heatwaves. No one wants their overworked A/C to give up in the middle of a blazing hot week. Keep an eye on your energy usage and other ways you can decrease it, and you can stay comfortable throughout the season.