The warm days are here. It is time to put the furnace to rest and ready the AC. Just like in winter, maintaining indoor comfort and safety in spring and summer comes at a cost. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, air conditioning can account for 12 percent to 27 percent of home energy expenditures.

To help lower your air conditioning bill this hot season, check out these 6 energy-saving tips:

Take advantage of window treatments.

According to the Department of Energy, about 76 percent of sunlight that falls on windows enters to become heat. Covering your windows or installing window treatments during the cooling season will help you keep out the heat and lower your cooling costs. The ideal window covering options that help reduce heat gain in summer include curtains or draperies, blinds, shades, and shutters.

Invest in a programmable thermostat.

There are many benefits to equipping your HVAC system with a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust your home temperature settings remotely, so that you can set it warmer than normal when you are away and lower it when you’re on your way home. Experts recommend setting your thermostat to 78F (26C) to stay cool and comfortable and save money on your monthly air conditioning bill.

Run the ceiling fans.

Turning on the ceiling fans will keep your indoors cool even at higher thermostat settings. When your thermostat is set any higher than 78 degrees, you can save as much as 5 to 10 percent on space cooling costs. Fans create a windchill effect to cool people; they do not cool rooms. Thus, do not forget to turn the appliance off when you leave the room.

Replace dirty air filters.

A clogged filter restricts the flow of cold air. It forces the AC to work harder to maintain your comfort level at home. This can cause a 15 percent increase in your household cooling costs. Prevent this from happening by cleaning your HVAC air filters regularly and replacing them every 2 to 3 months.

Seal air leaks.

Air leaks around doors and windows are one of the major sources of heat gain in homes. To seal these leaks, the DOE recommends homeowners to use caulk and weatherstripping. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that you can save an average of 11 percent on total energy costs by air sealing your home.

Keep your AC running efficiently.

Your air conditioner is the most important piece of equipment in your home during the hot season. Thus, make sure to give it proper care and attention. Do not forget to regularly check your AC for potential issues to prevent them from escalating. If you suspect any problem with the unit, call the attention of a qualified technician right away. Scheduling an AC repair is ideal in early spring as it would prepare the system for the long warm days of the year.

Avoid troubleshooting AC problems on your own and hire the service of licensed and skilled HVAC contractors. Letting the pros handle your cooling needs at home will get you fast and excellent results. Book a service now!