Running your A/C in the summer can be a real drain on energy and your pocketbook. Here are some tips that will help you save on both fronts without having to compromise comfort.

1. Don’t create heat inside the house. If you can cook outside on the BBQ, do it! You only have so many months to soak up the sun anyway, and it keeps us from using the stove inside.

2. Use your ceiling fans in summer, your ceiling fans should run counter-clockwise. This forces air downward, providing a cooling breeze effect. The temperature doesn’t actually change, but the breeze helps your body move heat out.

3. Plant some shade trees around the house. Some of the best shade trees to consider include: hybrid poplars, red maples, willow trees, and eastern white pines.

4. If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, a smart purchase in the next few years will be a new air conditioner. You could also look into insting ductless air conditioners if you live in an older home where ducts don’t make sense.

6. Make sure that your ducts are sealed well, and insulate the ducts running through unheated basements, crawl spaces, etc…

7. Don’t forget about maintenance. The moving parts of your air conditioner wear down, fluid levels drop and (unfortunately, but realisticy) problems develop through the year. Professional maintenance in regular intervals will keep your air conditioner running cleanly and efficiently.