With summer comes unavoidable increases in our home energy bills as we add the air conditioner to the assortment of electronics and appliances we already use every day. Here are a few ways you can save substantial amounts of money while still keeping your home at the temperature you prefer.

1. Cooling efficiency: Home cooling accounts for about half of what we spend each month on energy. You can get much better results and impressive savings by installing a high-efficiency cooling system with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 15 or higher. Consider a solar assisted air conditioning unit.

2. Seal air and energy leaks: Locate and close up any holes, gaps or openings where conditioned air can escape your home. Line edges of doors and windows with weatherstripping and seal glass panes with silicone caulking. Check the ductwork in your air conditioning system; all segments should connect snugly together and be sealed with metal tape or mastic.

3. Shut off and unplug: Turn off energy-consuming devices when not in use, including lights, computers, televisions and appliances. Unplug computers and other electronics if you don’t expect to be using them soon. They will consume a small amount of electricity even if they’re not turned on.

4. Install a programmable thermostat: Use a programmable thermostat to control when and at what level your air conditioning system runs. For example, they let you set the air conditioner to run at a lower energy-saving level when everyone is out of the house during the day.

5. Install energy-efficient windows: Install Energy Star-certified windows with energy-saving features such as low-emittance (low-E) coatings and double-pane construction. These types of windows can reduce home energy bills by up to 25 percent.

6. Reduce hot water usage: Cut back on hot water consumption by using low-flow fixtures, cleaning only full loads of clothing or dishes and fixing hot-water leaks.

For 40 years, Acosta Heating & Cooling has offered expert heating and air conditioning services to customers in Charlotte and surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information on reducing summer energy consumption while still keeping your home cool and comfortable.