As warm weather is taking over in most parts of the country, people’s minds are turning to their AC units. If you haven’t started using yours yet, chances are that you have at least considered it. However, before you start blasting cool air into your home, have you done everything you should before the cooling season starts in earnest?

Most people think that they know everything they need to know about cooling their homes, but more often than not, their knowledge is patchy or lacking. Here are a few of the most important things you need to do in order to have a cool home and to have your AC last for a long time.

Have Your AC Inspected Annually

Air conditioners are a complicated machinery which needs to be regularly maintained in order to keep it in top condition. Most people choose to have their annual inspection right before the cooling season begins, but you should know that the waiting period in that case may be a bit longer, since AC technicians are most busy at that time.

However, starting your AC without previously inspecting it may not be the best idea. After several months of inactivity, some parts of your AC may be damaged or dirty, or your refrigerant may be low. Help your AC unit last as long as possible by adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Change or Wash the Filters Often

This is one of those things which most AC owners know they should do, but most aren’t exactly sure why. Air filters have a dual purpose. The first and the most important is protecting the sensitive machinery inside the AC from dust and other particles which can damage it. However, most people are more interested in the fact that that same air filter removes those same particles, as well as pollen and other allergens from the air that we breathe.

However, in order to keep its properties, the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced roughly once a month when it is used regularly.

Set Your Thermostat Properly

There’s more to setting the right air quality in your home than selecting a certain temperature you want. Modern AC units have a whole range of settings, including humidity and timer settings. What’s more, most newer units have, or can have, smart thermostats, devices which are connected to the internet and can be controlled via your phone or computer.

That can make cooling down your house while you are away much more economical. Simply turn on the AC half an hour before you are expected to return, and you will return to a cool house without the need to have the AC run all day.

Where Is Your Thermostat?

Speaking of thermostats, where is yours installed? You may not have thought about it, but the positioning of the thermostat can determine when and how often your AC fires up. Essentially, your thermostat measures the temperature of the room and turns on the AC if the temperature goes up too much, and it only stops when the air reaches the desired temperature.

However, if you put your thermostat in a place where it will be in direct exposure to the sun, chances are that your AC will turn on more often for no noticeable reason. Similarly, if you put it just under the vent, it will measure the cool air coming out of the vent and assume that the whole room is that temperature and shut off the cooling. It would be ideal if you placed the thermostat near to where you spend the majority of your time.

Use Fans More

The use of air conditioning is so ingrained into our way of life that we sometimes forget that people used to live just fine without air conditioning. Our first instinct when we feel a bit hot is to turn on the AC. However, that may not be necessary. Fans, including ceiling fans, can provide respite from the warmth to a certain degree.

So, before you reach for that AC remote, consider other options. Not only will it reduce your electricity bill, you will help save the planet by wasting less electricity. Furthermore, in the depths of summer when temperatures become truly unbearable, fans can help your AC function better. Make the fan rotate counter-clockwise to promote better air flow.

We all want to be comfortable during the hot part of the year, which is why we use the AC. However, with a few tips and tricks, you can reduce your electricity bill without compromising your comfort levels.