Summer may mean beach time, picnics and swimming pools, but it’s also the time when your air conditioner works the hardest, especially if you live in Texas.

To help you stay cooler when it’s hot, hot, hot outside, Stark Services offers these tips:

  1. Shade your air conditioner condenser (the unit outside your house) with shrubs, trees or lattice fencing. Be sure to leave plenty of room for the unit to be serviced and for air to freely circulate.
  2. Change your air filters monthly. Dirty filters block normal airflow and significantly reduce an air conditioning system’s efficiency.
  3. Get your air conditioning and heating system maintained regularly. This means once a year in the spring for the air conditioning system and once in the fall for the heating system
  4. Close window coverings during the day on the south and west side of the house, especially in the afternoon when the sun is hottest. This prevents the sun from heating up furnishings, floors and walls inside your home.
  5. Avoid creating more heat inside your home by running the dishwasher, dryer and oven in the early morning or late evening.
  6. Try cooling down with a cold shower rather than turning down the thermostat.
  7. Consider installing more or better roof vents and attic fans to release hot air from the attic.
  8. Install awnings or plant trees to shade the south and west sides of your house.
  9. Install ceiling fans. Moving air can feel up to 4 degrees cooler than still air.
  10. Get an inspection of your duct system. Leaky ducts reduce the effectiveness of your air conditioner.
  11. Check the weather strip on your doors and windows. Weather stripping is inexpensive, easy to install and prevents cool air escaping to the outside.

If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, consider buying a new, more efficient system. New systems, particularly Energy Star-qualified air conditioners, are 25% more efficient and cost significantly less to operate when properly sized and installed.