Summer is in full swing, and 90° days are the norm for Chicago residents. With that kind of heat, it’s no wonder A/C units all over the city are working overtime, and electricity bills are at their highest. If you want to cut down on your A/C-inflated utility bill, follow these five steps:

1. Keep the shades closed.

Direct sunlight accounts for a lot of the heat generated in your home, so keeping it out will help keep your home cooler. If you like the shades open, consider investing in solar screens or window films, both of which cut down on the amount of solar energy that comes in but remain transparent.

2. Turn the A/C down when you’re out.

There’s no reason for your A/C to keep running when you’re out of the house, so set your thermostat warmer to save some energy.

3. Utilize fans.

Ceiling fans and portable fans circulate air around your home, making it feel significantly cooler without the help of the A/C. They’re also much more energy efficient than the A/C.

4. Replace the A/C filter.

A new, clean filter will make it easier for air to circulate, allowing your A/C unit to work less hard to keep the temperature down, resulting in further savings.

5. Upgrade your A/C unit.

We don’t recommend replacing a well-functioning unit, but if your A/C is old and on its way out, keep in mind that a new, energy efficient unit can save you up to half of your current energy costs. Knowing that, you might want to upgrade sooner rather than later since the new unit will effectively pay for itself through savings.

Following these five easy steps should allow you to eliminate a significant chunk of your A/C power usage and lower your energy bill this summer.

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