Even fully air conditioned homes can get hot and muggy during the hottest months of the year. If you’ve paid top dollar for cooling equipment, you want to get excellent value from this investment. The best way to do this is to learn how to use your new or existing system properly. Following are 6 tips for helping cool your house while using your air conditioner.

Make sure that all windows and doors leading to the property exterior are tightly closed. This is especially important if you have a large, busy household. If the home is not sealed off, the cold air that your unit produces will simply go outside. Worst of all, warm current will be constantly blowing in, thereby raising the indoor temperature level significantly.

It may even be beneficial to close off rooms that you aren’t using in the home, especially if you have a mini split system. This way, you won’t have to pay a lot of money to cool down spaces that no one is actually in. More importantly, there will be a lot less space that the unit has to cool before the home reaches the temperature that is recorded on the thermostat. This is also a great strategy for minimizing wear on your cooling system.

Use the right window treatments to block out the sunlight, particularly on the hottest days of the year. Heavier shades or blinds can do a good job cooling your home down all on their own. This is especially true when you take care to close them early on in the day. There are even reflective coverings that can be placed on the outside glass of each pane so that no heat from sunlight is absorbed into the home at all. Blocking out harmful UV rays with proper window treatments is also vital for keeping the skin protected while indoors.

If your window treatments are not sufficient for blocking out light and heat, you may find that its time to upgrade your windows or install new transition strips. If you have warm air entering the home underneath poorly cut doors or through unsealed or low-quality windows, your energy bills will be sky high. Not only will you pay more to cool down your home, but you’ll also be subjecting your AC unit to a lot of undue wear and tear.

Start running your unit early in the day, before the house heats up. Don’t wait until the temperature soars too high before adjusting your thermostat. Rather than turning the air conditioner on and off all day, set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature and then keep it there.

Have your air conditioning equipment serviced by licensed professionals at least once or twice each year. This promotes excellent indoor air quality. It also extends the lifetime of this equipment by eliminating trapped dirt, dust, debris and other particles that can cause different components to overwork, overheat or break down.

Talk with your providers about whether or not now is the right time to invest in home cooling equipment. You don’t want to wait until an older model breaks down entirely before investing in a new one. Moreover, a faulty or low-functioning machine will drive your energy costs up, create indoor humidity and air quality issues and diminish the overall comfort of household residents.