7 On Your Side: 7 ways to save big bucks on your A/C bill

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Nina Pineda reports

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer, but it's not just the temperatures that begin to skyrocket.

Electric bills also surge too. We found 7 ways you can prep your home and save some cash this summer.

We scheduled a home tune-up with a service expert at two separate homes. One, which is for sale, got an A rating for efficiency.

Inspect windows and door seals to prevent hot air from leaking into your home. Gold Medal technician Mike Jackson checked manually and with a thermal camera.

"The window doesn't show up hot, that's exactly what you want," said Jackson.

If you find any cracks, cheap materials like caulk or tape will go a long way keep cool air from escaping.

One homeowner also already reversed her ceiling fans. Fans can reduce the room temp by about 4 degrees reducing the workload on your A/C.

Next change your air filter. Depending on the type, they should be replaced after 1-3 months of use. Dirty air filters reduce air flow and result in higher energy bills.

Now onto the outside of our home, clear debris clogging both storm drains and rain gutters.

"So that they can actually do their job and direct water away from the home," said Jackson.

Make sure you clear away debris from the AC condenser too, leaves and branches can build up and cause problem.

An efficient unit sounds smooth, doesn't run hot and has clear airflow intake. But a 17 year old unit at one home got an F for efficiency.

Not only does it uses an old refrigerant R-22, which is banned by the EPA after the year 2020, it's almost completely choked of air.

A coil cleaner can sometimes extend the life of your unit, but not in this case, the unit eventually overheated and stalled.

If your unit needs the R-22 replaced, think twice about it. It might not pay. The old coolant has actually doubled in price in the last 5 years. So if you need a repair, compare the price of replacing it versus the price to repair it.
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