With summer temperatures reaching record highs in many parts of the country, it's a good time to appreciate your home's HVAC system and also the perfect time to do what you can to increase your system's energy efficiency to keep it running better for longer. Many residents are wondering if there are simple ways to increase the energy efficiency of an HVAC system without spending a lot of money. Fortunately, the answer is yes. Here are six easy ways to increase your residential HVAC system's efficiency.  

Regular Service

The best thing you can do to keep your system running regularly is to ensure that it's getting regular service by a trained professional. Something as mundane as a dirty sensor can cause major problems that are easily fixed with a simple cleaning. Make sure you're scheduling regular professional residential HVAC service. Experts recommend a professional service at least once a year in order to keep your system functioning at peak efficiency. But make sure you schedule your service before the peak season because you'll find it difficult to schedule a service quickly if your system breaks down during the hottest week of July when air conditioning repair techs are at their busiest. The best time is early spring.  

Programmable Controls

Some homeowners resist thermostat presets because they like to be able to control their thermostat temperature at a moment's notice. However, it's important to understand that thermostat presets can save you as much as 10% annually on heating and cooling bills by programming the thermostat to 7 to 10 degrees higher in the summer, especially when no one is home. That's a significant amount of savings annually.

Clean Ducts

Another easy way to improve the efficiency of your air conditioner is by ensuring that your ducts and vents are clean and free of dust and debris. When your HVAC is working, it's easy to forget about it and continue on with your day without considering how often the unit is being triggered. When you have dirty return air vents or ducts, it might be turning on more than necessary. Check your return air vents for caked dust and clean them thoroughly. You can also hire professionals to affordably clean your ducts.  

Use Your Curtains

If you have curtains in the house, use them. While it does feel cheerful to have light streaming into your windows during the day, it also increases the temperature of your home. If you're able to, consider keeping blinds and curtains closed during the hottest part of the day. If you can afford it, consider installing black-out curtains or even thermal curtains so you can more easily block out unnecessary heat, especially if you're not home during the hottest part of the day.  

Avoid the Dryer and Oven

During the hottest months of summer, consider running your oven and dryer only in the morning and evening when temperatures are cool. When your HVAC system has to compete with the hot sun and the appliances that are actively making your house warmer, it has to work extra hard to cool your home to your set temperature. It draws more power, costs you more money, and puts a strain on your system.  

Use Fans

Another easy way to help your HVAC run more efficiently is to use ceiling fans or oscillating fans if you have them. The fans will help circulate the air through your home more efficiently, keeping the temperature in the home more consistent. When that happens, your HVAC system is triggered less frequently. Since fans draw less power than your HVAC system, you'll save money in the long run too.