Part of the reason you live in Florida is because you want to enjoy the natural wonders around you. You love the greenery that grows naturally in your backyard, and your family enjoys regular trips to the beach. You do everything you can to protect the environment.

But did you know that your AC unit can contribute to your environmental footprint? Studies suggest that 50%of your home’s energy gets consumed by your HVAC appliances. Imagine what a difference you could make to the environment (and to your energy bill) if you could reduce your energy consumption.

Before you toss your AC unit out the window, read the following suggestions. We’ll help you find a way to make your current HVAC system as effective as possible so you can rest assured that you’re doing what’s best for the environment without taking drastic action.

Read on for eight ways you can make your home more energy efficient.

  • Invest in Floor Coverings
When you have bare floors, you create holes through which cool air can escape. To insulate your interior for maximum coolness, get carpet or large rugs in your living areas.

  • Decrease Your Temperature Gradually
When you set your thermostat to 20 degrees below the outdoor temperature, you cause your AC unit to go into overdrive. To conserve your air conditioner’s startup energy, decrease your home’s temperature slowly over a few hours. You may find that you can sit comfortably inside your home at a higher temperature than you previously thought.

  • Make Sure All Air Vents and Ducts Stay Open
Your AC unit uses air ducts to draw in air from your home, then expels the cooled air throughout your home using air vents. To create optimal air flow within your home, avoid placing objects right next to the vents or ducts. You could obstruct your air conditioner’s access to air and cause it to short and waste extra energy.

  • Let Your AC Unit Rest While You’re Away
Set your air conditioner’s temperature to the mid-70s when you plan to stay inside all day. In fact, Energy Star recommends that you keep your home’s temperature at 78 degrees or higher. But when you run errands or go to work, you can increase the temperature slightly and give your air conditioner a break.

You can also reduce energy by turning up the temperature while everyone sleeps. You won’t feel a significant difference during the night, but you’ll wake up happy to know that you’ve done your part to conserve the environment. Changing the temperature when your family is out of the house will also save you significant money on your energy bill.

  • Insulate Your House Against the Heat
Any opening in windows, walls, or ceilings allows hot air to weasel its way into your home. To keep the heat out and reduce the amount of work your AC unit has to do, seal your home during the summer months.

You can ask your contractor for ways to make your roof reflective so it doesn’t absorb as much heat. For windows and doors, make sure they seal properly against the frames. You can also put window coverings inside or outside your home to block sunlight before it heats up your living space. Light-colored blinds and shutters will reflect light back into nature, while dark colors will absorb the heat energy.

  • Schedule Regular Cleanings for Your Air Filters
Experts recommend that you clean your air filters on a monthly basis to keep your AC unit in prime condition. Clear filters help your air conditioner cool all the rooms of your house evenly. They also keep allergens and dust mites out of your air vents.

When you regularly clean your filters, your AC unit will work more efficiently without using additional energy. You won’t have to lower your thermostat or pay a higher energy bill to enjoy clean, cool air.

  • Only Cool the Rooms You Actually Use
If you have multiple AC units for different areas of your house, make sure you only pay to cool the rooms you plan to use. If you only entertain house guests during the winter holidays, seal up your extra bedroom and move your air conditioner into a different space.

Basement areas are usually insulated against the heat more than above-ground rooms, so consider changing the thermostat for areas that require less cooling. When you cool only the most-used areas in your home, you’ll save money and energy.

  • Choose Energy-Saving Brands
The next time you need to replace your AC unit, do your homework. Research energy-efficient models online, or ask your HVAC professionals for suggestions. Most AC specialists can provide you with a factsheet for new environmentally-friendly models.

Regardless of your budget or your current cooling system, you can take action today to reduce your impact on the environment-without sacrificing your comfort. For more information about ways that your AC unit can become more efficient in your home, consult an HVAC specialist.