Angie's List: Staying cool and saving money this summer

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It won't be long before summer is here and your air conditioner will be running full time. Just because it worked before doesn't mean it will pick up where it left off last fall, and our partners at Angie's List have advice on what you can do now to make sure you keep cool this summer.

It takes a lot of energy to keep you house warm in the winter and cool in the summer; 50% of your utility bill. Angie Hicks, owner of Angie's List, said that's a good reason to keep your furnaces and air conditioners running at top efficiency.

"Changing the filter on your furnace or air conditioner is one of the simplest things you can do. Just remember to check it every month when you pay your utility bill."

Hicks said that's just the beginning. Experts say calling out a technician once a year will pay for itself in the long run, but you can't just get a pro to check out your system at the beginning of the season and forget it.

"For a typical tune up on your air conditioner, it's probably going to cost around $70 and $100. But also keep in mind, many companies do offer maintenance plans that might offer it at a little lower price by signing up for a whole year," said Hicks.

Keeping your system running efficiently takes a little effort on your part too. Resetting the thermostat before you leave the house in the morning can save you 8% on your energy bill per degree. Turning it up 5-degrees and you can save as much as 15% on your daily bill.

If you tend to forget, you may want to invest in a programmable thermostat.  Hicks says this upgrade will pay for itself.

Also, try to create a shade zone around your air conditioner, that will help it be more efficient.

It all starts with a tune-up, which experts say is a good investment. Keeping your home cool is the goal for summer. Saving a few dollars while doing it can be cool too.