If you have lived in Kansas City for any length of time, you know how hot August can be. Many people limit their outdoor activities to the early morning or late evening because of the heat. And your home’s air conditioning unit definitely gets a work out during the dog days of summer.

Keep your air conditioner from working so hard with these simple tips.

1. Keep the doors and windows closed.

Do you remember how mad your dad used to get when you left your bedroom window open when the AC was on during the summer? If you were like most teenagers, you probably rolled your eyes at your dad as you walked through the front door (leaving it wide open, too.)

Now that you are paying your own heating and cooling bill, you probably think of cash leaving your wallet every time you see an open window or door. We wish we could give you some advice on how to make your teens listen, but that is the topic for another blog. For now, patiently follow behind your teens and shut the doors and windows of your house. They’ll learn . . . someday.

2. Quit using your oven.

Using your oven during August is a recipe for higher cooling bills. We know that homemade chocolate chip cookies sound amazing, but instead, act like a typical midwesterner and eat ice cream or watermelon every night during August.

Your air conditioner is working hard to keep the 102-degree heat from infiltrating your home. Avoid cooking a frozen pizza in your oven for lunch to give your AC a break.

3. Use a room dehumidifier.

To give your air conditioning unit an extra boost, consider using a room dehumidifier. These units are small and portable. Purchasing a room dehumidifier at a home improvement store may keep your AC from working so hard.

4. Use drapes.

You may not have the funds to replace your windows and siding right now to make your home more efficient, but you can afford to go to your favorite home interior store to purchase heavy-duty drapes. It’s incredible how much of a difference insulating curtains can make to the temperature of a room. Cover the windows of all your home’s unoccupied rooms to keep your AC from turning on so often.

5. Use ceiling fans.

Use less power to cool your home by turning on your ceiling fan instead of lowering your thermostat. Ceiling fans help a lot!

6. Plant trees.

If that harsh midwestern sun blazing down on your home during the heat of the day? Give your home some shade, and plant some trees on the sunny side of your home.

7. Maintain Your AC

In addition to following all these steps, don’t forget to keep your AC in top-notch shape by scheduling regular maintenance with Schomburg Heating and Cooling. Our technicians will make sure your AC is working as efficiently as possible, but we need your help. Set a calendar reminder on your phone to change your air filters periodically.

But as far as getting your teenager to close the front door . . . you are on your own.