Here we are in mid-August, with summer in full-swing. It’s hot, it’s dry, and if your air conditioner isn’t running efficiently, it could be costing you an arm and a leg. When you’re showing your home, you want the temperature to be just right; and that means making sure that the air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible. If your home isn’t as cool as it should be, or your electric bill is astronomical, taking the following steps before you call the technician may save you time, money and headache.

If your air conditioning unit is on the ground, take a look and make sure that there’s nothing around it that could be obstructing the air flow. You want to keep an area of at least 2’ on every side clear of debris, leaves, plants, etc. All of these things can easily block the intake and force your machine to work harder and burn more power.

Next, if the machine is running, turn it off and take a look at the fan. Are any of the fins bent? If so, the fan isn’t performing optimally. If you feel safe, you can take the screen off and remove the fan to put any bent fins back into their original position. If you do this, ensure that the power is off (at the breaker, not just on the machine) so you don’t get hurt. If you don’t feel safe, a technician can always do this for you.

While you’ve got the unit open, clean out any leaves, twigs and other debris that may be in the machine. You want the air to flow as freely as possible, and having free-floating junk in there can easily block airflow openings.

Last, take a look at all of the vents and ducts that are clearly visible leading from your AC. You want to check for cracks, holes or any other fissure that can easily be seen. If you find any, seal them up with heat graded foil tape (despite the name, duct tape doesn’t do the job as well). Covering up holes will ensure the air gets to the rooms you want and doesn’t get vented into a wall or the basement.