COPY-Tips on how to save on your electric bill as the temperatures rise

Lawton_After weeks of rain and cooler weather than we're used to, the summer heat has finally arrived.  Even though we haven't reached the 100-degree mark, it's time to make sure your home is ready for it.  That means getting your air conditioner up to snuff.  It's one of the largest appliances in the home and these rising temperatures make it harder to cool your home.

And they make it more expensive, too.  Seven news found out how you can keep your home cooler and save energy this summer.

Be sure to get it serviced, twice a year if you can, before you have problems. An expert can come out for usually under a hundred dollars so you don't have to spend thousands getting a completely new system.  One of the worst things to come home to in summer is a broken air conditioner.

"A lot of times we'll get into the mid-summer, what we find is a lot of air conditioning systems that haven't been serviced and cleaned start failing," Davis Air Conditioning Vice President Scott McMurran said.  McMurren also said their service call numbers go up as the temperatures do.

"Checking the charge is real critical in the summer months, especially when the outdoor temperature gets above 100..."  Air Conditioner Technician Justin Noble means the level of coolant in the unit.  It's got to be just right to work at its peak.  But, Noble says there are things you can do to keep your house cooler and your a/c unit from working so hard:

Keep your drapes and blinds pulled to keep out sunlight.

Turn off lights you don't need.

Clean the outside condensing unit with a water hose twice a year. But--and here's a big but-- be sure to cut the power first.

Change your filters often, every month if possible.  And, each time you change your filters mark the date on the filter itself, so you can more easily keep track of how often they've been changed.

When you leave the house for the day, turn up the thermostat three to five degrees, so the a/c unit won't have to work so hard, and you'll even save money on your electric bill.

Finally, make sure the grass and weeds are cut down.  "Now if this was to grow up into the condensing coil, it actually going to block the condenser, which would make it draw high amps, and when it draws high amps, it makes your utility bill go sky high - through the roof," Noble said.

But, McMurran said most of all, have a professional service your air conditioner.  "Similar to a car engine, if you never change the oil, the life of that car engine is going to be much shorter. Air conditioning system is the same," McMurren said.