I am dreading going to the mailbox in the next week or so. That's because in the next week or so I will receive a bill from the people who provide electrical service to my home. I am dreading just how much I am going to have to pay for power because I have grown accustomed to staying cool in my home.

That's why I started investigating some different ways we could be comfortable in the house and still be able to afford little incidentals like food, clothing, and gas for our cars. Here's what I've discovered after perusing several websites that offer such information.

The first tip almost every website and almost every HVAC service professional I have ever come in contact with is this. Change the filter on your air conditioner. If you can't recall when you last changed it, then it's time to change it again. That clogged up filter can cause your A/C unit to work harder and use more power than it really should. This will also enhance the life of your A/C system too.

Another prominent tip I noticed was actually a no-brainer. Keep the sun out. You can do that by closing blinds and drapes especially on windows that have a southern or western exposure. Even if those windows are thermal rated you could be allowing a lot of the sun's heat into your home that you could block if you just closed the curtains.

Make sure your ceiling fan is turned on and is rotating the proper direction to maximize cooling in your home. Fans not only bring a bit of a breeze to a room but they circulate the cooler air with warmer air that's trapped near the ceiling. This mixing of air gives a more palatable comfort level for your home.

Set your thermostat higher than you might normally set it. There's a saying in the HVAC business, "the lower you go, the more money you blow". HVAC professionals will tell you that a system operating at high efficiency will have difficulty cooling a room more than 20 degrees below the outside ambient temperature. That means if it's 90 outside your A/C is busting it to keep your house at 70.

Another tip to make the more occupied rooms of your home feel cooler is to close down the vents, not entirely though, in rooms that are unoccupied most of the time. You should also close the doors to those rooms and make sure the curtains and blinds are closed too for maximum cooling.

Following this advice will help save you a few bucks off your power bill next month and hopefully keep you cooler during this heat wave too.