NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — With hot summer days now here, there is no better time to look at your home cooling system.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, two-thirds of all U.S. homes have air conditioners, and Americans spend $11-billion a year to power those machines.

Saving energy and cash can be as simple as replacing a dirty, clogged air filter with a clean one, CBS business analyst Jill Schlesinger explained. That tactic alone can reduce energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent.

“Where you place a unit is important. You want to avoid direct sunlight that reduces your efficiency, and ideally you put the unit in a shady spot,” Schlesinger explained.

Closing blinds and shades, and keeping lights turned off can also help.

Using a ceiling fan will allow homeowners to raise the thermostat setting by around 4 degrees. Insulating your attic and sealing cracks in walls will prevent warm air from leaking in, according to the government’s energy website. Insulating and sealing air ducts can account for about 30 percent of a cooling system’s energy consumption.

Schlesinger added that homeowners should keep their thermostats as high as is comfortably possible when they are at home.

“When you go away and out of the house, set it at 78 degrees. Every degree below 78 will use about 3 to 5 percent more energy, ” she said.

Other tips include; using a grill outside instead of using the oven indoors, or using a range hood while cooking inside to remove heat and humidity from your home.

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