Summer is coming to an end with cooler temperatures on the horizon, but it is never too early to begin thinking about and planning for next summer and the heat that is will likely bring. As you prepare to keep your home warm this fall and winter, with the right foresight and planning you can keep your home at a comfortable temperature all year long, whether it is cold or hot outside. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for next year's summer and to help keep it warmer during the upcoming winter.

Complete AC Maintenance

Although its the end of summer and temperatures are beginning to cool down, it is important to complete an air conditioner tune-up on your unit to make sure all is ready for next summer. The best way to accomplish this is by hiring an air conditioner or HVAC professional to do a full inspection and cleaning tune-up on your air conditioner. During the inspection, they will check and clean areas, such as electrical components, condenser coils, and compressors, and they will check condensate drains. During this tune-up, they will also repair and replace any areas needing attention.

Talk to your air conditioner service specialist about signing up for a tune-up service agreement, which covers the cost of annual tune-ups for your air conditioner and furnace and can help you handle any unexpected repairs that occur during the season. Buying a service agreement contract also puts you on a priority list so if your air conditioner, for example, goes out in July, you don't have to wait for an appointment with a technician to repair the problem; you instead get immediate service.

The end of summer and fall are also a good time to clean up around your air conditioner's outside condenser unit. Rake up any leaves and other debris that may have collected around your compressor. Also, trim back any shrubbery or other vegetation that may have grown up around the compressor. You want the compressor to have enough clearance for air to flow around it. It is recommended to leave at least two to three feet of clearance between your air conditioner and any vegetation.

Reach out to an air conditioning maintenance service for more info.

Plant Yard Landscaping and Vegetation

Before the end of fall, you have plenty of time to plant some beneficial trees around your home and yard to help promote your home's energy efficiency for upcoming winters and summers. By planting evergreen or coniferous trees around the north end of your home, trees which keep their needles all winter, they will provide a windbreak to your home during winter storms and can help keep your home warmer against the storms.

You can similarly plant deciduous trees along the south and south-western side of your home to provide shade to your home and yard during the summer. These trees will block the sun's rays from falling on your roof, home exterior, pavement, and yard. This can effectively lower the temperature in your yard and keep your home interior cooler. During the winter, deciduous trees will lose their leaves to allow the sunlight to come into your home and warm it through solar heat gain.

Planting trees around your home can affect your home interior temperature by reducing your energy needs and saving you money. By planting one tree you can save an estimated three percent on your home's energy bill over the next five years.

Get a Home Insulation Audit

To make sure your home's insulation is adequate to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you can hire a professional for an energy audit. During this inspection, an insulation specialist can check your home's attic insulation to make sure it is installed properly and at a high enough R-value for your climate to keep your home interior comfortable.

Over time, rolled batting style insulation in your attic and walls can shift and leaves gaps that allow heat transfer and reduced comfort, resulting in higher energy bills. If any areas of your home's insulation are found to be lacking, the insulation professional can add to the insulation to keep you comfortable.