As the weather starts to warm in much of the country, HVAC market association the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute is reminding homeowners to prepare for the cooling season.

"Heating and cooling is the single biggest energy consumer in a home, and accounts for about 65 percent of all the energy used by homeowners," said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek. "That's why taking steps to ensure your units are running as efficiently as possible can help offset cooling costs this summer."

The group of HVAC market manufacturers suggested homeowners change their air filters, clear debris from the outside condenser ensure air vents are not obstructed.

The AHRI also recommended a checkup from a qualified contractor that specializes in HVAC sales and service.

"With proper maintenance, central air conditioning and heat pump units should last at least 12 to 15 years," said Yurek. "Homeowners need to regularly service their heating and cooling equipment to keep them running smoothly. Spring is a great time to think about getting service before hot weather arrives and the rush for maintenance is in full swing,"