Your central air conditioning system costs you more money and uses more energy than any other system in your home. Typically, 44% to 50% of your utility bills pays for heating and cooling your home.
Regardless of the type of home comfort systems you have in your house, you can save money and increase comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your air conditioning equipment.
Keep in mind that an energy-efficient air conditioner alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using an approach that involves the entire house. If you combine proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization and thermostat settings, you can reduce your energy bills by up to 50%.
General Home Cooling Tips
- Use house fans. House fans help cool your home by circulating cool air throughout the house. They are most effective when the outside air temperature is cooler than the inside and when operated at night.
- An attic fan can blow away hot air that accumulates in the attic. This can go a long way to help the efficiency of your air conditioning system.
- Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible. By maintaining a minimum difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, you’ll lower your overall cooling bill.
- Set the fan speed on high, except in humid weather. When it’s humid, set the fan speed on low.
- Consider ceiling fans to help spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
- Keep lamps and TV sets away from your air conditioning thermostat.
- Shade air-conditioning units by planting trees or shrubs, but make sure you do not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses up to 10% less electricity than one operating in the sun.
- Close shades or drapes on east, south, and west-facing windows during the hours when the sun’s intensity is at its peak. Open drapes and windows during early morning and overnight hours when the air outside the home is cooler.
- Turn off the air conditioner if the house (or air-conditioned rooms) will be unoccupied for an extended period. Use a programmable thermostat to turn air off and on automatically when you know the house will be unoccupied.
- A central AC system is more efficient than multiple window units.
- A single duct work leak can cost your system over 20% energy efficiency. We can stop the leaks in your energy budget and save you money.
Here’s an important tip: When it’s hot out, turn on the air conditioner and set it to a cool temperature. Do NOT set the thermostat to a lower temperature than normal. This will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and unnecessary high utility bills.
These simple steps can substantially improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Take a Holistic Approach to Home Energy Conservation
For maximum in total home comfort and energy savings, step back and look at the big picture of energy consumption in your home. Your total home comfort and efficiency is the product of many systems: heating, cooling, lighting and electrical working together. It’s the interplay between these systems, combined with the size, age, physical features and location of your home, and even your lifestyle, that combine to produce the total energy efficiency of your home.
Changing or upgrading one system without considering the other factors will usually result in some improvement but may not deliver the maximum possible benefit.
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
The place to begin when evaluating your home’s overall energy efficiency and deciding how to reduce consumption and costs is with a Home Energy Audit. This takes into consideration much more than just your heating and cooling systems, and will give you a benchmark from which to make decisions and measure your energy saving progress.
Here are some of the heating and cooling factors your energy audit should take into consideration:
- Insulation in walls, floors, and attic.
- Vapor Barriers in walls
- Quality of Windows — Single or double pane
- Heat loss around doors and windows
- Quality of insulation in doors
- Integrity of ductwork — Any leaks
- Cleanliness of ductwork
- Use of “passive” solar energy
- Use of drapes and other window coverings to prevent heat loss
- Efficiency of heating and cooling systems — Condition of filters, etc.
If you’re building a new home, or considering a major remodel or system upgrade, consider an Integrated Systems approach. It may cost a little more now, but will undoubtedly save you a bundle over time. Our skilled technicians will look at the big picture when designing a solution for your home. Call us now for a FREE, no-obligation Systems Evaluation and estimate today.