Although it is only April, summer is fast approaching and it is time to evaluate your home’s Air Conditioning. Energy efficient cooling is not only cost-effective, but it will help reduce your overall energy consumption and protect the environment. Since April is Earth Month, take a few minutes to consider ways you can help cool your home this summer and increase your system’s energy efficiency:
1. Shade the AC Unit
Although planting trees around your home today will not help keep it cool this summer, you may be able to help shade your outdoor air conditioning unit. Units that sit in the sun take in excess heat and work much harder than necessary in an attempt to cool down air before delivering it to your home. If possible, add a couple of small trees or some shrubbery near your outside A/C unit to help keep it from working overtime.
2. Understand Your Thermostat
Many homeowners turn off their air conditioner while they are gone during the day, then turn it all the way down once they arrive back home in an attempt to cool things down faster. There are two problems with this cooling method. First, turning off your ac completely during the day may allow your home to overheat. Keep in mind that most A/C units can only cool a home about 20 degrees, so your unit will struggle to cool down a home exposed to very high temperatures. To avoid this, either keep the air conditioning running at a higher temperature or open windows and utilize window and ceiling fans to get air moving through cross-ventilation.
The second problem with the aforementioned scenario is the expectation that setting a thermostat to a very low temperature will help your home cool down faster. This is not the case, as your unit can only cool your home so quickly. Setting it to a very low temperature will simply cause overworking and consume more energy.
3. Schedule a Home Energy Audit
A thorough home energy audit will identify any problem areas of your home that contribute to energy loss or leakage. The auditor will particularly focus on leaks around fixtures, outlets, windows, and doors, as air leaks are a primary cause of energy loss. Proper air sealing will dramatically improve your HVAC efficiency.
4. Utilize Ceiling and Floor Fans
Sometimes, energy efficient cooling is as simple as turning on a fan. To help cool your home, close any window shades and blinds that face the sun and run your ceiling fans in a counter-clockwise direction during the summer. This will help pull air straight down and keep it circulating. You can also invest in floor or box fans to help cool off rooms that are large or on higher floors of your home. Many modern fan models are much quieter and energy efficient than standard models, so test different types in-store and see what you like.