Within the next 30 years, the International Energy Agency estimates that space cooling energy needs will triple. As a result, since air conditioning creates abundant greenhouse gas emissions on a domestic and global level, making your personal air conditioning more efficient and cheaper is an idea that can benefit you and the planet.
Your air conditioner may be effective in cooling your home, but it is not always cost effective. There are many tips and techniques for reducing the load of your air conditioning system (whether central or room-based). In fact, many cooling techniques use little to no electricity and can help you stay comfortable indoors throughout the warmer months.
There are basically two types of efficiency measures available to homeowners: maintenance tips and external tweaks that help airflow. Both measures can reduce the load on your equipment and lower your energy bill.
An example of an external tweak is replacing your return air grill for approximately $12-15. It will make your air conditioner run much more efficiently.
With a prudent approach to cooling, some estimates note that you can save 30-40% of your cooling costs by adopting efficiency measures.
Air conditioning system management measures
Installing a programmable thermostat is a common and fairly inexpensive way to manage your cooling load. With a programmable thermostat, you can lower the set point during the day and ramp up gradually without creating sudden loads, particularly at peak electric rate hours. At night, you can dial-in the most comfortable temperature and make adjustments as necessary.
Furthermore, it is advised that you perform regular service if you have central air. Servicing your system typically costs $75-200, but the payback is relatively short – just a few months – and you will start to realize savings very quickly.
Additionally, an aspect of cooling that is tricky to manage is humidity. Generally, it is smart to turn up the fan level on drier days but to do the opposite on more humid days since the fan will disperse moist air throughout your home and place additional load on your system.
In very humid climates, it may make sense to install a separate dehumidifier. In hot months, maintaining a humidity level of approximately 50% is optimal for cooling purposes.
Other management measures
In addition to regular system updates and maintenance, you can make small adjustments throughout your house to help keep you cool and comfortable.
Since cool air sinks, allowing air to escape to the basement is a bad idea. To deter this, block air routes to the basement if you are using the AC. Retaining cooler air in the upper portion of your house can be effective, especially if you limit solar gain on hot days.
In fact, reducing passive solar gain with blinds, curtains and thermally efficient windows is essential on hot sunny days and for homes that receive abundant direct natural light.
Another simple and inexpensive way to retain cool air is with insulation. A properly insulated home ensures that cooled air remains longer in your home and does its job. Additionally, ensure that you do not block registers that allow fresh air into your home, unless it is excessively humid outside.
Furthermore, in the warmer months, experts recommend minimizing the use of appliances that generate a lot of heat, including ovens, dishwashers and dryers.
Depending on where you live and your climate region, even using landscape as your ally can be a big help for your air conditioning system. Planting shade trees strategically to mitigate the effect of the sun can dramatically reduce the load on your air conditioning and help keep money in your pocket.
First Centennial Mortgage provides all types of home loans, and we can inform you about the best loan for your needs. We hope you are keeping comfortable at home during the current situation, and we look forward to assisting you with your new home financing or refinancing needs. Contact us today to learn more.