Energy Savers Series : Tip 4 Cooling
There are a variety of changes you can make to improve the energy efficiency of your home's cooling system, from simple maintenance to system replacement. Some of these you can do on your own; for others, you may need to hire an HVAC contractor.
Here are some areas where you can make improvements to increase the energy efficiency and lifespan of your heating and cooling equipment.
Have an Annual Air Conditioner Tune-Up
Having an annual air conditioner tune-up will keep your cooling system running at peak efficiency while also identifying any malfunctions that can cause costly breakdowns during peak use. You'll have the peace of mind knowing your air conditioner is operating safely and efficiently all summer long.
Change Your Air Filter
This simply act makes a big difference. Changing your air filter frequently will not only keep the air in your home cleaner, it will extend the life of your HVAC system by making it run more efficiently and under less load. If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months.
Keep Your Air Ducts Properly Sealed
Forced-air heating and cooling systems rely on ducts to efficiently distribute air throughout the home. Unfortunately, we often see that homes are losing an average of 20% of the air that moves through the duct system due to holes and poorly attached ducts. This leads to higher utility bills and a forced air system that just can keep the temperature comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
Sealing leaks and insulating ducts will not only make your heating and cooling equipment more efficiently it will reduce the risk of CO poisoning. Leaky ductwork in your heating and cooling system can cause “backdrafting” where exhaust gases from water heaters, gas dryers and other appliances are drawn back into the living space, rather than expelled to the outdoors. Sealing leaks can minimize this risk. A qualified HVAC contractor can evaluate your home's air delivery system and make necessary improvements.
Clean Your Air Ducts
Over time, your home's air ducts will accumulate dust and debris. This will not only make the air your family breathes less healthy, it can also reduce the efficiency of your furnace and air conditioner. A professional duct cleaning will remove this debris, allowing your HVAC system, and your family, to breathe easier.
Install a Ceiling Fan
Installing a ceiling fan will not only help your home feel cooler, allowing you to run your AC less frequently, but will help your air conditioner do its job by circulating the cool air to the warmer areas of your home. Newer ceiling fans are highly efficient and include conveniences like a remote control with speed selector.
Upgrade to an ENERGY STAR Air Conditioner
If you are planning to replace your current air conditioner, there are a variety of cooling systems that you can choose from, and many are ENERGY STAR® qualified units specifically designed for energy efficiency. When making your choice, you should take into account your current system and the size of your home.
While replacing your current cooling system will cost more than the maintenance options listed above, depending on the age of your current system, lower long-term energy bills can make up the difference―saving you money in the long run.
Learn more about ENERGY STAR at: http://www.energystar.gov/