Going Green with Your Air Conditioner in 5 Easy Steps (Guest Blog)
Depending upon where you live in the U.S., owning an air conditioner can be either a luxury or an absolute necessity. If you do have one of these wonderful devices in your home, you should be aware that they use more energy than most of your other appliances. But if you’re thinking about going green around your whole house, you should pay careful attention to how you use that HVAC system. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to be environmentally friendly in just a few steps.
Improve Cooling Capacity with Fans
Fans alone may not be enough to keep you cool in hot weather, but fans combined with an air conditioner that’s set on 85 might be. Because fans use so much less energy than the HVAC system this combination can help you reduce usage considerably. Invest in fans for each room of the house and situate them near the air conditioner vents to help circulate the cool air.
Turn Up the Temperature
Most people can be comfortable in a room where the air conditioner is set to 80. If this is not comfortable for you, reduce the temperature one degree at a time until you are. Each degree cooler uses approximately 3 to 5 percent more energy, so it is worth your time to find out how cool it truly needs to be.
When people are not home, make sure the HVAC system is turned either up or off. If it is really hot outside, 85 or even 90 degrees will feel fine while you are waiting for the system to return the temperature to 80. You can also start going green with the purchase of programmable thermostat. This device will turn on the system just before you are due to get home so that it can be off entirely while you are out all day.
Support Your Air Conditioner with “Cool Home” Features
Certain roofing materials can reflect the sun’s rays better than others. The result is a lower absorption of energy and a naturally-cooler house. If your roof needs repairs or repainting, consider available “cool roof” options. Choosing environmentally friendly products in your room with help keep your house going green.
Have your home and HVAC system inspected for leaky ducts. Consider having someone come out and assess your home’s insulation, as well. Energy loss through the roof and walls of the home can be considerable if the insulation is insufficient or the duct work is leaky. Closing up these spaces can help you save money in energy costs during the summer and winter.
Skip Cooling the Guest Bedroom
If you have rooms in your home that are not in use, simply close the vents that supply them. This is an easy way to start going green around the house. When you do this, though, you must be careful to ensure that there is no thermostat in those rooms. If the thermostat is located in a closed-off room, the air conditioner may run constantly in an attempt to cool that room despite the closed vents.
Don’t Skimp on Maintenance
It might seem like an easy thing to skip, but air conditioning repair is important to keeping your energy-efficient HVAC system working correctly. Having all scheduled maintenance done will ensure that the refrigerant level is appropriate, that the airflow is maintained at maximum, and that no other malfunctions are sucking energy. Having a low refrigerant level can cause an air conditioner to be as much as 20 percent less efficient than it should be, so it is not a trivial matter.
Through these environmentally friendly tips, going can help you save energy easily, which means you can then save money on your electricity bill.
Ryan Edun regularly contributes content to the Advice Interactive Group.