Improve Energy Efficiency in Your Home: Cooling Systems
Select energy-efficient equipment when buying heating and cooling equipment.
Your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models and designs to help compare energy usage.
Look for high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), high annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings and heating seasonal performance factors(HSPF).
The national minimums are 13 SEER for air conditioners and 78 percent AFUE for furnaces.
Central air conditioners with SEERs of 16 and above are available.
Set thermostats at 76°F (24°C) or above when the house is occupied during the day and a few degrees higher at night.
Programmable thermostats can change temperatures automatically and easily. They are in expensive, reliable and easy to install.
Installing ceiling fans allows occupants to set the thermostat higher thus reducing the time the air conditioner is on.
Natural ventilation in arid or temperate climates is an effective energy saver.
Windows should be opened and closed to take advantage of the upward movement of warm air and cross ventilation of the room, especially at night.
Have air ducts checked for leaks. Look forsections that should be joined but have separated and also for holes.
If you use duct tape to repair and seal your ducts, use tape with theUnderwriter’s Lab logo so it doesn’t degrade, crack or lose its bond with age.
Make sure vents are not obstructed by furniture, appliances or other objects so that air can flow freely.
This maximizes efficiency of the system and helps distribute cool air throughout the room.
Clean or change furnace filters once a month or two, and have the system maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Dirty filters, coils and fans reduce airflow throughout the system, which decreases performance and can damage your system.
Adding insulation to your attic is the easiest and least expensive way to cool your home.
Insulation can be blown into wall cavities, especially in older homes with little wall insulation.
If siding is to be replaced, take the opportunity to add a layer of exterior insulation.
Remember that insulating ducts in the basement will make the basement colder in the winter and warmer in the summer.
If both the ducts and the basement walls are uninsulated, consider insulating both.
Shading from overhangs, awnings, exterior shades, shade screens and bushes and trees can reduce unwanted heat gain to the house, especially on east and west windows.
Use window draperies or shades to your advantage.
In hot climates close the drapes or shades on the east, south and west windows during the day to prevent the sun’s energy from heating the room unnecessarily.
The shade or drapery material should be reflective on the side facing the window.
Use kitchen, bath and other ventilating fans wisely. In just one hour, these fans can pull out a houseful of cooled air.
During the summer, fans often bring in excessive moisture. You may want to install a timer switch instead of a manual switch to limit the unnecessary operation of an exhaust fan.