With the first few 80°F days under our belt, it’s evident that summer weather is closer than we think. Already, homeowners are running their air conditioners. The following tips will help you keep your air conditioner running as efficiently as possible—and will reduce the amount of time it spends running.
Incorporating these tips into your life will also help you live a more green lifestyle, which seems to be a popular topic of conversation lately. Whether you’re trying to conserve energy or grow your own vegetables, adopting a green lifestyle is healthier for the planet. The American Council for an Energy-efficient Economy offers these suggestions on reducing our need for air conditioning.
- Insulate and tighten your house. The council emphasizes the importance of preventing heat from getting into your house by improving your insulation and checking for air leaks. Be sure to check the seals on your doors and windows and check the attic—an area especially prone to leaks.
- Replace inefficient appliances when possible. This may not seem like a big offender, but old, inefficient appliances such as refrigerators give off a lot of heat. Unplug electronic equipment when not in use and replace your incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents.
- Think “cool” when reroofing and repainting your home’s exterior. When it comes time to roof or paint the exterior of your home, use light colored roofing and siding materials. The Council says that doing this can reduce your peak cooling demand by 10-15%.
- Be sure you have your heating and cooling unit serviced by an air conditioning service. It’s important that you maintain your unit to keep it functioning at peak performance.
- Find natural shade for your windows. The object is to keep high-angle summer sun out and allow low-angle winter sun in. To that end, try putting horizontal trellises outside your east- and west-facing windows to block the summer sun and protect south facing windows with deciduous trees or climbing foliage so that you can take advantage of the winter sun when they lose their leaves in the fall.
- Cool your home with fans and ventilation. Running a fan takes less energy than an air conditioner and may be sufficient unless you live in an area with high humidity.
If you have any doubts about the efficiency or quality of your air conditioning unit, call one of the air conditioning contractors in your area for an inspection. Practicing the above tips will help you on your way to living a green lifestyle while saving you a few dollars in the process.