Article Courtesy of: ASHRAE
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.