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Air Conditioning - How to Save Energy
Energy-Efficient Cooling Tips
A typical home uses 250-1000 kiloWatt-hours per year for air conditioning in one room. To become more energy efficient with air conditioning throughout your home, follow these tips:
- Set your thermostat to 78° F, or as high as comfort permits. When the weather is mild, turn off the AC and open the windows.
- Close your blinds and curtains during the hottest part of the day.
- Close cooling vents in unused rooms and keep doors to unused rooms closed.
- Check and clean or replace air filters every month.
- Clean the outside condenser coil once a year.
- Reduce your usage by 10-20 percent by caulking and weather-stripping your doors and windows.
- Insulate your house.
- Schedule periodic maintenance of cooling equipment by a licensed service representative.
- Attics must be ventilated to relieve heat buildup caused by the sun. If necessary, improve attic airflow by adding or enlarging vents.
- Air conditioners vary considerably in efficiency.
- For window units, an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) rating of 11 or more is excellent.
- For central units, a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 14 is excellent. You can save at least 25 percent on cooling bills by replacing a unit with a SEER rating of 10 or less with a unit rated 13 or more.
- Seek professional help in determining what size unit you need. Oversized units waste electricity and cannot dehumidify properly, which is detrimental to comfort.
- Locate your central AC compressor unit in a shaded outside area, if possible.
- Install your window unit on the north or shady side of the home, if possible.
- Look for high-efficiency units with features like variable-speed fans, two-speed compressors, scroll compressors, and combination water heater/cooling systems. These appliances cost more initially, but pay you back over time by using less electricity each month.
- Consider investing in a GeoExchange heating and cooling system, which takes advantage of the ground's "free" energy. While these systems cost more to install, they save 30-70 percent on heating costs and 20-50 percent on cooling costs - meaning they pay you back the difference in a matter of years.
Energy-Efficient Cooling products
GeoExchange heating and cooling systems (also known as "ground source heat pumps" or "geothermal heat pumps") use the constant temperature of the earth to provide heating comfort in the winter and cooling in the summer. Along with their high level of comfort, they provide the highest levels of efficiency for heating and cooling. In fact, the U.S. Environmental protection Agency performed a study and concluded that GeoExchange systems provided the lowest operating costs and best environmental performance, even when compared to advanced fossil fuel systems. Studies have shown that GeoExchange systems can save homeowners 30 - 70 percent on their heating bills and 20 - 50 percent on their cooling bills, when compared to standard heating and cooling systems. There are now a large number of builders and contractors who have experience with the installation of these systems, along with hundreds of thousands of satisfied homeowners.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy
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