From Marielle Collins on March 05, 2014 in Air Conditioning & Heating
When asked, “How efficient is your home cooling system?” most people do not have a good response. The answer, however, has big implications for your utility bill and your wallet. As a homeowner you should understand what makes an air conditioner operate efficiently and some steps you can take to ensure a green and cost effective home cooling strategy.
How do I know if I need a replacement?
The best way to find out where your home stands in terms of energy efficiency is to have an energy audit. This detailed exploration will determine if heating and cooling in your home gets lost, what systems are functioning inefficiently, and any changes you can make to save money. There are two different types of home energy audits to choose from. An Energy Survey is a general analysis by a specialist without the use of special equipment to make detailed calculations. A Building Performance Assessment uses diagnostic tools for a closer more detailed analysis. Schedule one of these tests to find out how efficiently your home cooling system operates, and to know if it is time to replace your unit.
What am I looking for?
If you are in the market for a new home cooling unit and want something that is energy efficient, look for a unit with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of at least 14.5. The higher this number, the more efficient your unit will be. This ratio represents the cooling output of the unit divided by the electricity input based on a typical year’s range of temperatures. The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) represents the output of cooling divided by the input of energy, but based on a high temperature of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, so this ratio gives a better idea of how a unit will perform in hot climates. Evaluate these ratios when choosing a cooling unit, and be sure to hire a licensed and reputable contractor to install the unit properly so it functions at optimal performance.
Extend the Life of your Unit
Most air conditioners have a life span of 10-12 years, but can last longer if you take steps to reduce strain on the unit. People often overuse air conditioning and end up with high utility bills and a less than green carbon footprint. There are many cost cutting tips to help reduce the amount of air conditioning your home requires. First of all, make sure you have shade in your home by installing awnings or blinds on your windows and planting trees that block some sun. Also, choose a light colored roof that reflects heat. With only small amounts of sun shining through your windows and minimal heat absorbing into your roof, your home will require less air conditioning.
Make it a goal to keep your home comfortable but not in an arctic freeze every summer. Set the air conditioner at about 10 degrees below the outside temperature to save money. Install fans to help cool the inside without putting increased strain on your air conditioner. Take measures to avoid running your air conditioner at maximum capacity and this will increase the life of you unit and keep more money in your pocket.
Evaluate the air cooling system in your home to ensure it is operating efficiently and your utility bills are in a reasonable range. If you need a replacement cooling system, make sure to get multiple air conditioning quotes from various contractors in order to find one with the quality and price that meets your expectations.