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Category:  Utilities

Cooling Tips

 How to Save Energy and Stay Cool

By Steven Boaze

While most of the United States is under a heatwave, other locations around the globe are feeling the impact of high costs regarding utilities.

What I'm about to give you, is from 28 years experience of HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air conditioning) in the residential, commercial and Industrial construction trade.

Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and drains more energy dollars than any other system in your home. Typically, 44% of your utility bill goes for heating and cooling. What's more, heating and cooling systems in the United States together omit over half billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global warming. They also generate about 24% of the nitrogen oxides, the chief ingredients in acid rain.

No matter what kind of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system you have in your house, you can save money and increase comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy efficient furnace/air conditioner alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with appropriate insulation, weatherization, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy bills and your pollution output in half.

AIR CONDITIONERS

It might surprise you to know that buying a bigger room air- conditioner unit won't necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that's too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit.

This is because room units work better if they run for relatively long periods of time than if they continually switching off and on. Longer run times allow air conditioners to maintain a more constant room temperature.

Sizing is equally important for central air-conditioning systems, which need to be sized by professionals. If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the cooling unit (compressor). In other words, don't use the system's central fan to provide circulation, but instead use circulating fans in individual rooms.

MAXIMIZE COOLING

Whole-house fans help cool your home or apartment by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operating at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.

Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer- especially during very hot days. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall bill will be.

Do Not set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home or apartment any faster and could result in excessive cooling, and therefore, unnecessary expense.

Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air-conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through the rooms without greatly increasing your power usage.

Do Not place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioning thermostat. the thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.

PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS

You can save as much as 10% a year on your home heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10% to 15% for 8 hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the time you turn on the heating or air conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. As a result, you don't operate the equipment as much when you're asleep or when the house or part of the house is not occupied.

Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

WINDOWS

Windows can be one of your home's most attractive features. They provide views, day lighting, ventilation, and solar heating in the winter. Unfortunately, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your utility bill. During the summer, sunny windows make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.

Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the glass window on the house or apartment. Close curtains on south and west facing windows. Apply sun-control films on south-facing windows to reduce solar gain.

MISCELLANEOUS

Clean or replace filters once a month or as needed. Seal and/or insulate all ductwork associated with the system. Keep your fireplace (if any) damper closed. Caulk cracks around windows and doors. Use fluorescent lamps which are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last 6 to 10 times longer. Turn off lights in any room you're not using. Open windows when possible to ventilate at night.

These are fundamental and basic energy saving tips you can do to live in a cool comfortable environment while operating your cooling system. By working all these principles, and staying cool during the "Dog Days" of summer, you'll be saving energy at the same time.

Steven Boaze, Chairman, is The Owner of Boaze.com Corporate Web Solutions. Steven is the Author of two successful Books, thousands of articles featured in radio, magazines newspapers and trade journals. Steven has 25 years experience in journalism, copywriting, certified Web Developer.

 

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