Operating an air conditioner can consume up to 2000 kWh of energy every year. You can help keep energy consumption and costs down during the hot, humid summer months by reducing your heat pump or A/C’s cooling load. When a cooling system works smarter, not harder, it puts less strain on vital system components, too. This means you’ll also reduce the risk of potential breakdowns, costly repairs or premature equipment failures and replacements. Slashing an A/C’s load can be accomplished in two main ways:
Improve the Envelope
Heat gains from hot, humid outdoor air are what make a home’s interior uncomfortable in the summer. Taking steps to tighten up the envelope can lower the load on your cooling system:
Increase insulation levels to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommended R-49 on the attic floor, R-13 in the exterior wall cavities, and R-30 in floors over unheated/uninsulated spaces.
Install window sunscreens, sun-blocking shades or treatments.
Plant trees in appropriate locations around the home’s perimeter to provide ample shade.
Weatherstrip and caulk to seal up air leaks around windows, exterior doors, shell penetrations and the foundation.
If it’s time to replace the roof or invest in new windows, opt for Energy Star-rated products that minimize heat gain.
Lower the Internal Load
Many of the items used in a home on a daily basis can contribute significantly to the work load of its cooling system. It’s relatively simple to lessen the impact by making a few changes:
Turn off lights, appliances, televisions and other electronic devices when they’re not in use.
Use heat-generating appliances such as the oven, dryer and dishwasher in the evening when it’s cooler.
Run kitchen and bath exhaust fans to remove excess humidity.
Ensure that the clothes dryer is vented to the outdoors, so moist air isn’t trapped inside.
When replacing appliances, choose the most affordable, energy-efficient models available.
If you’d like to learn more ways to help your cooling system work smarter and reduce the A/C’s load, contact us today at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We’ve proudly served the home comfort needs of Northwest Arkansas residents since 1968.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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