Once I purchased my first home, I realized that I needed to do my part in caring for my home appliances. In addition to reading the user manuals for my kitchen appliances and state-of-the-art plumbing system, I realized that I also needed to do a little research about HVAC. Because I had no experience with HVAC systems, I called out a professional to teach me a thing or two. It was fascinating to talk with him, and I was able to take notes about all kinds of important topics, such as maintenance, troubleshooting, and even shopping for a new system. This blog is all about understanding HVAC guidelines.
If you're tired of how much it costs to cool your home, don't worry. There are many things you can do to cut a few dollars off your monthly cooling bills. Check out these five tips to improve your home's cooling efficiency.
Check Your Attic Insulation
One reason your home may be having problems staying cold even when you have the air conditioning on is because there isn't enough insulation. This is particularly a problem in older homes, but regardless of your home's age, you should double-check how much insulation you have. The most important place to check is the attic. Without proper insulation in your attic, your house can have trouble staying cool in summer and hot in the winter. Insulation is measured in R-value, and attic insulation should have an R-value of about R-38, which equals about 10 to 14 inches, but it depends on the exact type of insulation because different insulations have different R-values. If you don't have enough, add some directly onto your current insulation.
Add Insulation Around Ducts
Besides adding insulation to your attic, you should also check your ducts. Not all ducts need insulation. The ducts that run through parts of your house that are temperature-controlled with your furnace or air conditioner don't need insulation. However, any ducts that run through non-heated/cooled areas, such as the attic or basement, need insulation. Without insulation, as the cool air travels through the hot attic, it slightly rises in temperature. This makes you have to turn up the power and use more energy just to get the right temperature.
Secure Your Ductwork
Another problem with ducts is that they are notorious for leaks. It's estimated that most ducts allow 20 to 30 percent of the air to escape before it reaches you. The problem with this is that the system is still using as much energy to send out a certain amount of air, but not all of it is reaching you. This means the system is using more energy than it is putting out. To properly cool your home, you need to use more energy, which increases bills.
Don't Try to Mimic Zoned Cooling
Zoned cooling is a genius idea. It's designed to allow you to cool different parts of your home while not cooling others. If you have a room you rarely use, zoned cooling allows you to not cool that room unless you need to. However, unless you have a system with zoned cooling, you should not try to mimic this feature. Many people will close the doors and vents in rooms that they don't want to cool, but this doesn't work. The room will still pull air from other areas, such as outside. Instead of allowing you to use less energy to more efficiently cool commonly used areas of your home, it actually forces your system to work harder and increases your power usage from 300 to 900 percent.
Stop Turning the System Up too High
Cooling costs depend greatly on the temperature outside. If it is 90 degrees outside, but your air conditioner is making it 65 inside your home, you're going to be paying more than if it was 90 degrees outside and 75 inside your home because the difference between 90 and 75 is less than the difference between 90 and 65. When possible, try to keep the temperature as high as you comfortably can. Also, consider upgrading your thermostat to a programmable or smart one. This will allow you to program your system or control it via smartphone, so you can turn down or off the system when you aren't home or are asleep.
Energy costs are constantly increasing, and even if you have a new air conditioner, there are simple things you can do to increase the cooling efficiency in your home. If you would like more information, contact an HVAC expert in your area today.