Heating and air conditioning units use more electricity than many other appliances in the home. Air conditioners can draw a good amount of power when they are not properly used. There is a temptation to run the units whenever the temperature begins to rise inside of a room. This can increase electricity bills and can produce a large amount of pollution because of the carbon emissions that come from power plants that must work harder to generate more energy. There are a few tips that can help reduce the environmental impact of using an air conditioner in the summer.
Moderate Thermostat Settings
One of the most effective ways to reduce energy usage when using an air conditioner is to keep the thermostat at a realistic level. This will work for most window units and for central air conditioning systems. The actual setting can vary based on personal preferences. In general, the thermostat should be set to the minimum comfortable level that keeps the home cool but not cold. Even a slight change towards the warmer side of the thermostat could provide dramatic energy savings.
Disable Heating During The Summer
One mistake that can sometimes be made when using a central heating system is to leave the unit active during the summer months. Some households simply reduce the thermostat to the lowest possible point. This can still use small amounts of electricity. There is also a possibility that the air conditioning in the home or a slightly cooler night than usual could trigger the heater. This can create a situation where the heater and the air conditioner are running at the same time. The heater should be turned off completely during the summer.
Keep Filters Clean
The filters that are in an air conditioner or central air system should be cleaned regularly. This should be done at least once a month for window-mounted units. Dirty filters can reduce the efficiency of the air conditioner. This reduction in efficiency is cumulative and can make the unit progressively less effective. Clean filters help to keep an air conditioner running properly and using as little energy as possible.
Close Shades In The Afternoon
Direct sunlight coming into a room through the windows can slowly increase the temperature inside. In rooms that have many windows this can actually increase the temperature by a noticeable amount. Closing the shades in the room can help to keep the air cool so that the air conditioner will not have to run more than is necessary.
Use The Right Sized Air Conditioner
Air conditioning units that are too large or too small for a space can use a much larger amount of power than a correctly sized unit. Improperly sized units are also more prone to excessive wear on the parts because the motor and fans will be working in a way that was not intended. It is important to use an air conditioner that is the correct size for the space that must be cooled. Replacing an older unit with a newer model can also save power because the efficiency of air conditioners increases slightly each year.
Brought to you on behalf of Brown’s Home Heating and A/C, Durham Region’s expert air conditioning and heating contractor. http://www.brownshomeheating.com/