Air Conditioning Tips from HVAC Contractors

Reduce Your Air Conditioning Bills

The United States now uses more electricity for air conditioning than a billion people in Africa use for everything. So really, we have to do everything we can to reduce the amount of air conditioning in Sacramento required, make it as efficient as it can be, and then reduce the non-renewable resources needed to run it.
Here are some suggestions to improve air conditioner performance and making them more efficient in our homes right now.

Seal the leaks

Wherever you live, whether an apartment or house, the first and simplest thing to do is to seal the air leaks. "If you have an older house that's never been air-sealed, this may be a big part of your heat gain problem, especially if you have leaks from the attic. If you haven't had a blower door test, get one."

Keep the sun and the heat out in the first place.

Before there was central heat and air, people worked hard to keep the sun and heat out. Awning for your windows, quality shutters and blinds work, but people used to do a whole lot more. As Professor Cameron Tonkinwise of Carnegie Mellon School of Design has noted: “The air conditioner allows architects to be lazy. We don't have to think about making a building work, because you can just buy a box.” We love trees, overhangs, pergolas and other designed shading devices that nobody thinks about anymore. People used to take this very seriously; now they just buy a few more tons of AC.

Get efficient lighting and appliances

This is getting old but people still have incandescent bulbs that put out a lot of heat. Turn them off or get rid of them.

Insulate if you can

If you have access to an attic, make sure that the insulation is spread evenly and add more if you can. Allison notes that bumpy insulation is not as good as smooth.

Make some minor lifestyle changes.

Get a clothesline. Cooking is another big source of heat; try changing to a summer diet of cool foods, salads, and fire up the barbecue and cook outside.

Replace the filters

Keep the vents clear

I've seen dressers, piles of clothes, and dog beds completely or partially covering supply or return vents in homes. Choking off air flow at the vents increases the pressure in the duct system and reduces air flow.

Look for duct air flow problems

This can make a big impact. Most ducts are bad. Some are really bad. Some are really, really bad. Check, fix and seal your ducts, and keep the outdoor unit clear of obstructions, covers and vegetation.

Get a smart thermostat

TreeHugger Sami has achieved significant savings in energy in his leaky house with smart thermostats. He talks mainly about heating in his post, but energy savings on cooling are supposed to be about 15 percent.

Add some rooftop solar panels

It is hottest when the sun is shining, so it makes some sense to try and offset electricity consumption with rooftop solar if you can. It is not perfect, because we are often not home when the panels are generating most of the power and need it later in the day but it is a help.

Sacramento Air Conditioning Contractors

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