Cooling Tips

Air Conditioning Repair Ft Myers FL TipsThe heating and air system of a home uses more than half of the energy. However, in order to save money this large expense there a number of things that don’t cost much or any money to reduce this monthly expense. The biggest thing to realize is that the homeowner is the one in control of the thermostat settings! Just by changing a few habits can save some initial money too. You may be cooling your home, but the fossil fuels you’re burning in the process are only making your summers hotter. Also, in the big picture of cooling the inside of ones home consists of keeping the cool air in and the hot sun out.
The following are not in any specific order so feel free to skip around:

1. Set your thermostat between 78 and 80 degrees while at home during the summer. Raise the temperature 7 degrees higher when you leave your home for several hours. Raise the temperature 4 degrees higher when you go to bed. It would be best to use a programmable thermostat so you do not have to manually change it throughout the day. Also, before you leave for vacation, turn your thermostat up to 85 degrees or higher instead of cooling your home when your no going to be home.

2. A ceiling fan can be a great investment for your home. This one appliance can make a room feel 6 or 7 degrees cooler, and even the most power-hungry fan costs less than $10 a month to use if you keep it on for 12 hours a day, not that it would need to be running that long. Good fans make it possible for you to raise your thermostat setting and save on air-conditioning costs. Fans don’t use much energy, but when air is circulating, it feels much cooler. Ceiling fans are best, but a good portable fan can be very effective as well. Even air movement of 1 mph can make one feel three or four degrees cooler. For ceiling fans, make sure your it is turned for summer and turns in a clockwise direction for summer cooling, the air blown downward. One can feel 5 degrees cooler when air around them is moving. Lastly, don’t forget to turn off fans when you leave the room!

3. Run your air conditioner fan on low. This is particularly helpful in areas with high summer humidity. The low air volume helps your A/C dehumidify.

4. Keep electronics and things that produce heat away from your thermostat. Don’t allow a closely located TV or water heater to convince your thermostat that it’s hotter than it really is.

5. Use a dehumidifier. EnergyStar says a 40-pint unit will save up to $20 a year and last up to a decade. Moderating your home’s humidity — in addition to making you feel cooler — will reduce musty smells and the growth of harmful molds. Try not to use a dehumidifier at the same time your air conditioner is operating. The dehumidifier will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.

6. Check your air filter every month, especially during the summer and winter, and replace dirty filters that make your system work harder and waste energy.

7. Perform a home energy audit of your heating and cooling system.

8. Have your heating and air conditioning system inspected and cleaned twice a year, spring and fall usually, by a licensed professional. Coolant levels should be checked every year also. A professional also will clean and lubricate the system. Without annual service, your air conditioner will lose about 5 percent efficiency each year — more if the coolant is low. Use Puron or some other non-CFC coolant.

9. This seems self-explanatory, but keep closed exterior doors and windows when your air conditioner is on to keep the heat out and reduce the air conditioners running time.

10. Consider replacing the air conditioning unit if it is 10 years or older. Remember that proper sizing and quality installation are are critical to your home’s energy efficiency. Studies have found that most central air conditioning systems are oversized by 50 percent or more. Or, if you have an older central air conditioner, consider replacing the outdoor compressor with a modern, high-efficiency unit. Make sure that it is properly matched to the indoor unit. In hot, humid climates, make sure that the air conditioner you purchase will adequately get rid of high humidity. Models with variable or multi-speed blowers are generally best for trying to keep moisture sources out of the house.

11. Repair leaks in your air duct system and be sure to insulate the duct work too, especially in unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.

12. Reduce air leaks and prevent unnecessary air infiltration around the house by adding caulk around window frames and weather-stripping around door frames.

13. Install inexpensive foam gaskets behind the faceplate of all electric sockets and light switches for the ones that are located on an exterior wall. It might not seem like a lot, but it does help.

14. Consider obtaining a professional air blower test.

15. Check the insulation in your attic. Poorly insulated attics may lose up to 40 percent of the cool air in a house. The recommended level of insulation for an attic varies depending on the region one lives in. The higher the R-value, the better your attic resists the heat and cold.

16. Replace old windows with ENERGY STAR® windows and reduce your energy bill by as much as 15 percent.

17. Keep a 2 to 3 foot clearance around your outside air conditioning unit to ensure proper circulation. At the same time, one can plant trees or shrubs to shade an air conditioning unit, but not block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses less electricity.

18. Close window blinds and curtains to keep the hot sun out and reduce heat inside the home. Obviously, one should raise the shades and open curtains during winter months to let in the sun’s warmth and create passive solar heating. White window shades or mini-blinds would be the best color to use for it reflects heat away from the house. Mini-blinds can reduce solar heat gain by 40-50 percent. Close south and west-facing curtains during the day for any window that gets direct sunlight. Keep these windows closed, too.

19. Install awnings on south-facing windows, where there’s insufficient roof overhang to provide shade. They will block the angle of the sun coming through the window during he summer while allowing the lower angled winter sun to come in and warm the home.

20. To go a step further, hang tightly woven screens or bamboo shades outside the window during the summer to stop 60 to 80 percent of the sun’s heat from getting to the windows.

21. Install solar screens and solar film on windows to reduce heat infiltration. Low-e films are a good choice. Solar screens can be removed during the winter.

22. Consider window infills – a new technology that fills the space between panes with krypton or argon, gasses that have lower conductivity than air, and which boost R-values.

23. The landscaping used around the home can decrease indoor cooling energy use and save money too. Looking to nature for ideas will take you far in your home cooling efforts. Planting crawling vines along the south and west sides of your home or on trellises in front of windows can help insulate the house as well. You can do this with edible vines such as grapevines, for added utility.

24. Trees and shrubs reduce direct sunlight on your home and its effect on the temperature inside your home. Deciduous trees help shade the home from the hot summer sun, and when they drop their leaves in the winter, they will assist in passive solar heating then. For example just three trees, properly placed around a house, can save between $100 and $250 annually in cooling and heating costs, and daytime air temperatures can be 3 degrees to 6 degrees cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods.

25. Avoid landscaping with lots of unshaded rock, cement, or asphalt on the south or west sides because it increases the temperature around the house and radiates heat to the house after the sun has set.

26. If your house is in need of a paint job, consider lighter colors which deflect rather than absorb the light.

27. Light-colored roof shingles also help decrease any heat absorption by deflecting sunlight. A cool roof lowers the surface temperature and reduces the amount of heat transferred into your home.

28. Keep cooling vents unobstructed. Check registers to make sure that they’re not blocked by furniture or other stuff.

29. On hot days, avoid using the stove.. Try to use an outdoor grill or microwave oven (which cooks food directly) for cooking.

30. Wash and dry clothes when the day is cool. Do laundry early in the day and late at night. Don’t forget clotheslines for they do not generate heat in the house. Humidity makes room air feel warmer, so reduce indoor humidity. Minimize mid-day washing and drying clothes, and showering. And when you must do these things, turn on ventilating fans to help extract warm, moist air.

31. Skip your dishwasher’s dry cycle. Rack your dishes and let them air dry instead.

32. Open the bathroom window when showering. Vent heat and humidity outside, rather than back into the house. Keep the bathroom door closed as well.

33. Consider opening the windows at night. Take advantage of naturally cool night air when possible, and open multiple windows to increase cross ventilation and provide a cooling draft.

34. Limit use of incandescent and halogen lights. About 90% of the energy used is turned into heat and only 10% goes to providing light. Replace incandescent bulbs with energy efficient CFLs, and start by replacing the bulbs that are used most often. CFLs use one-third the energy of incandescent bulbs and last 10 times as long.

35. You can help get rid of unwanted heat through ventilation if the temperature of the incoming air is 77 F or lower. (This strategy works most effectively at night and on cooler days.) Window fans for ventilation are a good option if used properly. They should be located on the downwind side of the house facing out. A window should be open in each room. Interior doors must remain open to allow air flow. Heat rises so opening up some of those higher windows can allow warmth to easily circulate out of your rooms. Opening both a high and low window can allow the Bernoulli effect (the same principle that allows airplanes to fly) to create a breeze through any room that sucks in cool air and releases the hot — perfect solution to those hot humid days!

36. Hang a damp sheet in front of an open window and let it dry. The air and moisture has a nice cooling effect.

37. Wear natural fabric clothing. Cotton, hemp, and linen fabrics breathe better than synthetic fibers and naturally wick moisture away from the body. Wear short-sleeved, loose clothing.

38. Watch what you eat. Eat salads and sandwiches instead of large, protein-rich meals when the weather is hot, as these can warm your body up.
39. Stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the heat, as these can promote dehydration. Drink more water than usual or consider an electrolyte replacement drink if you’re sweating a lot.

40. Cool the body off with water. Soak your feet in a tub of cold water, put on a wet bandana, or take a cool shower. Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator and spritz yourself regularly throughout the day.

41. Check your refrigerator settings. The fridge takes heat out of your food and transfers it to your kitchen, so be sure you’re running it efficiently. The refrigerator works best when set between 37 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the freezer around 5 degrees.

42. Turn off your furnace pilot light. You can always re-light it in the fall.

43. Close the fireplace damper. Don’t send cool air up the chimney. If your fireplace has a glass door, shut it.

44. Insulate interior hot water pipes. There’s no point in heating your room air along with the water. If it’s indoors, wrap your electric hot water heater with an approved insulator. Gas heaters should be insulated by professionals.

45. Improve attic ventilation. It can get up to 140 degrees in your attic during the summer. Adding an electric fan or wind turbines will move some of this unwanted heat away from your living space. A solar attic fan decreases the hot air trapped in the space, making the home easier to cool and can decrease your home cooling bill by up to 10% a year.

46. Replace gas appliances with efficient electric units.

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