Air conditioners are well loved, used in hundreds of millions of homes and make those hot and humid climates just a bit more bearable. But despite numerous technological advancements, some homes are still cooled by inefficient or overzealous machines that waste both energy and money. While cooling entire homes can cost upwards of $400, updating old HVAC systems or simply checking to see if your air conditioning can be used more sustainably can cut costs throughout the year. It is also a good idea to invest in regular maintenance, and ensure your system was properly installed.
Changing the Air Filter
It is important for homeowners to check the filter on their system on a monthly basis, especially during the extreme warm or cold temperatures in the middle of summer and winter. The variation in available systems means you might need to do a bit of research or locate your owner's manual to find the filter, but the debris that collects on worn filters can easily cause the system to require maintenance or even fail. It will also make your air conditioner work even harder to cool the same area. Wasted energy can be a burden on not only your monthly bill, but to the environment as well.
Most homes have the large HVAC system itself in the basement or a storage room, but it is the pipes and ducts that carry the cooled air around the home that can cause potential problems. Leaking ducts can decrease the efficiency of your home by at least 20 percent by allowing air to escape outside or in areas that are already effectively cooled.
The most important ducts to focus on are located in the attic, crawlspace and basement of your home as they are most prone to damage and deterioration. Either a sealant or tape is appropriate for the job, but most professionals recommend using a heavy-duty sealant, followed by wrapping the duct in question with insulation.
Solar Air Conditioners
While one of the most drastic changes you can undertake, you might want to consider investing in a solar air conditioner. While a high upfront cost might be a deterrent, you must keep in mind the future savings allowed by having an air conditioner not connected to your utility costs. Most HVAC systems are currently operated through the power garnered by burning coal, so imagine the decrease in fossil fuels you are causing by harnessing solar rays instead.