Air Conditioner Efficiency Tips
Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. Whole-house fan are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
Don't set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The air-conditioning thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but not to block the airflow. Place your room air conditioner on the north side of the house. A room air conditioner operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same air conditioner operating in the sun.
Insulation and sealing air leaks will help your energy performance in the summertime by keeping the cool air inside.
If your air conditioner is old, consider purchasing a new, energy-efficient model. You could save up to 50% on your utility bill for cooling. Look for the ENERGY STAR and Energy Guide labels.
- Maintaining your air conditioner
- Check all hose connections for leaks. Repair leaks
- Make sure the condensate tube is draining freely.
- Clean the outside compressor by spraying it with a hose.
- Keep plantings at least one foot away for adequate airflow around the entire unit.
- Vacuum registers and air vents regularly.
- Have your ductwork professionally cleaned every few years.
- Keep furniture and drapes away from registers.
During the winter, keep the compressor covered and remove window air conditioners. (http://www.mamashealth.com/environment/aircon.asp)
"Freon" is a trade name for a family of haloalkane refrigerants manufactured by DuPont and other companies. These refrigerants were commonly used due to their superior stability and safety properties. Unfortunately, evidence has accumulated that these chlorine bearing refrigerants reach the upper atmosphere when they escape. The chemistry is poorly understood but general consensus seems to be that CFCs break up in the stratosphere due to UV-radiation, releasing their chlorine atoms. This process does severe damage to the ozone layer that shields the Earth's surface from UV radiation. The chlorine atoms act as a catalyst, and each can break down tens of thousands of ozone molecules before being removed from the stratosphere. Given the longevity of CFC molecules, recovery times are measured in decades. It is calculated that a CFC molecule takes an average of 15 years to go from the ground level up to the upper atmosphere, and it can stay there for about a century, destroying up to one hundred thousand ozone molecules during that time.
Newer and more environmentally-safe refrigerants include HCFCs (R-22, used in most homes today) and HFCs (R-134a, used in most cars) have replaced most CFC use. HCFCs in turn are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol and replaced by hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), such as R-410A, which lack chlorine.
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