In times of
rising energy costs and rapidly depleting fossil fuels, making your air conditioner more
efficient will reduce your energy usage, make your home more comfortable, save
money, and possibly help to save the environment. No matter what kind of air
conditioning system you have, there are steps you can take to make your air
conditioning system more efficient without purchasing a new system.
Here are some basic tips on how to make your air conditioner more
§ Have your air conditioner
professionally serviced annually
§ Clean your air ducts
§ Install clean air filters every 3
months during the cooling season
§ Find and seal all cracks in your
house. Small cracks are not uncommon around seams, corners and other areas.
These can be sealed with caulk.
§ Find and seal any gaps or cracks
around windows and doors. This can be accomplished with weatherizing tape or
§ Close the flue in your fireplace
chimney. A surprising amount of air exchange can occur through an open flue.
§ Use high-efficiency windows and doors
or storm windows and doors. Well-insulated windows can reduce your cooling cost
§ Add weather-stripping to windows and
doors to create a tight seal. If you are not planning to upgrade your windows
and you want to achieve better efficiency, the same weather-stripping used in
winter can be used to seal and insulate these areas.
§ Use major appliances during the
coolest part of the day or evening. Appliances generate heat when they are in
use, particularly dishwashers, washing machines and dryers. Using these
appliances during the cooler parts of the day causes less stress on the working
of your air conditioner.
§ Use shades and blinds to block the
heat and UV rays from the sun. Shades and blinds provide more than privacy –
they also deflect heat from the sun and the UV rays that could damage your
furniture and carpeting.
§ Add UV coatings or films to exterior
windows. Many newer windows have low-e coatings which allow light to enter the
room but block the heat and the UV rays. These coatings can be added to the
windows by professionals or you can buy and apply sheets of UV deflecting film.
§ Check the insulation around windows
and doors. These are the greatest opportunities for gaps and cracks that allow
§ Check the insulation in your attic
(most heat exchange occurs through the roof). Be sure you have the right kind
and amount of insulation and that your attic is properly vented.
§ Use ceiling fans to better circulate
the cooled air
§ Use register/vent booster fans to
better circulate the cooled air
§ Seal off any unused/unconditioned
parts of the house so cooled air will not escape into these areas and heat will
not enter the main part of the house
§ Use ventilation fans to carry heat
and steam from the bathrooms and kitchen
These steps will
make any cooling system more efficient. This will enable you to save energy and
cost and reduce the demand on fossil fuels.