cooling efficiency

Keep an Open Door Policy for Energy Efficiency

open doorKeeping your home comfortably cool during the hot summer months can be expensive, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Opening your late summer utility bills can feel about as scary as stepping into a horror movie. Because summer cooling bills can be so frightening, homeowners often share their own theories about how to minimize the financial damage.

Unfortunately, not all accepted theories for cutting costs actually work. One common strategy for saving money on air conditioning, is to shut the doors to the rooms you aren’t using. The idea is that you won’t have to pay to cool unused spaces.

This prevalent strategy, although well-intentioned, will actually end up costing you more money. And it could also contribute to other indoor air problems.

Why You Need to Keep the Doors Open

Modern air conditioning systems are designed to function as a carefully balanced whole. When you close interior doors, you are essentially shutting off part of the system. This doesn’t strengthen the other parts of the system. Instead, it causes the whole system to work harder to keep your home cool.

Shutting doors to unused rooms forces your air conditioner to compensate for the air imbalances. Because closed doors cause your system to run less efficiently, you could actually be causing unnecessary wear-and-tear on your unit.

The Effects of Closed Doors on Your AC

Shutting the doors to unused rooms could actually be one of the worst things you can do. Closing the door to a room does not stop your air conditioner from blowing air into that room. As the air blows from your open vents, it can build up inside the room and affect the air pressure.

Most air conditioning systems incorporate supply vents in every interior room. However, many homes are designed with a single central intake. Closing interior doors blocks the intended air flow, creating an imbalance, reducing the air volume returning to the air conditioner.

As your system continues to intake air to cool the entire house, the pressurized air behind your closed doors is naturally looking for a way out. Often, the easiest escape route is through cracks in walls and gaps around windows. The result is often a negative pressure in the part of the home left open, causing outdoor air to push in through any small space or crack it can find.

Maintaining Air Flow and Personal Privacy

Reducing utility bills isn’t the only motive behind closing doors. For some family members, shutting doors is a matter of privacy. This can be especially true for households with teenagers and extended family members.

If there are rooms that must be closed regularly for issues of privacy, there are measures that can be taken to ensure cooling efficiency. One option is to have airflow grates installed in each interior door. This allows air to flow freely even when the doors are closed.

 

Contact your local HVAC professionals if you have questions or concerns about maintaining proper air circulations while preserving privacy.

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Cooling Efficiency Guide for Homeowners

As rising summer temperatures begin to make their way across the country, it is time to consider the efficiency of your home’s cooling system. The cooling efficiency of your system is crucial to your family’s comfort this time of year. However, it also affects how much you will spend on utilities this summer.

Factors That Affect Cooling Efficiency

In order to get the most out of your cooling system and keep your summer utility bills under control, it is important to understand the factors affecting your system’s efficiency. Here are just a few things that could have long-reaching effects on cooling efficiency, comfort, and your summer cooling budget.

Setting Your Thermostat

One of the biggest factors in your cooling system’s efficiency is how you set your thermostat. Thankfully, this factor is also the easiest to control.

The closer you set your thermostat to the temperature outdoors, the less stress you put on your cooling system, and the more money you will save on your bill. This may not be practical when the temperatures peak mid-summer. To stay cool during blistering heat waves, find the highest comfortable temperature, and commit to it. Frequently changing the temperature of non-programmable thermostat can make a major impact on your cooling efficiency. If you want to customize temperature settings for different times of day or days of the week, t is best to invest in a programmable thermostat model.

During the hottest weather, experts recommend setting your home’s cooling system at 78 degrees Fahrenheit for those time periods when you and your family are at home. If the house will be empty for more than four hours, consider raising the setting so energy won’t be wasted cooling an unoccupied house.

Check the Airflow

A primary factor in cooling efficiency is airflow. If your system isn’t getting the proper airflow, it will have to work harder to keep the inside of your home comfortably cool.

Check to make sure there is proper clearance around your home’s external unit. Also, make sure the system is clear of debris and your ductwork is clean. Regular filter changes are also necessary to maintain airflow and keep your system operating at peak efficiency.

Air Leaks

Too much airflow can also affect your system’s efficiency. Make sure to seal leaky doors and windows. Winter drafts are uncomfortable, but during the summer heat, they can force your cooling system to work overtime.

Also, be sure to keep all exterior doors and windows shut once you turn on that air conditioner.

Regular Maintenance

Just like your vehicle, your cooling system needs regular maintenance. Schedule a check-up at least once a year with a local HVAC professional. A qualified technician will check for potential problems and make sure your system is up to the task of cooling your home.

The ideal time to schedule maintenance is in the spring before the heat of summer rolls in. The last thing you want is to have your system break down during the sweltering summer heat waves.

Consider an Upgrade

If your cooling bills remain high even after addressing these potential efficiency issues, it may be time to upgrade to a more modern and energy efficient system. Most cooling systems have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

If your system is nearing its 12 birthday, especially if you find it needs frequent repairs, it is a good idea to contact your local HVAC professional to discuss the benefits of upgrading your unit. He or she will help you weigh your options and make an informed decision about the cooling efficiency of your current unit, as well as what benefits a new model will provide.

When deciding whether to purchase a new system, you will need to check the Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. In general, the rating should be at least 14.5. The higher the SEER, the more energy-efficient the cooling unit is.

 

Keeping your cool when you have a cooling efficiency problem can be hard, both literally and figuratively. However, if you address the factors listed above, you should stay cool all summer

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your cooling system and its energy efficiency, be sure to contact a qualified cooling expert in your area.

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