Hints & HELP!
Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning
submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
article appeared in the July 28, Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.
to keep the temperature, humidity level and energy costs
down? An important factor in lowering costs and efficient
operation is an air-conditioning system that is properly
sized, installed, maintained and operated, and is selected
with energy and efficiency in mind.
problems include improper selection and operation, faculty
installation and inadequate or poor servicing and maintenance.
economical operation, set your air conditioner at a higher
temperature when away from home. Closing registers in unused
rooms may not save energy because central air conditioners
are planned to cool the total living space. Programmable
thermostats allow setting the time when the air conditioner
will turn on or perform at cooler and hotter temperatures.
storms, outside doors, shades and shutters when operating
an air conditioner. Provide shade on the outside and inside
of windows especially those on the east and west
sides. Proper landscaping can make a significant difference
in summer cooling.
moisture sources inside the house such as excessive showers.
Use range and bathroom vents to exhaust moisture when cooking
or showering. Always vent dryers outside. Fix leaks and
stop any water or moisture from entering the home through
cracks in walls and along foundations.
ducts waste energy when cool air escapes from the supply
ducts or hot attic air leaks into return ducts. In an average
central air-conditioning system, 10 to 30 percent of the
conditioned air may escape through the ducts into places
not intended to cool such as the attic, basement or exterior
walls. A professional service technician or weatherization
professional can detect and correct duct leaks. Ducts can
be sealed with duct mastic. Older duct tape
can fail. Sealing with duct tape is not satisfactory because
duct tapes can fail soon after installation. If duct tape
is used, select foil-backed tape.
sure supply or return air ducts and registers are not blocked.
Blocked ducts can result in poor air-conditioning performance.
the amount of refrigerant in the system does not match the
manufacturer's specifications and hampers the unit's performance
and efficiency. When the unit is serviced, ask them to check
the manufacturer's specifications. If a unit is low on refrigerant,
it may leak or was undercharged at installation. The refrigerant
level should match the manufacturer's specifications and
not be over- or undercharged.
or fans are more likely to fail prematurely if filters and
air-conditioning coils are allowed to become dirty. If the
system is oversized for the home, the compressor and fan
controls can wear out because the air conditioner turns
on and off more frequently. A larger-than-needed unit cycles
off and on frequently, thus reducing its efficiency and
resulting in temperature, humidity and comfort fluctuations.
your air conditioner and keep it maintained for best service.
Remember to set the temperature higher when no one is home.
Conserving energy helps the budget and the environment.
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