During Florida summers, air conditioning is one of the biggest expenses you will have for your home. It is estimated that homeowners in the U.S. spend more than $10 billion every year on air conditioning, emitting roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide as a result. This effect will probably only grow worse as the demand for air conditioning goes up. This is a concern for homeowners not only on an individual level due to the high cost, but for all of us as a country for the harsh environmental impact.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your air conditioning system greener, which will lower your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint. Steps for more eco-friendly cooling can be as large as insulating your entire house, or as small as changing little habits you have that you can start tomorrow. In this blog, we will go over both smaller things you can do that add up to a bigger environmental impact, as well as larger projects you can start to make your HVAC system greener.
Install Window Coverings
If you don’t have curtains or blinds on your windows, it is wise to install them in your home. When you leave the home during the day, close all of the windows and window coverings to ensure that you keep the sun out as much as possible. Keep in mind that the south-facing part of your home gets the most sun, so if you are home during the day and don’t want to cover all of your windows, at least cover the windows on the southern side of your home. Additionally, the east-facing side will get the most sun in the morning, while the west side will get the strong afternoon sun. It can be very effective to invest in dark curtains or light-blocking curtains, as they can prevent 80 percent of heat from the sun getting into the home. On cooler evenings, open your windows to promote air flow.
Turn Off Appliances
Your appliances like washers and dryers cause your home to become much hotter. When you do use them, use them during the early morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t adding to the heat. Alternatively, stop using a dryer and start using a clothesline. Additionally, your stove is a major source of heart in your home. Avoid using your oven during the summer when you possible; opt to cook outdoors or with a microwave or toaster oven. Not using the stove can potentially cut your energy use in half in the kitchen. You can also save energy and heat by turning off your other appliances when you are using it, as well as any computers. Unplugging any appliances or devices is also a good idea because it the small amount of electricity that always runs through the plugs adds up and reveals itself on your utility bill.
Change Your Bulbs
You may also be able to make cooling your home more eco-friendly by switching the type of lightbulb you use. Incandescent light bulbs are notorious for generating heat, so it is often recommended by environmentalists that you switch to fluorescent or halogen infrared bulbs, which are more energy-efficient.
You can also save on energy costs by supplementing your AC with fans. While fans aren’t ideal for cooling an entire home, they can help promote airflow and to cool down rooms with less air conditioning. Install ceiling fans where you can, and use portable fans when you open your window to promote cool air to come in. Attic fans can also help your air conditioning spread throughout the house more efficiently.
Keep Your Fridge Full
If you need an excuse to go grocery shopping, here it is: a full fridge is more energy efficient! Refrigerators with a lot of food in them do not warm up as quickly when you open the door, translating to less energy needed to keep your food cool.
You can make your window coverings even more effective by also installing awnings on the outside of your home. According to the Department of Energy, installing awnings can reduce the amount of solar heat gain in your home by as much as 77 percent. Patio shades can also offer these same benefits. Alternatively, you could install reflective window film. This contains a layer of metal to repel solar radiation, blocking 70 percent of the solar heat.
Keeping Your Air Conditioner Eco-Friendly
There are also many ways you can keep your home cooler in a more environmentally friendly manner through your actual HVAC system.
- Clean your air filter. When the filter is during, it obstructs airflow, forcing your AC unit to work overtime to cool your home. During the summer, it is wise to replace or clean your filter every month to keep your HVAC system working as efficiently as possible.
- Keep your air conditioner well-maintained. If you ignore the maintenance side of your air conditioning unit, it isn’t going to work as efficiently as it could. Contact North Central Florida Heating and Air, and we can perform regular maintenance on your AC to ensure that it works when you need it.
- Turn up the thermostat. You may not need to have your thermostat as low as you think to be comfortable, particularly if you have taken other steps to make your home maintain cool air more effectively. Turn it up a couple of degrees while you are home, and a couple more when you leave.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. You can save even more energy by investing in a programmable thermostat. You can set this to automatically adjust the temperature according to the time of day, so you don’t even need to worry about adjusting it yourself when you leave your home.
- Shade your AC unit. If your air conditioning unit is in direct sunlight, it has to work extra hard in order to overcome the effect of the solar heat. Install your AC window units on the north side of your property, where it is shadier. It is estimated that an AC unit that is shaded needs 10 percent less energy to function.
With these tips in mind, you can make your air conditioning unit function in a more environmentally friendly way. Whether you need air conditioning repair, installation, or maintenance, contact North Central Florida Heating and Air in Gainesville. We are Florida’s leading HVAC contractors!