Make Air Conditioners More Efficient

Can you stay cool this summer without breaking the bank?

While there’s no one money-saving strategy that will work for everyone all the time, there are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure that your air-conditioner system works at peak efficiency and that it isn’t being asked to handle more cooling than necessary.

This material, reprinted with permission from Consumer Reports magazine, offers, some tips.

In some cases, you may be able to cut back on air-conditioner use considerably without ...

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Properly Sized Equipment

Properly sized equipment will run nearly continuously on the coldest and hottest days of the year. Oversized equipment runs for shorter periods at higher intensity, compromising comfort, performance and equipment lifetime. It costs more up front. Higher capacity equipment also requires higher air flow, meaning larger ductwork and larger blowers.

Excessive oversizing was observed for 70% of study home furnaces and every study home air conditioner. Furnaces were sized an average of 158% of the minimum required size (maximum 238%) versus ...

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Maintenance Checklist

Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.

A typical maintenance check-up should include the following:

Cooling Specific

Heating Specific

Actions to do ...

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Heat and Cool Efficiently

As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills and your comfort. Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. For more information, see our Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling (708KB).

Change your air filter regularly

Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use ...

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Biting the 90 AFUE Bullet

Due to higher natural gas prices, the cost-effectiveness of 90 percent efficient furnaces has changed. But there are other reasons to make this move.

“We live in an age of ‘urge’. We do nothing till somebody shoves us.” – Will Rogers
“Do not give dalliance too much rein.” – Shakespeare, The Tempest

Not long ago, energy cater Steve Byers reported that a 200-homes-per-year Front Range builder wanted to qualify for the EPA’s Energy Star performance threshold. Their pivotal question to him: did ...

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Bigger is Not Better: Sizing Air Conditioners Properly

It is generally accepted that “the right way” to specify an air conditioning system is to calculate the loads and select a piece of equipment that will provide comfort to the customer in a wide variety of conditions. Unfortunately this is rarely practiced.

A colleague of ours (we will call him Bill) approached us at a conference seeking advice on selecting an air conditioner for his renovated home. Our recommendations included, “Be sure that the cooling load is calculated ...

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Why Your Home Does Not Heat Evenly

Your home is your castle, and you should certainly be comfortable in your home. However, if your home does not heat evenly, then you will definitely not be comfortable. Determining why your home is heating unevenly can be a problem. You might first suspect that your HVAC system is not working properly. However, there are some other things to check first.

The first step to check is the air registers (vents) in each room. If your home is not heating evenly, ...

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What Everyone Should Know about Setting your Thermostat

Making your home as comfortable as possible is important. However, it can also be difficult to do, especially if you are worried about saving money on your utility bills. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can achieve better results, just by using your thermostat. Here are some important tips for comfort, energy conservation and savings.

First, during the winter, consider setting your thermostat about two degrees cooler than usual. If you keep your thermostat at 72, then cut it back ...

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What Everyone Should Know about Geothermal Heating

Are you interested in going green? If so, then you will find quite a few different technologies and techniques that can help. These range from recycling plastic, glass and paper to installing solar panels on your roof. However, if you want to go green and reduce your energy expenses, while maintaining the most comfortable home possible, then you should know a thing or two about geothermal heating. What is this technology and can it be of use to you?

Fist, you ...

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Understanding Heating and Cooling: What Is HVAC?

When it comes to your home, ensuring that you are comfortable at all times is very important. To combat summer heat and winter cold, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) provide important benefits. Technically, anything from a window-unit to a central heating and cooling system falls under the heading of HVAC. However, it is most commonly associated with whole-home systems. These can provide immense amounts of comfort, and can also help reduce your utility bills if you have been ...

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