Guest Post: How to Use Your Air Conditioner and Be Green - Our Daily Green

Monday, June 6, 2011

Guest Post: How to Use Your Air Conditioner and Be Green

After a short hiatus, just in time for the summer heat wave, Our Daily Green is back today with a guest post from Darin Hansen, an HVAC veteran who has seen just about every side of the HVAC business from web wholesaler to the manufacturing floor. Darin operates an information site that has articles on anything from reviews of specific AC units or heat pumps to what is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) and Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE).

Introduction by Our Daily Green: 
In the past half century, air conditioning has changed the American landscape. The impact of AC on our nation is so immense that when the National Academy of Engineering chose the 20 greatest engineering accomplishments, air conditioning ranked 10th, above even the Internet, highways, and nuclear technology.

from Salon, July 2010,
It’s pretty much unanimously believed that if we had not had air conditioning, we could not have had this huge migration of population from the North to the Sun Belt, and we certainly wouldn’t have seen 70 percent of all economic growth happening in the South since 1960. 
Air conditioning is found in 9 out of 10 homes. We don't want to live without our air. But the energy consumption is tremendous. Rather than go without air conditioning, today's guest blogger has a few tips and suggestions for how to use our air conditioner more efficiently.

Thank you, Darin for your input!

In this day and age it seems that we can’t seem to turn on the TV for more than a few minutes without hearing someone professing that a green lifestyle is paramount to the future of the world. While they do make a solid argument, in all honesty, the majority of people aren’t willing to forgo the sweet environment that air conditioning brings. With that said, finding a way to green up your life a bit doesn’t need to be an effort in futility if you are looking to still enjoy the modern comforts of the world.


Thankfully finding a way to save energy and still enjoy the comforts of a cool house do not need to be mutually exclusive.  Even without one of the top rated central air conditioners on the market, these tips will apply to you. There are several ways to increase the efficiency of your HVAC systems but some ways are better than others.


The purpose of air conditioning is to keep heat out of the house and allow the cool air your AC system creates its easiest way to get into your home. The best way to keep your house cool in the summer is to keep the heat out in the first place. Many people plant trees to shade their house, and if you have a couple decades this is a great approach! For those of us that don’t thankfully there is a great way to keep the heat out. Close your shades or blinds during the day. The sun’s rays heat up whatever they hit, so if it hits the floor, furniture and so forth it is simply going to heat up your home. Many have reported savings up to 20% simply by closing their shades during sunny day.


The other great way to lower your cooling bills and save energy is to change your filter often. Companies are inundating consumers with advertisements for high tech allergen reducing filters that claim to last 3 months to a year.  Unfortunately, while that will indeed keep your air cleaner, it will also reduce the air flow through your coil and in turn slow the flow of cool air to your home. 


Additionally, if you do the same thing in the winter with your furnace, you are going to have furnace problems. Cracked heat exchangers and other furnace maladies are common in the winter for people who don’t change their filters often enough.  We recommend replacing the filter at least once per month. If you follow these two tips this summer you will save money on your electrical bill and use less energy at the same time.


Stay cool this summer!







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