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Go With The Airflow: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Air Conditioner With Efficient Airflow

Getting the best value for money from your air conditioning system is high priority for everyone. Whether you need your home to be cool or warm, you need to ensure that its airflow is efficient enough to run the system effectively and in a cost-effective way.

Although some of today’s smart thermostats are making claims to save money on energy bills, they’re not going to give the best effect if you haven’t optimized your home for efficient airflow. If you’re dreading opening your energy bill, there are a few things you can try to ensure your HVAC system works to cool and heat your house as efficiently as possible.

Avoid Closing All The Vents

If the lower floor of your home generally feels cooler than the upper floor, you might think that closing all the downstairs vents will help to push the air conditioning upstairs. However, this is a very bad idea.

If you close your vents your system will be using more energy since the system will have to work harder, pushing past the higher pressure which the closed vents have created. This is especially true if your system has a variable speed fan which automatically changes speeds. Older systems usually have a fan which operates at a steady speed, however even this is bad news when you close lots of vents as the fan will be slowed down and there will less airflow.

Also, if you don’t have sealed ductwork, the extra pressure may push air conditioned or heated air through cracks and into the attic rather than into the living space. Although you may think that closing vents will do the job, due to the design of HVAC systems, it won’t have the effect you’re hoping for.

Although it seems counter-intuitive to leave your vents open all the time, this is the best way to ensure efficiency and to make sure that your air flow is more efficient around your entire property.

Check Your Air Filter

Although manufacturers of air filters usually tell you that you need to change your HVAC air filter around every 3 months, you might need to do it more often depending on how frequently you run your air conditioning or heating. Check it each week for build up of dirt and debris, and as soon as it begins to look visibly dirty it’s time to change it.

You also need to think about how thick your air filter is. They all come with their own MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) which will be a figure of between 1 and 16. Whenever possible, going for one with a higher number will help to optimize your air flow. 16 is the highest rating and will catch more particles than a lower rated filter, keeping your air cleaner and more free from allergens and particles.

However, not every HVAC system can handle higher rated air filters, so it’s very important to check to make sure that yours can cope with such a thick filter before you use one. While a thick air filter works well to catch allergens, it also restricts the airflow substantially, so your system needs a suitably powerful fan to handle it otherwise you run the risk of damaging your system and causing a costly breakdown.

Don’t Run The HVAC Fan Unless You Have To

Although popular opinion holds that running your HVAC fan all the time, even if your air conditioning isn’t on, will cool your house down more, however it doesn’t actually achieve that effect. Although running the fan permanently will work to circulate the air, it won’t necessarily be any cooler, and, in fact, running your HVAC fan all the time could make the house even more humid and it will also increase your energy bills.

Check The HVAC System Yourself

Although getting your HVAC system checked by a professional is important, you can inspect several of its components yourself to ensure that it’s running properly.

Check the A/C condenser outside and get rid of any obstructions like bushes or shades, and check the flames being produced by the furnace. If they’re flickering orange, you need to get professional help.

Check the air conditioner unit by removing its cover panel and inspecting its evaporator coils and fins. If you see dirt building up, you can clean it or vacuum it, however if you see ice on them, call a professional to help.

Insulate Your Attic

Having good insulation will keep your home cool in the summer months and warm in the winter, and your attic is a good place to start. You may also have poor airflow in the attic, so make sure that you have ventilation in there in the form of exhaust and intake vents. If your insulation is blocking the intake vents it will be restricting the airflow, so make sure that you remove any obstructions.

Improve Your Windows

Although investing in new windows can slash your energy bills, especially if your windows have single panes, there are ways of achieving the same results in a more cost-effective way. Fitting weather stripping around windows and doors and using plastic film to cover the windows in the winter will help to prevent drafts and cut costs.

While you’re looking for drafts, plug any other air leaks that you find around your home. Cracks and gaps can cause cool and hot air to escape outside your home and make your air conditioning system work harder, costing you more.

Closing Doors And Windows

Conditioned air escapes easily from your home if you leave your doors and windows open. We all need to air our homes from time to time, but when you’re doing this, make sure your air conditioner is switched off otherwise you’ll be paying to cool down your whole neighborhood.

Program Your Thermostat

If you’re always adjusting your thermostat your system will run for longer than required and that will lead to more frequent off and on cycles making your home less comfortable. Just program your thermostat to your chosen temperature and then leave it alone

Remember that setting your thermostat at a low temperature doesn’t mean your home will be cooled down any more rapidly, and in fact the system will simply run for longer, driving your utility bills up even higher.

Routine Maintenance

 

One of the most vital things about optimizing your home’s airflow is ensuring you get your HVAC system checked on an annual basis by a HVAC professional. Having routine maintenance every year will make sure that the system stays in top shape and functioning at its expected level of efficiency.

A qualified HVAC technician will be able to give your whole system a tune up, spot any potential problems before they develop into major issues that could cause a breakdown and make sure that everything is clean and oiled ready to function perfectly.

If you follow these tips, you’ll find that your home’s airflow will be greatly improved, saving you money on the cost of running your HVAC system to cool or warm your house, and keeping your home a more comfortable place to live.

Reduce Summer Energy Costs with These Hacks

All of you who love to open your energy bill and see a ridiculous increase in your monthly costs, please raise your hand. We didn’t think so. Every summer, millions of Americans experience just that, muttering profanities under their breath, staring in disbelief, trying to decipher kilowatt hours and their summer energy costs. Following those profanities, they consider implementing a household ban: no soul shall touch the air conditioner or the fan, we will roast alive instead.

Such drastic measures aren’t necessary: there are quite a few ways to reduce summer energy costs and save your wallet from the perils of ballooning energy bills. Whether you want to reduce your energy consumption in general, or you simply want to lend Mother Earth a helping hand, Stadtler is here to help.

 

Windows

For many climates, running your air conditioning throughout the evening just isn’t necessary: the cool nighttime air and lack of sun can do wonders for naturally cooling your home. Turn off your AC and open your windows at night, and, in the morning, shut your windows and drapes to trap the cool air already circulating within.

 

Furthermore, you can install window treatments or awnings to shade your windows, a strategy that will not only provide a little decorating pop but add some tremendous shading power. Some awnings have been proven to reduce solar heat by an astonishing 65-75%! Compared to older models, today’s awnings are much more efficient and last substantially longer. Opt for units that are water repellent, mold resistant, and light-colored—lighter colors are better at reflecting sunlight than their darker counterparts. Ensure that your selection has proper ventilation in the form of eyelets or grommets so that air can flow through. As well, look for models that roll up or retract in the winter so you can capture sunlight to warm your home when you need it.

 

Leakage

Window leaks are more common than you would imagine, especially if you have older windows. Search for leaks and seal them ( conversely, this will be of great importance as you seek to heat your home come winter). Make sure to purchase a door stopper to line the bottom of any doors may that leak air.

 

Drapes

summer, energy, costs, curtain

Closing blinds and drapes is an excellent technique for avoiding the direct sunlight that turns homes into broilers. If you can stand a little summer darkness, awesome: draw your blinds and drapes. If you must bask in daylight, try drawing the blinds and closing curtains in rooms that are not being used. This action alone is perfect for countering the sun’s greenhouse effect.

 

Air Conditioning

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s recommended that you set your AC to 78 degrees during the summer months (if you can stand it, set it a bit higher). The goal is to create the least amount of difference between the soaring outside temperatures and your home’s interior, the result being lower energy bills from an AC unit that isn’t working overtime to cool your home. This little technique alone can amount to hundreds of dollars saved per year. When you’re more interested in maximizing savings as opposed to turning your home into a meat locker, this strategy will give you the most bang for your energy saving buck.

 

But how often do you clean your air conditioner? Are you growing a two-inch thick layer of dust over your filter, forcing your unit to work harder as a result? Be sure to clean your unit’s filter at least once a month to keep it running at optimum levels.

 

When using window AC units, check for leakage around the window units and plug accordingly, as you don’t want your precious cool air escaping outside.

 

And of course, there’s no reason to cool rooms that aren’t being used, which include empty guest rooms and vacant bedrooms. Close vents, close doors, let your unused rooms cook.

 

Water Heaters

During the summer months, you’re far more likely to enjoy a cool shower, especially after spending a day in the blistering summer heat. Consider turning down the heat on your water heater during the summer months to a range of 115 to 120 degrees, another significant contribution to reducing your summer energy bills.

 

Put Your Ceiling Fan To Work

energy, heating, summer

Is it always necessary to run your air conditioner? Probably not. Instead, your ceiling fan can put in some serious work when it comes to keeping your home cool, especially when paired with cooler evening air. One of the most important things that people forget during the summer months is the following: switch your fans so they rotate in a counter-clockwise movement, which forces cool air downward. The counterclockwise direction is optimal for the summer months, while the opposite is optimal for cooler seasons. As well, there’s no need to have your fan running with no one benefitting from it. If you’re the last person out of the room, be sure to turn the fan off.

 

Cooking

If you’re baking casseroles and cupcakes in the summer, your house is going to feel like the Mojave. Cooking warms your home significantly in the summer. But one must eat, of course. Instead of running the oven or stove, grill outside, a delicious alternative where you can cook a substantial amount food at one time (great for freezing and eating throughout the week) without turning the whole house into a sauna.

 

Unplug and Save

If you want to save a little extra on your summer energy bills, unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t being used on a regular basis. These sleeping electronics contribute significantly to your energy costs over the summer through a process called “phantom load”—engery usage during non-use. If you’re using surge protectors, flick off the power to several unused items with the press of a button.

 

Appliances & Technology

Most modern technology is Energy Star certified, but you may have some pieces in your home that are not. Consider upgrading the usual suspects—refrigerators, air conditioners, etc.— to ensure that they adhere to the EPA’s energy efficiency guidelines. This action is not only great for keeping your costs down, but also for the environment.

 

Secondly, manually managing your thermostat on a daily basis is completely old school. If possible, upgrade to a programmable unit that will take the repetition and guesswork from the equation and help you put your energy saving techniques on autopilot.

 

And don’t forget the light bulbs! If you haven’t already, replace your current fleet of light bulbs with Energy Star rated models. Also, fluorescent lights are known to generate less heat than other model bulbs.

 

Together, these energy and cost-reducing tactics will help reduce your summer energy costs and save you from the weak knees and dizziness resulting from opening a massive power bill. When you’ve leveraged all of these summer energy hacks and it comes time to do some serious cooling work, be sure to remember your friends at Stadler Heating and Cooling. We’ve been serving the Illinois community’s heating, cooling, and air quality needs for decades and would love the opportunity to help you tackle the summer heat.

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