More than 90 percent of U.S. homes have air conditioners that use 6% of electricity produced in this country at an annual cost of $29 billion to homeowners and 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the environment.
Furthermore, those carbon emissions are predicted to double by 2050 at their current rate. Efficient and judicious air conditioning use is key to mitigating environmental impacts and can reduce your energy costs.
- Service your unit seasonally. The technician will check for leaks, top off refrigerant level if needed, and change the filter to keep your unit operating as efficiently as possible.
- Buy ENERGY STAR®. ENERGY STAR® certified central air conditioners have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings of at least 15, and use 8 percent less energy than conventional new models.
- Bigger is not always better! Buying an air conditioner that is too large does not provide better cooling. An oversized air conditioner is actually less effective and can leave humidity levels high. Ask for detailed information on how the company determined the size when installing a central unit. Try this sizing calculator by for window units.
- Manage solar gain. Close curtains or blinds and windows to trap cooler morning air in the house. In the evening, open to capture cooler air for the next day.
Fans really help! Ceiling fans help circulate air-conditioned air, helping us to feel cooler at higher temperatures and fans use 20 times less energy than air-conditioners.
The most efficient air conditioner available is compromised by a leaky house that lets conditioned air escape to the outside. As with heating, insulation and air sealing are key to maximizing the performance of your cooling system.
-Wilson Ratliff, LEAP Technical Director