As the summer heats up, take a load off your energy bill by lowering your home’s cooling load.
Keeping heat and sunlight out of your home as much as possible is one of the simplest ways to reduce the load on your cooling system.
Cut heat gain by a third through strategic planting of trees, and insulating and ventilating your attic.
- Deciduous trees provide shade in the summer and allow the sunlight to pass through in the winter after they lose their leaves. Plant trees on the west and southwest sides of your house for best shading results.
- Ensure your attic is properly insulated to avoid what amounts to a giant radiator hovering over the rest of your house. A professional HVAC contractor can assess your attic as part of a home energy evaluation.
- Having attic ventilation installed will cool your hot attic in the summer while also preventing moisture from collecting on the insulation.
Seal windows, doors and ducts:
- Check windows and doors for air leaks. Seal leaks with caulk and weatherstripping.
- If you have unshaded, single-shade windows, you’re probably allowing about 85 percent of the heat in the sunlight to enter your home. Sun screens, reflective films and shades can block 40 to 75 percent of solar heat.
- If you have older windows, consider installing energy-efficient, Energy Star-rated windows.
- In homes with central air conditioning, leaky ducts can add a lot to your cooling load. Sealing ducts can save you 10 to 25 percent or more on cooling costs. Professional duct sealing by a certified HVAC contractor will ensure greatest efficiency and the best energy savings.
Help your air conditioner:
- Keep your air conditioner between 74 and 78 degrees to curb your cooling load. Set to 85 degrees, or turn it off, when you’re away.
- Use ceiling and room fans to bring extra comfort.
- If you have an older air system, consider replacing with a more energy-efficient air conditioner.
Have your cooling system inspected and tuned up every spring by a professional HVAC technician to ensure it’s operating efficiently. If you haven’t done it yet this summer, there’s no time like the present.
For more expert tips on cooling and other home comfort topics, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We’ve been serving the Metro-East area since 1951.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about cooling loads and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.