Air conditioners are expensive to operate. They are usually the most energy-intensive appliance in a home and as electricity prices escalate, the amount of money required to operate them can be staggering.
This is one reason why so many homeowners are committed to operating their units appropriately and to purchasing air conditioners that boast the best power efficiency numbers.
That’s a great idea, too. Any time you can reduce your energy footprint you are making financial and environmental progress. Some of the best ways to decrease AC-related energy use, however, have absolutely nothing to do with the unit itself.
That’s because the best way to tax your air conditioner less is to create an environment that doesn’t require as much cooling. If you can make life easier for your AC, you’ll reap the advantages with greater system longevity and lower monthly bills.
How can you do that? There are some fairly easy ways. First, be certain that your home is properly insulated. A well-insulated home will retain cool air more effectively than one that hasn’t been treated properly. The need for insulation is often particularly pronounced in attic spaces, which are some of the worst offenders in terms of driving up interior temperatures.
Second, look for ways to deflect heat away from your home. Heavy drapes over windows, for instance, can keep a room cooler, making it easier for your air conditioner to finish the job. Exterior trees are another example. By shading the home, they deflect a great deal of heat.
Third, consider the use of radiant barriers. Radiant barriers are basically sheets of aluminum foil with a paper backing. When used in attics and other “hot” areas, they can deflect a great deal of heat, reducing the load on your AC.
Finally, consider your roof. Much of the heat that enters your home is originally absorbed by the roof. Traditional roofing materials tend to be dark, making them “heat magnets”. Although you may be able to find lighter-colored, more reflective roofing materials, a better bet might be to apply a reflective coating to your existing roof. This can make a significant dent in your interior temperature.
By combining strategies like these, you can reduce the interior temperature of your home. That’s going to make it easier for your AC to reach your preferred thermostat setting. That means you’ll be using less power and saving more money while enjoying a comfortable home.
Efficient air conditioning extends beyond the unit itself. It also involves the surrounding context of the home. If you can take action to reduce interior temperatures, you’ll extend the life of your AC and you’ll save on energy costs in the process. Considering how inexpensive many of the strategies for reducing home heat are, it makes perfect sense to pursue them in earnest.