Seasonal Tips: Air Conditioning

Posted By: Jessica Garrett Categories: Appliances, Seasonal Tips, Ventilation

It’s official, summer is here! Time to enjoy the rising temperatures in the great outdoors. After a long day of fun in the sun, nothing feels better than a cool place to retreat from the summer heat.

Some of us prefer this method of cooling down from the summer heat.

But what about once we move indoors? As a homeowner, you have a choice: move the entire family down to the basement where insulation keeps temperatures naturally low or invest in an efficient air conditioning system that cools the entire house. Some homeowners combine both practices to make their house a comfortable place during these summer months.

Which Type of Air Conditioner Is Right for Me

In choosing what kind of air conditioner to install, there are a few things to consider: Where do you and your family spend the most time during the day? Which rooms are most exposed to outside heat? The first thing you must do is size your air conditioning system to fit your needs. A system that is too large works great to get the house cool fast. However, an over-sized system often fails to remove enough moisture from the air. If you live where summers are hot and humid, excess moisture will make the cooled rooms very uncomfortable. Remember, it costs much less to keep one or two rooms cool than it does to run a centralized air conditioning system.

Ducted Central Air Systems – Entire Home

If you are looking to cool your entire house and have adequate space for duct-work, consider “split system” central air conditioning. An outdoor condenser connects to an indoor coil by pipes carrying refrigerant. The refrigerant dehumidifies and cools the air, and a blower forces the conditioned air through the duct-work to all areas of the home. The best part? You can set it and forget it – the system takes care of your entire home.

If you live in a mild climate, consider installing a “heat pump.” The “heat pump” is a second type of ducted central air conditioning. This system pumps heat from the house in the summer and brings heat into the house in the winter.

Pipe Systems – Same Effect, Less Space

Want the same effects as ducting, but don’t have the space? If you don’t mind pipes that go from room to room, check into a central air system that uses water pipes to distribute chilled water to heat exchangers installed in each room.

Split Ductless Systems – Room to Room Control

Do you like the thought of individual control of the air conditioning in each room? A split ductless system might be exactly what you want. These systems are permanently mounted and work similar to central air systems. The indoor units, which each have a blower, connect by tubing to the outside condenser. Each unit mounts high on the wall and has its own remote control.

Removable Units for Individual Rooms – Portability

Do you want an air conditioner that you can move from room to room? Look into a portable air conditioner on wheels. You simply position the unit’s heat exhaust tube to vent out of a window or through a wall opening.

Would you like an inexpensive air-conditioning unit that you can install yourself? Choose a window-mounted room air conditioner (double-hung windows required). These units are self-contained and usually run on 110-volt electricity. They may weigh upwards of 100 pounds, so you might want help positioning the unit.

Cost-Saving Tips

To install an air conditioner and keep it running can prove a costly endeavor. So, we have a few tips that will help save on your monthly bill.

1) Plant leafy trees or shrubs that provide shade for your air conditioner. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a shaded air-conditioning unit uses up to 10 percent less energy than one that is exposed to full sun

2) Whenever the humidity level in a room is high, set your air conditioner at a slower fan speed. The slower speed allows the conditioner to remove more moisture from the air than when set on high. When there is less humidity in the air, you feel comfortable at higher temperatures and don’t need to run the air conditioner as often.

3) Be sure to keep your air conditioner well maintained, whether you do the work yourself or hire a professional. Keep the filters clean, and don’t allow anything to block the air intake. If you are using a window air-conditioning unit, make sure that it is level and is well supported

4) If you have an older air conditioner, you might want to replace it with one that has an energy-efficient rating. By doing so, you may cut your bill for air conditioning in half.