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05-23-2006, 10:54 AM #1
Six Tips to Cut your Cooling Bills
Six Tips to Cut your Cooling Bills
Everyone needs affordable ways to beat the heat. With hot weather already upon us, now is the time to give your home a ?check-up?. Here are six tips from the Comfort Institute to make sure your summer electric bills don?t blow your cool!
1. Don?t run your clothes dryer when it?s hot out. Your dryer blows air out of your house when it?s drying clothes. And for every cubic foot of air it blows out, a cubic foot of hot outside air gets sucked in that your air conditioner has to cool down. Run your dryer late at night or early morning and you?ll have lower electric bills. Even better, use a ?solar powered? clothes dryer: a clothes line in the back yard!
2. Have your duct system tested for air leaks. Many think that windows and doors are the major cause of a home?s energy wasting air leaks. But according to recent research by the Department of Energy (DOE), gaps, joints and disconnections in the typical home?s duct system are much more significant. The DOE states that the typical duct system loses 25 percent to 40 percent of the energy put out by the central heat pump or air conditioner. Leaks are usually the biggest problem. Authorities recommend having a contractor seal them with a brushed-on ?mastic.? Duct tape often dries out and fails. It turns out duct tape is great for many things, but sealing ducts isn?t one of them!
3. Ask your air conditioning contractor to perform an Infiltrometer ?blower door? test. The blower door is a computerized instrument originally invented by the Department of Energy. It pinpoints where your home?s worst air leaks are, such as duct leaks, and also measures how leaky the overall house is. While most homes are still far too leaky, some are now quite tight, and need mechanical ventilation to ensure the air inside is fresh. Many contractors offer an Infiltrometer test as part of a ?Whole House Comfort Checkup? that also checks insulation levels and overall duct performance.
4. Replace your air conditioner or heat pump air filter. Most systems need this done every month to ensure safe and efficient operation. Some such as electronic air cleaners need to be thoroughly washed.
5. Have your air conditioner cleaned and tuned. A pre-season tune up is a great investment. It reduces the chances of breakdowns in the middle of summer and more than pays for itself through more energy efficient operation. Make sure the contractor cleans both the indoor and outdoor heat transfer coils, and checks refrigerant gas charge by measuring ?superheat? or ?subcooling.?
6. Consider replacing your old air conditioner or heat pump. Just like a car, central cooling equipment doesn?t last forever. If your system is over 12 years old, and you are planning to stay in your home more than a few years, many authorities recommend replacing it before it fails permanently. A new system improves comfort, is more dependable and creates less air pollution. New units are up to twice as energy efficient, which saves money on your monthly electric bills.
However, recent research has found that over 90 percent of newly installed high efficiency systems have energy wasting mistakes. For more information on all these issues, visit the Web site http://www.comfortinstitute.org. Check out the free reports ?Tips and Secrets To Buying A New Heating and Cooling System? and ?How To Identify a Good Heating and Cooling Contractor.?
Courtesy of ARA Content
EDITOR'S NOTE: Comfort Institute, Inc. is an international indoor comfort research, training and consumer protection organization based in Bellingham, Wash. with trainers and offices located throughout the United States and Canada.I'm a Freak!
07-12-2011, 06:16 PM #2
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