Even if your home has the most efficient central air conditioner available, heat and humidity from inside your home could be reducing its efficiency, resulting in higher cooling bills. The reason is that many of today's, tightly sealed, well insulated homes are great at trapping heat and humidity from appliances and other sources.
While simple steps like closing blinds to block the sun, and running ceiling fans to circulate the cool air near the living space can make a big difference, there are many sources of heat and humidity inside the home that can reduce the efficiency of a cooling system. Here are some things to look for:
1. Turn off incandescent bulbs. Because most of the energy from incandescent bulbs goes to generating heat rather than light, turning them off or using a dimmer will reduce heat significantly. Better yet, replace old light bulbs with cooler lighting options like CFL or LED light bulbs. They will convert more of their energy into light, thereby operating much cooler.
2. Install the thermostat away from windows and heat sources like lamps and TVs. With the popularity of wireless, smart thermostats, many homeowners are installing the devices in a less than optimum location. A thermostat should be on an interior wall away from air ducts and electrical appliances that can cause it to read higher than normal temperatures. Interior hallways are usually a good place to mount a thermostat.
3. During hot weather, use an outside grill or cook with a microwave instead of the oven or range. Kitchens are a main source of heat and humidity inside the home. During hot weather consider skipping the oven and stove and cook outside instead.
4. Ensure that your clothes dryer and bathroom exhaust fans are venting outside and not into the attic. An improperly installed bathroom or dryer vent can lead to excessive heat and humidity, which can also create an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow. If your bathroom or laundry room experience high levels of heat and humidity, ensure that an exhaust fan is installed and is powerful enough to clear the air.
5. Dry clothes outside. Dryers not only generate a lot of heat, but also a lot of humidity. Also ensure that the dryer vent it well connected and not leaking warm air inside the home.
6. Skip the heat dry cycle on your dishwasher. Another common source of hot, humid air inside the home is the dishwasher. The drying cycle of a dishwasher generates a lot of warm, humid air, so allow the dishes to dry at cooler temperature if possible.
7. Use a water heater blanket to reduce heat loss and make your water heater operate more efficiently. While most tanks are well insulated, a blanket will ensure it isn't wasting energy.
8. Turn off the gas supply to fireplaces and heaters. Pilot lights generate heat and waste natural gas.
Have questions about keeping your home cool? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning we're here to help.