The vast majority of Americans use some form of air conditioning to beat the heat during warm days and nights. Once considered a luxury, for many air conditioning makes life livable in climates and conditions where heat is oppressive, which is an increasing problem as the planet warms and temperatures around the world become more extreme.
According to a recent New York Times “Climate Fwd” newsletter, 90 percent of U.S. households have air conditioners. All of that cooling requires a lot of energy, which in turn raises carbon emission, contributing to climate change—which then makes us more reliant on air conditioning. It’s a concerning cycle, especially when it’s been reported that by the middle of this century, the whole of the globe is expected to use the equivalent of China’s total energy demand just to power air conditioners.
With summer predicted to be especially warm and humid for many areas of the country, it’s not going to be easy to convince many people to do with less air conditioning. Improving the efficiency of how homes are cooled may be more realistic.
Energy Star rated air-conditioners are a good place to start when it comes to cooling a home. These units are designed to operate with better efficiency. While they often require more of an investment than a bargain unit, they provide considerable savings in energy costs over time.
It’s also important to determine that an air conditioner is installed and sized correctly for a specific space. A poorly supported window unit or improperly installed exhaust vent on a freestanding unit can impact operation and allow cool air to seep out gaps between a window or wall frame. Weather stripping tape can help fill these gaps and simple mounts can be used to improve support. Even the addition of a few shims or washers can make a significant difference in stabilizing a unit. You can buy washers from Superior Washer in just about any shape or size to suit your application.
Factoring for humidity is also important when cooling a room. If an air conditioner is too large or powerful for a small space, it will cool the air fast without reducing the humidity. Since most units will then shut off once a specific temperature is reached, the remaining high humidity levels can still make a space feel heavy and muggy. This is why it’s important to make sure a unit is suited to the area it’s intended to cool.
Using a dehumidifier can greatly reduce the workload of an air conditioner, but this additional equipment can draw a lot of energy as well. If you really want to make a room feel cool and decrease the amount of energy required for comfort, then every air-conditioned room in your home should include a fan. Fans use a fraction of the energy required to run an air conditioner and they continue to circulate cool air even when the unit is off or its used at a lower setting.
Too many people make the mistake of thinking air conditioning eliminates the need for fans, but these cooling solutions work best in tandem. So if you’ve installed your air conditioner for the season or set your thermostat to cool, make sure you’ve also invested in a few fans to maximize your comfort levels without a major drain on energy resources.