With the hot and humid climate of Southwest Florida, cooling costs are high enough without appliances and other heat sources adding to your energy costs. By taking steps to lower heat gain in your home, you can keep your cooling costs to a minimum and reduce your energy usage.
Use Exhaust Fans
Activities like cooking, washing dishes, washing clothes and bathing can release excess heat and humidity into the air. Turn on exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom when these activities are necessary, and avoid performing these tasks during the hottest parts of the day.
Minimize Appliance Use
Many appliances like dishwashers, irons, coffee pots and clothes dryers generate significant amounts of heat when used. Avoid using such appliances until it’s cooler, such as during the evening, and turn off heat-generating electronics and lights during the daytime. Computers, set-top boxes and game systems often produce significant amounts of heat. Also, turn your water heater down to 120 degrees to save energy and reduce heat gain, and replace incandescent light bulbs with cooler, more efficient LED or CFL bulbs.
Shade Your Windows
Southern and western windows can let in large amounts of heat from the sun during the daytime. Install curtains, blinds or shades on these windows and close them during the daytime to minimize solar gain. Open the windows during cooler times, like the evening, to allow natural ventilation. Another option is to install exterior awnings over the windows or to extend the roof to provide shade, while still allowing the windows to be opened.
Other steps that you can take to lower heat gain in your home include using trees and shrubs to shade your windows and air conditioner, using light-colored materials for roofing or siding, and sealing any holes or drafts in the exterior of your home.
For more tips to lower heat gain in your home, talk to our cooling experts at Conditioned Air. We serve Ft. Myers, Sarasota, Naples and beyond.
In the hot and humid climate of Southwest Florida, air conditioning is practically a necessity during the hottest parts of the year, and a quality system can increase the value of your home significantly. Many older homes lack a central air conditioning system, so here are a few tips that will help when installing air conditioning in an older home:
Prepare Your Home
For an air conditioning system to run efficiently without dramatically increasing your energy costs, your home must be reasonably sealed and insulated. Drafts around windows, doors and other penetrations in your exterior walls can allow cool air to escape, significantly increasing your cooling costs, and a lack of insulation will make it hard for your home to maintain a cool temperature. Before installing air conditioning in an older home, consider having an energy evaluation done to find out where your home needs proper sealing and additional insulation.
Choose a System Type
If your home has existing ducts for a furnace, adding a central air conditioning system can be a relatively inexpensive choice. If, however, ducts must be added, the costs will increase dramatically. In that case, you may want to consider adding a ductless mini-split system, which can cool one or more rooms without the need for traditional air ducts. If you are upgrading your heating system at the same time, another option may be a heat pump, which requires air ducts, but can both heat and cool your home efficiently and cost-effectively.
Size It Correctly
Often, especially in older homes, air conditioners are oversized to compensate for any problems with air leaks or poor insulation. An air conditioner that isn’t properly sized will run inefficiently, increasing energy costs. Oversized systems will cycle on and off frequently, preventing proper dehumidification and stressing components like the blower motor and fans. Systems that are too small will work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. A professional should be used to size the system, using the proper Manual J procedures.
For more tips on installing air conditioning in an older home, talk to our team at Conditioned Air.
A dependable air conditioning system is vital to weathering the hot and humid conditions of Southwest Florida comfortably, but as your system ages, it may become ineffective at cooling, inefficient and expensive to operate. Here are a few signs that indicate upgrading your air conditioner may be a wise investment:
It Requires Frequent and Expensive Repairs
Air conditioners require annual maintenance to run efficiently and properly, but if your air conditioner starts requiring frequent repairs to keep it running, or if a major component like the condenser or compressor must be replaced, it may be time to consider upgrading your air conditioner. As those repair bills start to add up — especially on an older system — they can quickly approach the cost of a new, much more efficient air conditioner.
It Runs Inefficiently
As an air conditioner ages, it will begin to run less efficiently, reducing your comfort and significantly increasing your energy costs. While some of that efficiency may be gained back through frequent maintenance, eventually the costs of operating the system will outweigh the benefits, especially if it’s an older model with a SEER rating of less than 13. Today’s most efficient air conditioners have SEER ratings of over 20, which can significantly reduce your cooling costs, often by over 20 percent.
It’s Over 10 Years Old
If your system is over 10 years old, it’s time to consider an upgrade. Most air conditioners have a usable lifespan of 10 to 12 years. If your air conditioner is showing signs of age like reduced efficiency, strange noises, or increased maintenance costs (and it has already had a long life), upgrading to a new, more efficient model will improve your comfort and reduce your energy costs significantly.
By upgrading your air conditioner, you can not only save money on your cooling costs, but you can also make sure that your system will operate reliably through even the highest temperatures. Talk to our team at Conditioned Air in Southwest Florida to learn about the latest in energy-efficient air conditioning systems.