Reduce Your Air Conditioning Load Without Breaking a Sweat

Air conditioning has had an amazing ripple effect with its impact on where and how we live and work. Air conditioning also places a tremendous load on our electric systems and fuel used to produce the electricity needed, especially at the hottest time of the day, when peak load electricity may be needed to keep up with the air conditioning. So what to do?

Just a few things you can do to stay cool and help your wallet, the electricity loads and your community.

Inside your home

  • Service your Air Conditioning system annually. This preventative maintenance will keep your unit running well and head off bigger issues down the road.
  • Change your filter regularly. Check your owners’ manual (call me if you need to find it online) for manufacturer’s recommended schedule.  If in doubt, change your filter every 3 months. Besides helping your AC to run more efficiently, this helps keep your inside air cleaner.
  • Keep HVAC air supply and return vents clean and free of clutter or obstructions to help optimize efficiency.
  • Install and use ceiling fans. The moving air from the fan makes occupants feel cooler, allowing the thermostat to be set a little higher.  Installing a fan is a beautiful decorative accent as well.  When it’s not too warm, use just the fan (or a freestanding fan) instead of the air conditioner
  • Replace light bulbs with LED bulbs. They will reduce the load on your air conditioner (traditional incandescent bulbs create a lot of heat!
  • Install and use window treatments. Window treatments don’t just look good, but they can also help control light and heat – protecting your furnishings and helping reduce your utility bills. Close curtains during the day to prevent heat and solar gain. Blinds and curtains that diffuse or direct the light are especially helpful on east and west windows to help control glare.
  • When buying a new air conditioner, choose an energy –efficient model and have it sized using ACCA certified Manual J and S software to ensure you are getting the best size unit for your home. Every house and its residents is unique and requires this step to ensure this large investment is the best one. Learn more about choosing an air conditioner.

Outside your home

  • Plant trees near your home to provide shade and keep it naturally cool.
  • Keep outside Air Conditioning (or heat pump) unit (the condenser) clean and free of clutter or obstructions to help optimize efficiency.
  • Shade your outside Air Conditioning (or heat pump) unit. You may wish to consult a professional for the best way to do this since you do want to obstruct the unit and they put off quite a breeze when operating.

To read more about keeping your cool this summer, check out  Home Cooling Tips That Help You Beat The Heat.

Here’s to keeping your cool the rest of this summer!


Everyday Green Home

History of Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning Made the South What It Is, by David Shi

Central Air Conditioning, EPA

Kids Guide to Climate Change, EPA

Choosing an Air Conditioner