As an environmentally conscious homeowner, you may be wondering how you can reduce your HVAC system's environmental impact. Although new AC units are much more energy-efficient than they were just a few years ago, they can still eat up a large portion of your energy usage. So if you're having a new unit installed, now is a good time to think about reducing its effect on the environment. Here are ten ways you can work on making your HVAC system more eco-friendly.
Anything that obstructs the airflow your AC unit needs can make it work harder to access the same amount of air, causing it to expend more energy on its job. Keep the area around your outdoor unit free of weeds and vegetation and other obstructions, and make sure you change the filter regularly so airflow into the duct isn't obstructed by a full, dusty filter.
2. Annual maintenance
Having your local HVAC contractor come out and check the coolant level and other important aspects of your AC function is an important part of getting ready for each summer. Low coolant levels can greatly reduce your AC's efficiency and even cause the coils to freeze up.
3. Duct cleaning
When you have professionals come out and clean your ducts, they not only vacuum pollutants out of the ducts themselves but also clean the parts of the AC unit that are accessed via the ducts. Dust-free AC components can remove heat from the air more efficiently because dust has insulatory qualities.
4. Cool roof coating
One of the easiest ways to cool your roof is by covering it with a cool roof coating. This coating helps keep the roof from absorbing heat and transferring it to your house. In other words, it keeps your house cooler naturally so that your AC won't have to run as often.
Insulation doesn't just help keep heat in during the winter; it also helps keep heat out during the summer. The better insulated your home is, the less energy your AC unit will have to use and the more eco-friendly your summer cooling will be.
6. Electricity source
If you can source your electricity from a company that uses solar, wind, or geothermal energy rather than fossil fuels, make the switch as soon as possible. Burning fossil fuels puts greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which you should avoid doing if you want to be more eco-friendly.
Fans can not only help you stay comfortable at a slightly higher temperature, allowing you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher to save energy; they can also help push heat out of your attic when placed strategically by attic vents. This will help get any heat that your roof does accumulate out of your house before your AC system has to deal with it.
Shade is another great way to take the burden off your AC unit and let it run less frequently. You can use shade trees, bushes, vines, or shade sails. Shading any part of your house can help, but the windows are a good place to start because they can account for a large portion of overall heat gain.
9. Programmable thermostat
A programmable thermostat is a must for an environmentally responsible homeowner. You can set it to raise the house temperature while you're away and lower it in time for your arrival home, letting the AC unit rest longer and work less but still keeping the temperature comfortable while you're home.
10. Energy Star AC unit
One of the most important factors in AC efficiency, and one that's crucial to consider when you're having an AC unit installed, is starting with an efficiently built model. Check the SEER rating to see if a unit is able to function in an eco-friendly manner.