Improving Your Carbon Footprint: Air Conditioning
Here in Georgia, things get pretty hot. And, with the added humidity, we have come to rely on our air conditioners. However, you may have heard that air conditioning is bad for the environment. Is that true? And if it is, how can you reduce your reliance on your AC without sacrificing your comfort? Below, we look at the impact air conditioning has on the environment and provide some tips on getting the most out of your AC while also staying ecoconscious.
Is Air Conditioning Bad for the Environment?
While old air conditioners used chlorofluorocarbons that depleted the ozone layer, modern systems rely on hydrofluorocarbons that do not harm the ozone. So, does this mean you can use your AC as much as you want without worrying about the environment? Not exactly. Today's main issue with air conditioning is how much energy it needs to run. Of the average homeowner's monthly energy consumption during the summer, their AC usage accounts for around 50%.
The problem with increased energy usage is that most electric power plants in the US rely on fossil fuels to create that energy. As fossil fuels are burned to produce the energy you need to run your AC, they release harmful emissions into the environment, such as carbon dioxide. These emissions can contribute to climate change.
How to Stay Cool & Help the Planet
With concerns over climate change and the depletion of our natural resources, many people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Where we struggle is with what to do about our AC usage. With the summer heat and humidity, we can't go without cooling. So what should you do? Keep reading to find out!
Eco Tip #1: Maximize Your Energy Efficiency
One of the best ways to maximize your air conditioner's energy efficiency is to keep your system well-maintained. A system in good repair will run more efficiently than one that is not. An efficient system cools much more effectively and does not need to run as often. This also means you will use less energy overall, which is good for both the planet and your wallet.
It is recommended that you schedule AC maintenance seasonally (springtime is best) to ensure that your air conditioner is ready for the summer ahead. During your maintenance visit, your AC technician will review and clean your system, replacing air filters, checking coolant levels, and identifying any repair issues. All of this contributes to keeping your system running at peak performance.
Additionally, systems that are taken care of tend to last longer, meaning you won't have to replace it as soon, thereby contributing less to landfills. One of the major problems we face today is overconsumption and an overreliance on disposable goods.
Eco Tip #2: Install a Smart Thermostat
Installing a smart thermostat can help you further improve the energy efficiency of your cooling system. Smart thermostats have become very sophisticated in recent years. In addition to intuitive scheduling functions and eco-modes, you can even control your AC from your smartphone when you aren't even home!
Common smart thermostat features that can help you improve your energy efficiency include:
- Room sensors
- Proximity sensors
- Geofencing/Home Away functions
- Vacation modes
- Eco modes
Many smart thermostats also create energy tracking reports to help you understand how you use your system and how your system uses energy.
Eco Tip #3: Rely Less on Your Air Conditioner
While not using an air conditioner isn't an option (homes can become superheated in the summer, leading to dangerous conditions for you, your family, and your pets), you can reduce your reliance on your AC. This is achieved through finding ways to support your cooling system and ensuring that the conditioned air is well-circulated throughout your home.
Things you can do to reduce your reliance on your AC include:
- Utilize ceiling fans and room fans to help circulate air
- Keep blinds and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the days
- Ensure that all vents and registers are open and not blocked by furniture
- Open windows in the evenings, at night, or early in the morning when it is cooler outside than in
- Make sure your doors and windows are effectively sealed to avoid cooling loss
- Keep your air ducts clean and in good repair
If you are looking for help improving your HVAC system's energy efficiency, reach out to Premier Indoor Comfort Systems. Our air conditioning experts can help you with everything from routine maintenance to helpful tips and tricks for keeping your home cool without overusing your AC.