Question: No one likes living in a hot house in the summer, but the answer isn't to move into a freezer — especially since freezer temps use a lot of expensive energy — so where do I begin?
Buying a new air conditioner gives you a chance to assess your cooling needs so you can save money and energy as you chill. Is it adequate to cool individual rooms or floors, or do you need a whole house system? How well insulated is the space you're cooling? A tighter room is cheaper to moderate than one that leaks cooled air out, and allows hot air in. Are south-facing windows shaded (either by curtains, or outdoor awnings and trees) to reduce the amount of hot sunlight entering the room?
Here are five ways to start your search for energy-efficient cooling:
- Use tutorials and online tools to help you calculate how much cooling capacity will make you comfortable.
- When you do decide to buy a new air conditioner, choose an Energy Star model, and you may save 10% or more on energy costs. Consumersearch.com product reviews showcase some of the best available options.
- Make sure to choose a model that includes an energy-saving programmable thermostat, so you can easily turn the unit off or down during the day when no one is home.
- People have a tendency to feel hotter in a more humid environment. If you live in a sticky summer climate, use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity, and a fan to create cooling breezes.
- Whether you use a dehumidifier or not, an energy-efficient fan can supplement your other air conditioning solutions.
Diane MacEachern is the author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, and a popular blog, Big Green Purse.