Three Ways To Get The Most Bang For Your Air Conditioning Buck!

Posted on: 15 July 2014

Even though most people agree that home air conditioning has evolved from a luxury to a necessity, the utility bills that come with this cool comfort can still be quite painful. Many recent improvements in the air conditioning industry have made the newer systems much more efficient and cheaper to operate than ever before. If you are thinking about investing in a new air conditioning system as a way to cut home cooling costs, the following information can help you get the maximum amount of return on this investment.

Upgrading Insulation

Keeping expensive cooled air in and hot, humid air out is the key to a comfortable home during the air conditioning season and insulation is a big part of what makes this possible. If your home is more than a few years old, chances are it could use an insulation update.

Its R-Value measures the thermal performance of insulation, with higher values providing a more insulated effect. Older homes with original insulation may have an R-value of 13 or less in the attic, even though current insulation guidelines from the Department of Energy suggest an R-value of 38 or more for the attics of most homes, depending on its geographical location and climate. A detailed map and more guidelines for suggested amounts of insulation in ceilings, walls, floors and other areas can be accessed here.

New technology has also created much more efficient insulation products. These include improved versions of the old standard batt and blown products, as well as new spray foams and radiant barrier insulations that make sealing cracks, crevices and deflecting the rays of the hot summer sun even easier than ever before. More complete information on insulation types, approximate costs and the good and bad points of each type is available here.

Make Duct Improvements

Poorly designed ducts, or those that are uninsulated or need repairs, can waste a tremendous amount of both cooled and heated air. If they are very outdated or dilapidated, a total replacement may be the best option. However, since this usually involves removing drywall and extensive repairs to ceilings, walls and floors, insulating and repairing all visible sections of ducting is the route most homeowners choose.

Start by thoroughly inspecting all the exposed ductwork in your home. Typically, most of the exposed areas will be in the unfinished parts of your home, such as the attic, crawlspace and unfinished basement. Even if your basement is finished, you may still be able to access your ducts if the ceiling is made of lightweight removable ceiling tiles.

As you inspect your ducts, use a good foil furnace tape to seal any seams, holes and cracks that you find. Avoid using actual duct tape, as it is not as strong as foil furnace tape and deteriorates much more quickly. Insulating the exposed ducts will also help limit air and temperature loss in these exposed areas.

Replace Both For Maximum Benefit

In an effort to save money, some homeowners make the mistake of replacing only part of their HVAC system. Unfortunately, the heating and air conditioning systems in most models are designed to share some components, such as the blower motor.

Although technically part of the furnace, the air conditioner uses the blower motor to deliver cool air to the home. If the air conditioner is a newly installed, high efficiency model, but the blower is not, the system will not deliver the promised efficiency and can even suffer damage that will shorten its lifespan. Replacing all the components at the same time, including both interior and exterior components is the best way to ensure maximum efficiency from the new system.

If you are serious about making your home as cool and comfortable as possible, without destroying your utility budget, consulting with a local central air conditioning installation specialist is the best place to start. They can look at your individual situation, give you more information and make recommendations that will keep you cool for less!