4 energy-efficient cooling options for summer

| July 26, 2013

Summer’s here, and high power bills will only make you feel the heat more. Worry not. Energy-efficient cooling is just a few steps away with these tips that will leave you wondering, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’

Air conditioners ahoy

Think of your house as an envelope. You need to seal cracks and crevices for effective insulation. Make sure the ducts of your air conditioner are sealed. Insulate ducts running through attics, crawl spaces, and basements. United Power, a Colorado electricity cooperative has found that well insulated ducts can reduce cooling costs by 20 to 30 percent.

When you turn on the air conditioner, keep the thermostat at 78 F. Raising the air conditioner thermostat by just one degree can save three percent of your cooling expenses, depending on the size of your home. Since air conditioners also dehumidify the air, you can stay cool even if you set your unit to a higher temperature. A programmable thermostat can ensure you don’t waste energy at night.

Fans are fantastic

Ceiling fans are a front runner in this list of energy-efficient ideas. They can make the temperate seem a full ten degrees cooler, and swapping out the AC for ceiling fans will save 25% on your cooling costs. Although fans might not actually bring down the temperature in a room, they make you feel cooler, because they move air across the skin allowing sweat to evaporate.

energy-efficient cooling

Installing a ceiling fan is easy. From Roger Mommaerts.

If you wear light clothing, you’re likely to feel comfortable at temperatures between 72 F and 78 F. To feel comfortable at 82 F, you need to create airflow at 1.7 mph, which is easy for even a slow moving fan to achieve.

Choose the cooling option that is most suited for your climate. If you live in a low-humidity area, you can opt for an evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler. It uses just a quarter of the energy of refrigerated air and works by circulating air over pads that have been soaked in cold water. These coolers cost between $200 to $ 600.

A whole-house fan can reduce your energy use by 90 percent when compared to an air conditioner. Fans like these pull air from open windows on ground floors and send it out through the roof to reduce the temperature inside your home. They can cost from $150 to $400.

Make the most of windows

Are you using your windows strategically? Sunlight pouring into your house can increase heat by 40 percent, forcing your cooling system to work two to three times harder. In the morning, shut windows and draw drapes on the east- and south-facing sides of your home. At the same time, open windows and drapes on the north and west facing sides. This way, you won’t let heat from the rising sun in but will provide a way in for fresh, cool air.

In the afternoon when the sun has moved to the opposite side of your house, it’s time to reverse your strategy. Close the windows facing west and open the ones on the side facing east. You can keep the north-facing windows open at all times. However, you should only open the south facing ones late in the evening. A neat trick brought to you by Mother Nature!

Go easy on your gadgets

energy-efficient cooling

Microwave cooking saves energy. From osseous.

Optimize your use of kitchen gadgets. Freezers and refrigerators suck a lot of energy. Keep them fully stocked, close the doors fast, and vacuum the appliances’ coils often. If you don’t generally keep enough food on hand to fill all the space in the fridge, fill in empty spots with jugs of water.

Use the microwave more. It directs most of its energy into the food, not out into the kitchen. In this way, it uses less energy, and doesn’t heat up your kitchen as much as an oven would. Better still, you could grill your food outside so that your kitchen doesn’t heat up at all.

Energy vampires like televisions and computers draw power even when they’re turned off, and devices with transformers create heat. Pull the plugs at night. You can also consider running your dishwasher or washing machine at night so that the heat these appliances generate dissipates by morning, but an even better option would be air-drying your clothes and dishes to save on energy.

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Category: Electronics

About the Author ()

A graduate in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India, Nupur also has an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University. Nupur is currently trying to be as savvy a cook as she is with a book. She likes watching plays and sunsets. Nupur first lived in Kolkata and then for a decade in Delhi, still her favorite city.

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