Another reason HVAC systems may appear not to be producing enough hot or cold air is because of duct leakage. Duct leakage can cause 20% to 40% of the energy of a well-operating air conditioner to be wasted. Ducts passing outside the cooled space including attics, crawlspaces and garages should be high-efficiency R-8 Ducting. HVAC ducts need to be well-insulated. Homeowners have been able to get an extra half-ton of air conditioner capacity for free by sealing leaky supply ducts and air returns.
INCREASE ENERGY EFFICIENCY – REDUCE UTILITY COSTS
Sealing and replacing leaky ducts combined with a new high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning system may be the biggest single thing you can do to improve efficiency, but a lot of the issues mentioned above will help as well: replace dirty filters, keep the right charge and airflow, clean the coils. Make sure the outdoor condenser unit is not so hidden from sight and that its air flow is not blocked by leaves or other matter.
When replacing your air conditioner, look for high-efficiency equipment. The most well-known efficiency rating is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). SEER 14 is the minimum efficiency you should consider, but higher efficiencies 15 SEER through 25 SEER are quite cost effective. Due to the hot California climate, homeowners should look at the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) which indicates how well the system will operate under peak conditions. Hero Program Financing and Energy Upgrade California Rebates require high-efficiency air conditioning systems be installed.
LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD
You can make your air conditioner work better by reducing the size of the load it has to reduce. You can do this by improving the building or reducing the internally-generated loads that your air conditioner must deal with.
Improving the building “envelope” includes things such as increasing insulation levels and reducing air leakage. Energy upgrade improvements will reduce energy spent on heating and cooling utility costs.
Reducing internal loads can be simpler. Shut off unneeded electrical appliances, lights and equipment. Shift appliance use such as washers and dryers to cooler times of the day. Use exhaust fans to remove heat and humidity from kitchens and baths. Buying Energy Star certified appliances helps as well.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IS IMPORTANT
We have focused so far on cooling, but the original definition of air conditioning involves more than that. An ideal air conditioning – HVAC system should heat, cool, clean, ventilate, humidify and dehumidify as necessary to provide health and comfort. In fact, the second objective of the original definition is to provide ventilation. Whether or not the piece of equipment we call an air conditioner provides it, ventilation is needed.
Without adequate ventilation, contaminants generated indoors can lead to significant discomfort or even health problems. Klaus & Sons recommends that there be at least enough ventilation to exchange the air inside your house once every four hours.
Older homes tend to have leakier walls and ducts and often get sufficient ventilation through this leakage. Leakage and infiltration may not be the most energy-efficient approach to ventilation, however, and this is an opportunity for significant utility savings. Most newer homes are relatively tight and thus require mechanical ventilation to meet minimum ventilation requirements.