How to Optimize Your Home For Air Conditioning
Your air conditioner works hard around the clock to provide you with cool, dry air. In Texas, air conditioners have to double their effort to battle the blazing heat outside. There are a few steps you can take to prepare your home for hot Texas summers. By making these changes to your home, you can help preserve the cool air you have and keep your air conditioner from running too hard for too long.
Insulate Your Home
Most homes are well insulated when they are built. Improvements can still be made to keep problem areas from letting cool air out of your home. Even already insulated areas can benefit from an extra layer of protection.
To keep costs down and walls up, insulate with loose-fill cellulose. Cellulose can be added to walls and floors without having to tear them down.
Insulation is rated by a protection factor called an R-value. It’s best to keep your insulation around an R-value of R-38. Certain areas of your home will benefit from higher or lower R-values.
These areas are the best to get insulated:
- Air Ducts
It’s the last line of defense between you and the elements. As the uppermost open space, the attic is a great place for outside air to penetrate your home. It’s also the perfect opportunity to keep that hot air out.
Adding a simple layer of insulation underneath the attic’s support will prevent the cool air from escaping through the open space. You’ll also prevent wasted energy from cooling the attic.
Temperature changes that affect the ground will also seep into your house through the floor. Separate your living space from the Earth below with extra insulation. Loose-fill doesn’t work as well on the ground. Rigid foam insulation will provide tough structural support as well as temperature control and won’t easily degrade.
Upgrading the insulation in your walls is a quick and effective way to trap conditioned air in the home.
Adding loose-fill cellulose between R-38 and R-60 to your walls will keep insulation costs down and make noticeable improvements in your air conditioning efficiency. Your A/C will also have an easier time recycling the cool air that the insulation preserves.
The air that travels within the air ducts is constantly straying from its prime temperature. You can conserve that air’s temperature by insulating your air ducts. Use a much lower R-value, around R-6, to add protection while protecting the fragile ductwork. Also make sure all joints in your ducts are sealed well.
Close Off Extra Rooms
To reduce wasted air, close the doors to rooms that don’t need immediate cooling or heat. By minimizing the number of rooms you keep conditioned, you’ll prevent your air conditioning from overworking.
Make sure doors like basement doors create a seal when shut. Doors to the outside can also move conditioned air outside. Be wary of who is using your doors and educated young children on shutting doors when they are not in use.
Add Screens and Awnings
The right screen and awning can cool your home by 20℉ to 30℉. Awnings cover patio and outside areas, but the sun they block also affects the temperature of the inside of your home. The shaded areas resist heat efficiently.
Screens go over your windows and allow light in but keep heat out. They are specially woven to keep the sun away without making your home too dark.
Use Your Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are super-efficient at circulating air within the home. The advantage of keeping air moving is that your rooms will be cooled evenly. Warm air that has risen to the top of the room gets mixed with the cool air from your vents. When the air conditioner isn’t competing against the warm air at the top of the room, it can work more efficiently.
In combination with our tips on saving money on your air conditioning, you can drastically cut your energy use and reap the full benefits of modern A/C technology.