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Installing a New AC Unit? Lower Your Cooling Load First

Published on: August 30, 2012

Are you considering a new air conditioning installation? First, be sure to select an AC system that is energy efficient to save you money when cooling your home. Next, take a few steps to lower your cooling load prior to the air conditioning installation. If you take these few steps to lower the cooling load of your home, your new AC unit will save even more energy and will cool your home more efficiently.

1.) Replace or clean the furnace and air handler filters.

Cleaning and replacing the filters will increase air flow. With increased air flow, your new system will work less to cool the home. Clogged and dirty air filters cause the system to work harder to cool the home. Because the system works less to cool the home when filters are clean, the system ultimately uses less energy and saves you more money.

In addition, you will improve the quality of the air inside your home by replacing and cleaning filters. The dust and debris that is trapped in filters can be blown throughout the home when cool air is dispersed. Clean or replace filters to keep you home cleaner, too. The dust and debris, when blown throughout the home, will cause furniture, shelves and other surfaces to become dusty. By replacing or cleaning the filters for your system, the air inside the home, as well as the furnishings, stays cleaner.

2.) Minimize the amount of heat from direct sunlight that enters the home.

Heat-reflective film installed on windows where direct sunlight enters the home will reduce the load on the AC system. Reflective film is inexpensive and can usually be installed in a short period of time. Install heat-reflective film on windows that face the sun to minimize the amount of heat entering the home from direct sunlight.

If you do not want to install heat-reflective film on windows, draw blinds or shades during the times of day when direct sunlight enters the home through the windows facing the sun. This is one easy way to lower the cooling load on your AC unit, and this method costs no money or time.

3.) Install a foil radiant material as a barrier in the attic.

Installing a radiant barrier in the attic is another inexpensive way to reduce the cooling load on your system. The foil creates a barrier for the heat generated from the sunlight that bears down on the roof during hot days.

4.) Install insulation where there is none, or increase the insulating material where the home is insulated.

Increasing insulation in the home will keep the cooled and conditioned air inside the dwelling. Even if your home is insulated, you will likely benefit from upgrading the insulation. Insulation is another improvement that is inexpensive. Save money and improve your home’s energy efficiency with an upgrade of your insulation.

5.) Plant trees, shrubs and bushes, or install awnings, around windows that directly face the sun.

Trees and shrubs block the sunlight and lower the cooling load on the AC system. In addition, planting trees and shrubs will upgrade your landscaping and improve the curb appeal of your property.

6.) Run ceiling fans and other fans throughout the home.

Running ceiling fans circulates the air and creates breezes. You may even be able to increase the temperature setting on the thermostat a few degrees with fans running throughout the home. Ceiling fans and other larger whole house fans are a great way to lower the cooling load on your AC system.

7.) Minimize heat and humidity-producing activities during the warmest times of the day.

Limit activities, such as cooking, laundry and showering, during the warmest hours of the day. These activities generate humidity and make the home feel warmer. These activities also increase the cooling load on the AC system. By limiting these activities during the warmest hours and performing them when the outside temperatures are cooler, you can greatly reduce the cooling load on your system.

8.) Run a dehumidifier.

If you live in a humid climate, and your home tends to be humid, consider running a dehumidifier. Dryer air feels cooler and removing humidity from the air will lower the cooling load for your AC system.

Prepare for your air conditioning installation by taking these few steps. After your system is installed, continue these practices to lower the cooling load on your new unit. Even though the air conditioning installation will likely include an AC system that is more energy efficient than the unit you are replacing, lowering the cooling load for any AC unit will save you money in energy costs and put less wear on the system. Consult with your air conditioning installation professional for additional suggestions about how your can lower the cooling load on your system and reap even more energy savings.