Air conditioning and the environment have long had a complicated relationship. But alas AC is a necessity in the summer months in the greater Calgary area, which leaves eco-conscious homeowners wondering how they can better manage their air cooling and quality needs in a manner that also considers environmental impact. For starters, kudos to you for taking the initiative to learn (and do) more. Like you, we are dedicated to the preservation of our planet and in turn we have laid out import steps you can take in your home to help make it happen.
4 DIY Household Tips Towards More Eco-Friendly Air Cooling/Quality Management
1. Use Room Fans When Room is Occupied
On especially hot summer days, resist the urge to turn up the AC in the room you and your family/guests are currently in, and instead turn on the ceiling fan (where applicable) as it will consume less energy. Another tip, is to rotate ceiling fans counterclockwise. This causes the fan blades to push cool air down to the floor. The subsequent “wind chill effect” makes occupants feel cooler, without changing the literal room temperature, the latter of which consumes energy. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, a traditional standing fan will still use up less energy than older AC units. Just remember to turn all fans off when leaving a given room. If left on all afternoon or day, you will negate the initial intention of eco-friendly cooling.
2. Manage the Windows to Keep the Heat Out
It can be tempting to open the curtains and windows during a beautiful summer day around Calgary, but in doing so you allow sunlight and heat to penetrate and heat the home, which increases the demands of your AC unit. Instead, keep windows and doors closed during the warm to hot periods of the summer day (late morning into the early evening). The rule of thumb is simple – when the outside temperature is hotter than it is inside, block it out.
Of course, you still want to take advantage of the natural light which is so bountiful in the summer, which also limits the need for indoor lighting. Light curtains can assist in this capacity, as can mechanical blinds which can be programmed to change position as the sun moves about the sky throughout the day. There are also eco-conscious window coverings on the market (check your local home and garden retailer) which include self-cooling windows that let in natural sunlight without bringing heat along for the ride.
3. Inspect and Maintain Current AC More Often Through the Season
Your current AC unit has to work overtime when it is not afforded the TLC is deserves in the summer months. During the warm season, AC filters will collect more dirt and debris, which will block airflow and make the system work harder to cool your home. Inspect filters every two weeks, or weekly if you live near an industrial/commercial area. At the very least, you will need to clean and/or replace filters once per month, or sooner if your biweekly/weekly inspection uncovers the need for it. By maintaining filters in this manner, you can lower you AC system’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent!
It’s easy to DIY AC filter inspection, cleaning, and/or replacement. However, when it comes to the rest of your system, you may not know what to look for. That’s why it’s better to have an AC expert come into your home at the onset of the summer season and perform a comprehensive inspection of your cooling system/s. They can quickly identify need for maintenance, repair, or replacement. By picking up the phone to request an inspection (call 403-463-7700), you will have taken a big step towards making sure that you reduce the amount of energy needed to run your AC system.
4. Invest in a High Efficiency Air Conditioning System
Investment in a more efficient air conditioning system is not only an investment in the comfort and health of household occupants, it’s an investment in the environment. Therefore, if your recent AC inspection (as per item #3 above) uncovers the fact that time is running out on your current unit, the time to act on a new more efficient one is now. But how do you identify a system that will also consider both household comfort/health and environmental needs alike? Look to staging.
In this context, staging refers to an air conditioner’s ability to run below its maximum capacity in order to improve comfort levels and increase efficiency. For instance, a two-stage system offers better comfort and higher efficiency (SEER ratings) than single-stage systems. So when you consider a variable speed system with 700 stages – you can only imagine the impressive level of comfort along with even more impressive efficiency ratings. Does such a multiple-stage system exist in the Calgary market? You bet – through Trane’s TruComfortTM. The system’s 700 stages practically eliminates potential for temperature fluctuation, and permits the system to do it’s job on cruise control, which dramatically reduces energy consumption throughout the day. Your investment affords you advanced temperature control, lower humidity, reduced noise, enhanced filtration, a lower overall cost of operation, and best yet (for the intents and purposes of this article) – a significantly lower environmental impact!
View more on Trane’s high efficiency model, available here through Air Force Heating & Air Conditioning.