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Spring Home & Garden 2017

Page 14

When attempting to cool their

homes, many homeowners first in-

stinct may be to adjust the air con-

ditioning thermostat. But there are

other, more energy-efficient methods

to cooling a home.

According to the International As-

sociation of Certified Home Inspectors,

as much as half of the energy used

in homes goes toward heating and

cooling.

The following are a handful of ways

to make heating and cooling a home

more eco-friendly.

Insulate

Insulation often is associated with

warmth, and rightfully so, as it is used

to protect a home from cold weather.

However, insulation also is effective

at cooling homes.

Many insulation materials work

by slowing down the way heat moves

through materials and into spaces.

Proper insulation can provide ef-

fective resistance to the flow of heat,

meaning it can help block hot air from

flowing into the interior of a home.

Insulation will help reduce the

amount of work a cooling system will

have to do to cool a home thanks to

the flow of heat.

Replace air filters

Air filters trap dust, debris and

other microscopic particles so they are

not circulating in the air or clogging

up vents.

Over time, air filters can become so

bogged down with dirt that air cannot

move through a home very easily, forc-

ing cooling systems to work harder.

Simply replacing the filters can

help cooling systems work more ef-

ficiently.

Adjust the thermostat

Programmable thermostats allow

homeowners to adjust their cooling

systems for when they are home and

when they are out.

Air conditioners can be set at higher

temperatures when residents are at

work or school, and then lowered be-

fore residents arrive home.

Try evaporative coolers

Sometimes called swamp coolers,

these devices can be effective in re-

gions with low humidity.

The U.S. Department of Energy

notes that these coolers evaporate

water into the air to provide a natural

and energy-efficient means of cooling

a home.

When operating an evaporative

cooler, windows are opened part way

to allow warm indoor air to escape as

it is replaced by cooled air.

Unlike central air conditioning

systems that recirculate the same air,

evaporative coolers provide a steady

stream of fresh air into the house.

Plus, they consume only about one-

quarter of the energy consumed by

more traditional air conditioners.

Ceiling fans

Fans help to circulate air through-

out a home and create an effective

draft.

Ceiling fans are usually most ef-

fective at circulating air throughout a

room. The larger the blades, the more

air that can be offset by the fan. Many

fans operate quietly and effectively. In

some locations, fans may be all that’s

needed to cool a space.

In others, fans may work in con-

junction with air conditioners to

enable homeowners to raise the ther-

mostat by about 4 F.

Keeping a home cool and saving

money in the process is possible by

making a few tweaks to the cooling

system.

When attempting to cool their homes, many homeowners first instinct may be to adjust the air conditioning thermostat. But

there are other, more energy-efficient methods to cooling a home.

Courtesy photo

Keep cool

while

reducing

costs

Quick fixes

can save big

Check for

Household Leaks

Make sure air isn’t escaping

through unnecessary openings

such as fireplace dampers, doors

or windows. Take a good look at

the seals around these areas to see

if weather stripping or caulk needs

to be applied.

Helpful Tip: