Did you know?
An AC unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than one operating in the sun. Plant trees or shrubs to shade AC units but don't block the airflow.
Heating & Cooling
Programmable thermostats can reduce energy use by automatically raising or lowering the temperature in your home when it's vacant. They are inexpensive and easy to install. For each degree you raise or lower your thermostat from the recommended setting for each season, you can save up to 3 percent on your heating or cooling expense.
Ventilation & Exhaust Fans
During warm summer months, humidity is the enemy. Use exhaust fans when cooking or showering to help keep humidity levels low in your home. Run them just long enough to rid your home of unwanted water vapor or odors. During the winter, however, this humidity can help keep your home warmer. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom as little as possible to keep heat inside your home.
Removing moisture from Louisiana's humid atmosphere is a large part of your air conditioning system's function. Cooking and bathing increase the humidity level inside any residence, but proper ventilation can decrease the strain on your air conditioning system. Use range hoods and bathroom vents to remove moisture from your living area.
- Don't block vents with plants, furniture or other items.
- Ventilate attics to relieve heat buildup from the sun. Make sure your vents are the proper size and can handle the workload.
- Locate your thermostat on an interior wall of your home. Locate well away from cold drafts and hot lighting fixtures or cooking elements. These things can keep your heat or air conditioning running longer than it needs to by giving the thermostat a false reading.
- Light-colored roofing reflects the sun and its heat, thus helping your home stay cooler. When possible choose the lightest color possible.
- Having a party with lots of guests? Lower the thermostat a couple of degrees before everyone arrives for optimum comfort.
Warm weather tips
- For maximum efficiency, set your thermostat at 78º or higher if comfort allows.
- Raise your thermostat 4º or more when you leave your home for several hours or more. Simply return it to its normal setting when you return. Drastically lowering the thermostat will not cool your home faster, it will only make your system work harder and run longer.
- Use fans to move the air. This will make you feel cooler and allow you to raise the setting on your thermostat.
- Don't run heat-producing appliances during the hottest part of the day.
- If you have drapes or shades, close them during the day to keep out the heat and open them at night to let the heat escape through the glass. Solar shades or screens are a cost-effective method to reduce the heat from sunlight coming in through your windows.
- Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units, but don't block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10 percent less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
- If possible, locate window AC units on the north or shady side of your home. Direct sunlight falling on the unit will make it work harder.
- In Louisiana: The largest user of energy is the air conditioning system. The system works much like a refrigerator, removing heat and moisture from the interior of your home and replacing it with cool, dry, filtered air. Be sure to choose the correct size unit for your home. If it's too large, it will use more energy than you would use with a properly sized unit. If it's too small, it will work too hard to achieve the desired results. Consult a professional for help on sizing.
- AC Maintenance: Regardless of the type or age of your equipment, it is a good idea to perform routine maintenance, which may include hiring a professional to check your system periodically. If your air conditioning equipment is not working properly, your home will not be as cool, and you could be using more energy than needed.
- AC Filters: The return air filters of your air conditioning and heating system should be changed or cleaned regularly. Dirty filters slow air movement and cause your unit to run longer. Permanent filters should be cleaned weekly and the disposable ones should be replaced monthly. The savings in your electric bill will more than offset the small cost of filters.
- Locate AC and window units strategically: Direct sunlight falling on your air conditioning unit increases its workload. If possible, locate window air conditioning units on the north or shady side of the house. It's best if the unit is shaded with adequate airflow. Keep it free from leaves and limbs.
Cool weather tips
- For maximum efficiency set your thermostat at 68º or lower if comfort allows.
- Selectively open and close drapes and blinds during the day to maximize heat gain from the sun. Close them at night to keep the warm air inside.
- Heating and cooling units come with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating, which describes how well the equipment works. A higher SEER means better efficiency and lower energy bills. Proper matching of your inside and outside equipment is essential to achieving the desired SEER rating.
- Buying a new heating system? Look at the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor or HSPF. A unit with an HSPF of 10 is almost three times more efficient than a gas furnace. Ground source heat pumps, also known as GeoExchange units, benefit from the Earth's heat in the winter and use the Earth as a heat sink during the warmer summer months. Ground source heat pumps are rated by COP, or Coefficient Performance. The higher the COP, the more efficient the unit.