Indoor Air Quality
- Priority Savings Plan
Central AC has been around for a while. These systems generally consist of an outdoor compressor unit and an indoor air handler that works to move the air cooled from the compressor around your home. To do this, however, the air handler needs to be hooked up to a system of ducts that reaches every room in your home.
Without these ducts, the cooled air would never get from the compressor and air handler to the rest of your house. If you have forced air heating, a central AC unit will use the same ducts as your heating system. These types of AC systems are easily integrated into just about any type of home heating system too, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
The central AC systems on the market today are generally quite energy efficient. There are quite a few models to choose from, and a professional can help you pick one out that is the right size and style for your home.
A ductless system, as the name implies, does not rely on air ducts to transfer cooled air to all areas of your home. These AC systems also typically have an outdoor compressor unit, but the compressor is connected to the indoor units by refrigerant lines rather than air ducts.
In a ductless system, the indoor units are mounted on the wall or ceiling in various parts of your home. They receive coolant from the outdoor unit through the refrigerant lines and circulate the air in the room to cool in a continuous cycle.
Ductless AC units are also quite energy efficient and can provide just as much cooling power as a central AC system. However, because they don’t require air ducts to function, they can be installed for less money and far more easily. Plus then can be places in many more places that a central system.
Of course, if your home already has ducts in place, this isn’t an issue and you will probably be perfectly satisfied with a central AC system. However, if your home doesn’t have ducts, putting them in can be expensive and disruptive. Plus there are often places, particularly in older homes, that simply don’t have enough space to accommodate ducts.
If you have a central AC system, certain areas of your home won’t be air conditioned. But with a ductless system, you can really install AC anywhere with minimal disruption and at a much lower cost.
Another benefit of a ductless system is that each indoor unit is controlled independently of the others. This means that you can turn down the temperature in the rooms you’re using and not in vacant ones, leading to a substantial savings on your energy bills because you won’t be paying to cool large parts of your house when they’re empty.
Energy costs are at record highs, and everyone is looking for ways to save a buck. However, no one wants to compromise on their family’s comfort. After all, what good are savings if you have to suffer? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to help trim your energy bill without compromising the comfortable surroundings of your home.
Saving energy starts with small habits, little things you can do every day to slightly reduce energy use and pare down those monthly bills. These are steps that do not involve buying any new equipment or drastically changing your lifestyle. For example, start with some of these little tips:
- Turn off lights and the television when no one is using them.
- Shut your computer down at night.
- Unplug "vampire devices" such as cell phone chargers when not in use. Chargers and other devices can draw power even when they are not charging anything.
- Use power strips. Turn them off when none of the devices or appliances plugged into them are being used.
- Turn off your cable box. Many people miss this step because the TV is off, but many cable boxes can draw even more power than the TV!
Upgrade to Efficiency
If you have tried all those little tricks and are still looking to cut energy costs, it is time to make your home more efficient. This means making some purchases, but consider them investments in your energy costs. When used properly, these things pay for themselves in savings over time:
- Switch to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. These draw less energy and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- Install a programmable thermostat to control heating and cooling when no one is home.
- Consider upgrading appliances, like your dishwasher, refrigerator and washing machine. New appliances, especially Energy Star approved models, can save a bundle over older machines.
If you don’t think you are due for upgrades yet, or just don’t want to absorb the upfront cost, there are plenty of things you can do to keep the appliances you already own running as efficiently as possible. Remember to change AC and furnace filters, vacuum household vents and clean your water heater routinely.
Aside from these DIY tips, if you would like even more help, consider hiring a professional to do an energy audit. He will inspect your whole home to determine where you may be wasting energy and how to correct those issues.