If you’re looking for environmentally-friendly ways to stay cool this summer, plus lower your monthly utility costs, here are some tips from Live in a Home that Pays You Back.
Fans are the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool a home. Fans also work well when combined with other heating or cooling methods. “Whole-house fans” provide excellent ventilation to help lower indoor temperatures. In most climates, they can serve as a substitute for an air conditioner. Fans can be installed with or without ductwork, and are generally installed in an attic, with a roof-mounted vent.
Ceiling fans re-circulate air, and can be used on a year-round basis. There are new energy-saving models that are more aerodynamic and can move large volumes of air while delivering more comfort.
In the summer, ceiling fans should be operated counterclockwise so that the airflow is pushed downward, creating a cooling effect. In the winter, fans should turn in a clockwise direction, which sends the heat in a downward direction.
Ductless Mini-split Air Conditioners
Mini-splits are small-size systems that offer flexibility for heating and cooling individual rooms, each with its own thermostat. Since mini-splits have no ducts, they avoid the energy losses associated with the ductwork of central forced-air systems. Floor-standing models are now available, and can be installed with only a small hole in the wall.
Evaporative coolers are suitable for geographic areas that have low humidity. Also known as “swamp coolers,” water is evaporated into the air, providing a natural and energy-efficient means of cooling. They can be connected to ductwork to cool a number of rooms, and floor-standing, portable devices can cool an entire room or section of the home. Unlike central air conditioning systems that recirculate the same air, evaporative coolers provide a steady stream of outdoor air into the house. According to the Department of Energy, systems cost about half as much as central air conditioning systems and use about one-quarter as much energy.