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Air Conditioning – Maximizing Comfort Tips

Air Conditioning - Recommendations for Maximizing Comfort

1. Avoid letting direct sunlight into your home. Close window shades on windows that have sunlight penetrating through them. The sunlight produces intense infrared radiation which is absorbed by anything it illuminates. This heat is then given off inside the room. Stop this heat before it gets into the room!!

2. Just as you would with a refrigerator, keep all windows and doors closed. Imagine that your house is a huge low level refrigerator. Opening windows and doors allows hot and sometimes humid air to enter the house. This heat will have to be removed by the air conditioner at an extra cost to you!

3. Consider running the furnace fan continuously, expect for parts of the USA where it is extremely humid. This constant air movement balances the temperatures and helps to avoid hot and cold spots in rooms.

4. Kitchen activity can add massive loads to your system. Try to do all cooking and baking during early morning hours before the major heat of the day builds up. A standard stove and oven in operation for one hour can add TONS of cooling load to your system! Use exhaust fans to vent excess heat and humidity from cooking activities.

5. Any cleaning activity which adds moisture to the air should be done in the morning or late evening hours. This excess humidity should be kept to a minimum during hot afternoon hours. Wash clothes, showers, etc. in morning hours. These activities can add tremendous amounts of humidity to the air in your home. Make sure your clothes dryer is vented to the exterior. Unvented clothes dryers add massive amounts of humidity to the air.

6. Find a comfortable setting for your thermostat and leave it in that position. High quality thermostats are more sensitive than you at determining when the system should turn on and off.

Heat Gain

The manner in which the size of air conditioning equipment is determined is really quite simple. It begins with the process of measuring the rate and amount of heat which is accumulating inside of your house. Many things have to be measured to account for all of the things that contribute heat to your home. A partial list of the things which have to be measured are the following: wall, floor and ceiling square footages, thickness of wall, floor and ceiling insulation, exterior wall construction materials and method of construction, window and door sizes, window and door efficiency, compass direction each side of the house faces, geographic location of the house in the continental USA, number of occupants, number and types of appliances, specialty lighting fixtures,miscellaneous heat generating objects, etc.

As you can see, many things have to be taken into consideration. Not any one thing is hard to measure or calculate, it's just that there is a lot of it to do!!

Tables, charts, etc. have been developed to translate these measurements and data into the rate and amount of heat gain. These tables, charts, etc. can be found in several publications. They usually can not be used accurately by a homeowner who is unfamiliar with the concept of air conditioning. However, some booklets are written in such a manner that a person with a keen interest in measuring, recording, and calculating data can get highly accurate heat gain measurements. In the event you choose to attempt this, and you are not a HVAC professional, make sure that a HVAC professional or engineer checks your calculations. If the person you are dealing with has a computer which is programmed to perform the calculations, you simply have to provide the necessary data. The computer will do the rest. Some programs are very sophisticated and they will ask all of the questions. You simply have to provide the correct measurements.

The point I am trying to make should be obvious. You can and should try to perform these calculations. It will give you an appreciation of the level of knowledge that a HVAC professional possesses. If you go the entire route and finish the calculations, have the 'pro' check them for accuracy. As we discussed earlier, if you install the wrong size air conditioning unit you will either be uncomfortable and or will waste massive amounts of electricity trying to get cool.

Equipment Maintenance

When you have the proper equipment installed, you have to properly maintain it. If not, it will not be able to adequately cool your house. This maintenance is very simple. The equipment must always have the proper amount of coolant ( freon ) and the coils both outside and inside of the house must be clean. If the coils become clogged with dirt and dust they can not accept or distribute heat quickly. I recommend that you have your equipment checked in the spring and fall. The cost of the service calls will be paid for by the energy that you will save in operating costs. It really is worth it.

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