Cooling Systems (air
Two types of units cool an entire house: a central
air conditioner or a heat pump. If you only need to cool a specific area, a
window air conditioning unit could be your most energy-conserving choice.
Regardless of what type you are considering, remember that models will vary in
efficiency ratings and efficiency has a direct impact on operating costs, so
optimizing efficiency should be a priority. Consider buying an ENERGY
If you decide you want to cool your entire house,
you should consider which system to install – central air conditioning or a heat
pump – when reviewing your home’s heating needs. An air conditioner is actually
a heat pump that can only cool. *Remember: your heating decisions can affect
your cooling options.
Duct work for central
Duct work is generally needed to carry cool air
throughout the house in a central air conditioning system. If you have a forced
air heating system you can usually use the same ducts for cooling. If you do not
have duct work, you can look into installing it or consider air conditioning
technologies that have been developed for homes without ducts. These
alternatives are more costly, so if you are considering them, investigate your
options with your heating/cooling contractor.
Mini splits are systems suited to homes without a
central air-distribution system. No duct work is required. The system consists
of two components: an outdoor condensing unit, and an indoor evaporator and fan.
The indoor section can frequently be mounted on any interior or exterior wall,
and is much quieter than a window unit.
Window air conditioners are effective if you only
need to cool a specific area of your home. They will cost less to install than a
central air conditioning system. If you don’t have duct work, they might be your
most practical choice. It is important to match the capacity of the window air
conditioner with the size of the area to be cooled. Window units should either
be covered in winter or, better still, removed to minimize heat
Other Ways to Cool Your
The following measures will help keep your home
- Install ceiling fans
to circulate air.
- If you’re planning for the long term, plant trees that lose their
leaves in the fall on the east, south
and west side of your house.
- Close the drapes or blinds on south and west-facing windows during
sunny summer days to reduce heat gains.
- Turn off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
- Install awnings for patio doors and windows that face the sun.
- Open windows in the evening and at night during the summer