The single major thing you can do to increase HVAC systems efficiency may just involve sealing leaky ducts. But promptly dealing with other issues will help as well: clean the coils, keep the right charge and airflow, replace dirty filters and ensure that there’s no leaves or other substance clogging the outdoor unit or condenser’s air flow.
Similarly, look to buy high-efficiency equipment if you are replacing the air conditioner. The most commonly known efficiency rating is SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. SEER 13 rating is the lowest efficiency you should choose, but in theory, the higher efficiencies, the more cost-effective.
You may review other efficiency numbers as well depending on your climate. For instance, in dry, hot climates you should look at the EER or Energy Efficiency Rating that indicates how well the HVAC system will perform at most extreme conditions. If you live in a humid climate, you must study how well the unit can dehumidify.
Lessen Your Load
Lessen your HVAC systems load by following the concept of “less is more.” By reducing the size of the job it has to do, you can make your AC perform better. You can do this by improving your home enclosure design or decreasing the internally generated loads that your AC must bear.
Improving your home “envelope” consists of things, such as reducing air leakage or increasing insulation levels or shading windows. Such enhancements will ease energy spent on cooling and heating, but may necessitate considerable investment or time. When putting in new windows or a new roof, it is typically more cost-effective to use high-efficiency materials. “Cool” roofing, for instance, can save half load of cooling and a lot of energy over the year.
Decreasing internal burden can be as simple as:
- using local exhaust fans to get rid of heat and humidity from baths and kitchens
- shifting use of appliances, i.e. washers and dryers to cooler times of the day
- shutting off unneeded lights, electrical appliances, and equipment
- buying Energy Star or equally efficiency appliances aids as well
In some areas with humid climates, other methods can be used to lessen the load on the AC. In climates with high-temperature swings, such as the dry, hot climates, you can decrease the burden by bringing in significant amounts of cool outdoor air. In dry climates, evaporative AC can provide ample cooling.
Additionally, pollutants generated indoors can lead to significant comfort and health problems without adequate ventilation. Hence, it is recommended that there be enough air circulation to interchange indoor air once every four hours, depending on house enclosure design.
Older homes mostly get sufficient ventilation from leakier ducts and cracked walls. Such infiltration and leakage may not be the best energy-efficient approach to AC, but it is an opportunity for savings.
To meet minimum air circulation requirements, most new homes and some existing homes which are somewhat tight consequently require powered ventilation.