10 Tips for Conserving Energy at Home during Earth Week

As Earth Day nears, we are reminded of the importance of finding sustainable energy solutions and gaining appreciation for our environment. One simple step you can make towards a more energy efficient home is with your air conditioning system.

"Even though Earth Week is an annual event, we can still be energy conscious year round,” said Doyle James, president of Aire Serv LLC. “Most heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems consume more than half a home’s energy. By managing energy usage, reducing air leaks and switching over to a new energy efficient system, families can cut their monthly usage of fossil fuel-generated electricity by up to one-third.”

Rising utility and overall energy costs are concerns for most homeowners today. Fortunately, you can save money while being “greener” and stay comfortable. Follow these recommendations from Aire Serv to create a more energy efficient home:

  • Smart Thermostat. Install a programmable thermostat that adjusts the temperature when home or away. Why keep your house cool when nobody is home?
  • Filtration. Use high efficiency air filters to help your air conditioning system stay cleaner longer and use less energy to keep you cool.
  • Go Green. Plant trees or shrubs to shade the air conditioning unit, but not so close that they block air flow.
  • Maintenance. Have your professional air conditioning provider clean your units coils regularly – about every six months – to prevent dirt and dust build-up.
  • Insulate. Check the attic, crawl space or basement to make sure it’s properly insulated. This will help conserve electricity and reduce your home’s energy demands.
  • Turn it off. When leaving a room, turn off the ceiling fan. Running the fan doesn’t lower the temperature in a room, but it does increase evaporation from your skin to help you feel cooler.
  • Reduce. Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use to reduce phantom energy.
  • Stop the leaks. Scan your ductwork and vent registers, electrical connections and doors for air leaks. When all windows and doors are shut and fans are turned off, light an incense stick and pass around areas where there may be leaks. If smoke is sucked out, there may be a draft.
  • Upgrade. Look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) number on air conditioners if installing a new unit. Some units manufactured about 10 years ago were in the 10 SEER range while units today can go as high as 20 SEER or above. Going from a 10 to 20 SEER can cut your cooling costs in half.
  • Recycle. If installing a new HVAC unit, consider donation or recycling. A unit in working order can be donated and non-functioning pieces contain recyclable copper and aluminum. Contact your utility company or visit earth911.com for more local options on how you can recycle your old unit.

For more information on how to go green and celebrate Earth Day 2012, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.