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Stay Cool with an Efficient Air Conditioner

Stay Cool with an Efficient Air Conditioner 

EnochTemperatures are on the rise, and before we know it, we’ll be ready to turn on the air conditioning. If you’re like me, you’re looking forward to the warmer weather, but not the cost of running that A/C unit. In the summer, air conditioning can account for about 30 percent of your energy bill, and since we have a few more weeks until it gets really hot, now is the perfect time to think about the efficiency of your home’s air conditioning.

If you already have an air conditioner, the first thing you should do with it is clean the filter now. Dirty filters block air flow, reducing efficiency and making it harder to deliver the necessary air to a room. Getting the necessary air there makes the room temperature more comfortable – and being comfortable in a room is a top priority for me.

If you have a central air system installed, make sure all the ductwork for the system is properly sealed. A lot of cool air can be lost through small leaks in the ductwork, which will cost you money. If you participate in the Home Energy Solutions program, the qualified technician will test and seal ductwork as part of your energy assessment (plus many more on-the-spot efficiency improvements). For an even more in-depth look at the efficiency of a central air system, check out the Quality Installation and Verification (QIV) program. An approved contractor will verify the system’s expected efficiency, energy savings and comfort – and by participating in the program, you can receive a $500 rebate.

For those who don’t have an air conditioner, or are looking to upgrade from an older model, you may be able to save up to $250 on the cost of installing a central air system with the Energize Connecticut High Efficiency and Cooling System Rebate. If central air isn’t the right fit for you, look for an ENERGY STAR-certified window unit. With any type of air conditioner, make sure it’s properly sized to the area you’re trying to cool. The unit should indicate the square footage it’s designed for – encompassing a whole house, a few rooms, or one room – and it will operate most efficiently within that space.

Some of the newer air conditioners have pretty “cool” features, including built-in timers so you can set the on and off time. Whether you use a built-in timer or a programmable thermostat, setting the on and off time is much more efficient than trying to crank up the A/C when you get home. Setting the temperature really low in hopes of cooling the room or home faster doesn’t work and it wastes energy.

For homes with open floor plans, you may want to consider a ductless cooling system. These can also be used to heat – saving you money in the summer and winter. Learn more about ductless systems and available rebates.

The last thing I suggest inspecting before you turn on your air conditioning is the insulation in your home. Insulation helps keep the cool air in and the warm air out during the summer, and does the reverse in the winter. It not only makes your home more efficient – it can make it much more comfortable as well. And, until June 30, there’s even zero percent financing available that will make your insulation project cost effective!

Enoch Lenge is the CL&P and Yankee Gas energy efficiency spokesman. If you're a member of the media and would like to arrange an interview with Enoch, please contact Media Relations.