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LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogIn the summer, air conditioning is essential in creating a comfortable indoor environment for you and your family. When it’s hot and humid outside, you can crank up your home’s air conditioning to stay cool. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), however, heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of the average U.S. Home’s energy usage. Thankfully, you can stay cool this summer without spending a fortune on energy bills by following some simple steps. Change the Air Filter One of the easiest ways to keep your home’s air conditioning working efficiently is to change the filter every 60 to 90 days. The filter is designed to catch dust and dirt while still allowing air to pass through. As this debris accumulates, however, it can restrict the flow of air and force your system to work harder. Check Condenser Coil The condenser coil is responsible for extracting heat from inside your home. When it’s clogged, the system won’t be able to run efficiently, thus raising your home’s energy usage. While you can often remove superficial dirt and debris by spraying your system’s condenser coil with a garden hose, you’ll need the services of a professional HVAC company like Alabama Climate Control to clean a severely clogged coil. Inspect Ducts When was the last time that you inspected the ducts in your air conditioning system? If they are damaged with visible holes or tears, cooled air will escape and reduce the overall efficiency of your system. Another problem with ducts is a lack of insulation. A healthy air conditioning system should have well-insulated ducts to minimize loss of thermal energy. Programming Your Thermostat You can also save money on cooling costs this summer by programming your thermostat. If there’s no one occupying your home during the day, for example, you can set the temperature higher to save energy. And when family members return in the evening, you can set the temperature lower to create a comfortable environment. Don’t Block Vents Finally, check the air vents in your home to ensure they aren’t blocked. A large sofa or dresser can restrict airflow and reduce your system’s efficiency. All vents should be accessible and unobstructed for maximum performance. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for low utility bills this summer. The five tips described here can improve the efficiency of your home’s air conditioning.
BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogWhen you take a deep breath, you understandably expect the air to be fresh and healthy. However, air pollution is a growing problem in many areas. When the air you breathe is polluted, you bring toxins into your body. These harmful toxins can increase the risk of respiratory conditions, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, and even lung cancer. Unfortunately, outdoor air contaminants can enter your home, and this means that there may be no place for you to enjoy breathing fresh air. However, there are some steps that you can take to keep your indoor air as fresh and clean as possible. Take Your Shoes Off When you enter your home, you bring contaminants from outdoors in with you. Your shoes are a primary source of contaminants. When you walk across your home with dirty soles, pollutants become airborne. Some contaminants will lodge themselves in your carpet or will enter your HVAC system. One of the best ways to reduce this source of indoor air pollution is to take your shoes off before you enter your home. You can also wipe your pets’ paws off for additional benefit. Remember to vacuum regularly to remove particles from the carpet. Replace Windows and Seals Windows seemingly last forever at first glance. Unless they physically break, you may think that any piece of glass between you and the outside world would suffice. However, older windows may leak, and this could allow air pollution to stream into your home around the clock. This could also impact climate control and energy efficiency in your home. Replacing older windows and re-sealing the space around your windows and doors can help you to reduce or eliminate the amount of outdoor air that enters your home from these spaces. If you’re not certain of your ability to replace the windows perfectly to avoid drafts, consider hiring a professional window service to do it for you. Clean Your HVAC System Even when you take these steps, some air pollution will still enter your home. Your HVAC system can filter many of these contaminants out of your indoor air, but it is most effective when the system is cleaned and well-maintained. Replace air filters regularly. In addition, schedule HVAC system maintenance at least once per year. You understandably want to breathe healthy air inside your home, but your air may not be as clean as it could be. As you can see, there are many ways that air pollution can enter your home, but there are also steps that you can take to improve the situation. Follow these helpful tips soon so that you can enjoy the benefit of fresher air in your home.