Making sure your home has the proper amount of insulation is one of the most effective ways to improve the efficiency of any residential heating and cooling system. Insulation plays a critical role in preventing heat loss, which allows the heater and air conditioner to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
The laws of physics dictate that hot air naturally flows toward areas that are cooler in an attempt to achieve equilibrium. This means cool air from a room with air conditioning will flow toward the attic or other areas where the air is warmer. Home insulation provides a physical barrier to slow down heat exchange. It keeps warm air inside the home during the winter and outside during the summer.
Home builders will typically install insulating material inside attics, ceilings, and walls. Insulating the heating and air conditioning ducts prevents energy exchange while the units are circulating air throughout the home.
Insulation is just one component of the home’s climate control system. Achieving maximum energy efficiency involves maintaining every part of the system. Leaky ducts, faulty thermostats, worn out equipment and unsealed drafts in attic, basement or crawlspace can all contribute to a loss in efficiency and an increase in monthly heating and cooling costs. Preventive maintenance should include cleaning the air conditioner coils to improve performance.
Hiring a qualified HVAC technician to inspect the system once per year can uncover small problems before they require expensive repairs or replacement. The technician should check the refrigerant in the heat pump or air conditioner and adjust the level if necessary.
A professional can perform an energy audit and offer suggestions to improve efficiency. This includes making sure the equipment is the proper size for the space. An air conditioner that is too big or too small cannot operate at maximum efficiency, so it wastes energy and drives up operational costs.
Making sure the home has enough insulation in the proper locations will allow the heating and cooling systems to operate at maximum efficiency and prolong the lifespan of the equipment.
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