If you live or work in and around the East Bay area, odds are that you’re bombarded on a nearly daily basis about the importance of being “energy efficient” and “green.” But in addition to saving the planet, you can also keep your wallet nice and fat by making small changes to the way that you use home devices, like your air conditioning system.

Making your A/C more energy efficient is both easier and harder than it sounds.

If you have a central A/C, your unit is compromised of multiple ducts and registers, which can be impacted by dozens of factors, including humidity, particulate matter, corrosion, age, and structural issues with the home. If it’s hot and muggy where you live, and you run a dehumidifier, you will use more energy because the A/C will need to work that much harder. A more efficient alternative might be to install a dehumidifying heat pipe on your current system.

If you have room by room air conditioners, you may be throwing money out the window, literally. Central A/C is generally far more energy efficient. But switching from room by room to central can be costly and annoying – at least in the short-term. You will need to do a cost estimate calculation. Basically, you want to know:

• How expensive will it be to convert from room by room to central?

• How much money would that change save you a year?

• How many years do you plan to live or work in your current location?

If you know all these numbers, you can determine whether it makes sense to make the switch.

Replacing old units and components can be another way to quickly increase efficiency without spending much time or money.

Older models – even models that are just a decade old – may be inherently less efficient than today’s best models, some of which are 50% less energy consuming than their predecessors from the 1980s and 1970s.

If you are purchasing a new A/C, look for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio – SEER – number. Older systems can have SEER ratings of less than 6. Today’s residential A/C units, made after January 23, 2006, must have a SEER number of 13 or greater.

You might also take a look at the high temperature rating (EER number). Ideally, this number should be 11.6 or above, if you want to maintain efficient use of the A/C during very hot days. Variable speed A/Cs are more efficient than are one speed A/Cs for obvious reasons.

Checking and replacing old filters can be another great way to green things up!

Multiple variables could be important both for your comfort and for your budget. For help, look to the team at B.A. Morrison. For over two decades, our family-owned heating, ventilation and air conditioning and general construction company has been serving homeowners and business owners like you. Whether you need A/C service, installation, or improvement, call us today at 510-538-9817, or visit us online at www.bamorrison.com.

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