As this summer’s record-breaking heat wave sent many residents reaching for their thermostats, a new air conditioning unit may have felt like a smart buy. But before homeowners take the plunge, there are a number of items to consider that will help an A/C unit work even better, save energy and make their living spaces more comfortable year-round.
Operated by the County, emPower Ventura County has been working with homeowners to address common home energy efficiency troubles, such as wasteful air conditioners. Available for free home consultations, emPower Energy Coaches help identify these troubles, find solutions and connect homeowners with the right resources, such as qualified local contractors. Here are five items to discuss with an Energy Coach before pursuing an A/C upgrade.
For our climate, make sure the attic or crawlspace are properly air sealed and insulated to at least R44 levels or R19 for a crawlspace (the energy coach can help you understand the R-value and what insulation materials to consider). This will help ensure your treated air – heated and cooled — stays where you want it.
A/C contractors should design and size HVAC Systems according to Manual J, D, S standards. These high standards ensure that the System will perform according to the required cooling and heating load of the home, keeping you comfortable all year.
Investigate whether an already installed furnace can accommodate a cooling add-on. Dual systems provide the best efficiency.
Contractors should calculate the proper A/C unit size for a home. Otherwise, homeowners are stuck paying for larger systems than they need.
For more information, to schedule a free Energy Coach visit or to access a list of qualified contractors, call emPower at (805) 654-3834 or visit www.empowersbc.org.
The emPower program offers voluntary incentives, financing and other services to help single-family homeowners in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties make home energy upgrades easier and more affordable. emPower was established by the County of Santa Barbara to help the community preserve the environment by helping to lower energy consumption and stimulate the economy by creating jobs through innovative, voluntary solutions to support a sustainable building performance market.