Houston Air Conditioning and Heating Tips

A-1 Tops Services provides Houston air conditioning and heating tips in order to save you money and to reduce energy use for years to come. You’ll find tips for ventilating your attic, roof coatings, weatherizing your home and more.

Apply an Effective Coating to Your Roof

Did you know that about a third of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through the roof?

Apply a reflective coating to your existing roof. Standard roofing coatings are available at your local hardware store. Purchase one that has both waterproof and reflective properties. These are marketed primarily for mobile homes and recreational vehicles, but can be applied over many common roofing materials.” (Cooling Your Home Naturally)

Weatherize Your Home

Did you know that an uninsulated attic can raise your heating and cooling costs?

Install R-30 insulation in your attic.

Are you throwing money out the window?

You are if air is leaking out your windows and doorways. Roughly 40% of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through windows. (Cooling Your Home Naturally)

Apply caulking and weather stripping to keep heated or cooled air from escaping.

Be aware that when you seal doorways and windows, you can increase the risks caused by indoor pollutants such as allergens and carbon monoxide.

Create Your Own Micro-Climate

Did you know that trees and vines can create a cool microclimate that reduces the temperature by as much as 9 degrees?

During photosynthesis, large amounts of water vapor escape through the leaves, cooling the passing air. (Cooling Your Home Naturally)

Vines are a quick way to provide shading and cooling. Grown on trellises, vines can shade the whole side of a house. Set trellises away from your house to allow air to circulate and to keep the vines from attaching to your house’s facade and damaging its exterior. Placing vegetation too close to your house can actually trap heat and make the air around your house even warmer. (Cooling Your Home Naturally)

Plant deciduous trees; they provide shade in the summer, then lose their leaves and allow sunlight to warm your house in the winter. The taller varieties of trees will shade your roof as well as your walls.

Ventilate Your Attic

Did you know that a ventilated attic stays about 30 degrees cooler than an unventilated one?

Ventilating your attic greatly reduces the amount of accumulated heat, which eventually works its way into the main part of your house. Properly sized and placed louvers and roof vents help prevent moisture buildup and overheating in your attic. (Cooling Your Home Naturally)

Don’t Cool or Heat an Empty House

Are you paying to heat or cool an empty building?

In the summer, raise the temperature when you plan to be away for several hours at a time. (Of course, you don’t want to raise the temperature too high as heat and humidity can cause your carpet, drapes, and upholstery to mildew). In the winter, reverse the process and lower the temperature on your thermostat before you leave home. “A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. This misconception has been dispelled by years of research and numerous studies. The fuel required to reheat a building to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to the fuel saved as the building drops to the lower temperature. You save fuel between the time that the temperature stabilizes at the lower level and the next time heat is needed. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save”.

If your home is regularly empty during the day, invest in an automatic setback or programmable thermostat. These thermostats are also recommended for business which are empty at night or on the weekends.

Maintain Your Air Conditioner and Heater

Did you know that the biggest users of energy in your home are your heating and cooling systems?

You wouldn’t drive your car year after year without changing its oil or taking it in for a tune-up. Yet many people run their air conditioners and heaters for years without having them serviced. The results are unnecessarily high energy costs and a reduced lifespan for their heating and cooling systems.

If you use standard filters, change them monthly. If you use an electrostatic filter, remember to hose it down regularly.

Make sure your heating and/or cooling equipment is properly sized for your home. Operating a unit that is too small or too large is highly inefficient. A unit that can’t quite keep up on the hottest afternoons or on the coldest nights, may well be a unit that’s too small for your home or place of business. An A-1 Tops heating and cooling technician can determine the best size unit for your residence or business facility.

Have your air conditioner inspected annually. An annual inspection of your cooling system may extend the life of your equipment and save you money by lowering your energy bills. Poorly maintained air conditioners can waste a tremendous amount of energy. “National statistics show that over 70% of all air conditioning and compressor outages could be avoided if the equipment was regularly checked, adjusted, calibrated, and maintained by qualified technicians.” (Source – Around the Clock: Energy Saving Tips).A-1 Tops Air Conditioning & Heatingperforms air conditioning tune-ups in west and southwest Harris and Fort Bend County. Our evaluation of your system’s operation and efficiency will tune-up your system and will identify any areas of potential problems. Some of the common energy wasters a tune-up can identify are:

Improper freon level – up to 20% energy waste

Improperly cleaned evaporator, condenser, blower – up to 50% energy waste

Improperly calibrated thermostat – up to 30% energy waste

Install ceiling fans to boost the efficiency of your air conditioner in the summer and to circulate warm air away from the ceiling in the winter.

If you have a large home, consider the installation of a zoning system. This system regulates airflow and temperature so that you only have to cool or heat the area of your home that you’re using.

Have a licensed technician check your heating system each fall.A-1 Tops Air Conditioning & Heatingperforms heating check-ups in west and southwest Harris and Fort Bend County. An annual check up can ensure that your unit is running efficiently, can prolong the life span of your heater, and can guard against dangerous carbon monoxide leaks. For prices and a detailed description of what a heating check-up includes, click here.

When purchasing a new air conditioner or heat pump, check its SEER (Seasonal Energy Effiency Rating) rating. This rating tells you how efficiently a unit uses electricity. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency.

When purchasing a new air conditioner, consider selecting a split system.

If you replace your central air conditioner, make sure that the outdoor and indoor units match. Otherwise, your system won’t perform at its promised efficiency.

When the time comes to replace your unit, consider the purchase of an Energy Efficient Carrier. Here in Texas, air conditioning accounts for a substantial portion of your energy bill, “up to 60% during the hottest summer months.” (Source – Around the Clock: Energy Saving Tips). Replacing your old air conditioning system with a new, energy efficient model is your best defense against high energy costs.

Financial Benefits
If your central air conditioning system is more than 10 years old, energy savings (not to mention savings on repairs) can pay for a brand new, energy efficient Carrier air conditioning system? “Today’s super efficient Carrier systems often use 40% less energy to cool your home or business than a system that is just 10 years old. The money you save on energy bills often will recoup your investment in less that four or five years.” ( Energy Efficiency is Good for You and the Environment).

Environmental Benefits
Reduced energy usage not only saves you money but also benefits the environment, as less non-replaceable fossil fuels are required to cool or heat your residence or place of business. Furthermore, “New Carrier equipment is super sealed not to leak harmful Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) that have been associated with destruction of the Earth’s protective ozone layer. The destruction of the ozone layer is suspected of causing an increase in skin cancers, and an increase in global warming.” ( Energy Efficiency is Good for You and the Environment)

Zone Your Home

Are you paying to cool empty bedrooms during the day and an empty living room and kitchen at night?

If you have a large home, consider the installation of a zoning system. Using dampers, system regulates airflow and temperature so that you only have to cool or heat the area of your home that you’re using.

A popular alternative to zoning is installing two or more units in different areas of a large home. Consult with an air conditioning design contractor to determine which system would work best for your home.

A-1 Tops Services is pleased to provide Houston air conditioning and heating tips you should know. For more information, please call A-1 Tops Services at 713-783-COOL.