According to the United States Department of Energy (DOE), cooling your Flower Mound, TX, home likely accounts for half of your summertime energy use. Although air conditioners and heat pumps don’t generate carbon emissions firsthand, the electricity that they rely on often does. Residential refrigerants also take an environmental toll by damaging the earth’s ozone layer. Fortunately, you can stay comfortably cool this summer with the following eco-friendly cooling solutions.

Swap Your Air Conditioner Out for a Heat Pump

As per the DOE, these increasingly popular appliances can reduce cooling-related energy use by as much as 80%. The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) also hails heat pumps as the key to striking ambitious, global emissions-reduction goals. In the right conditions, heat pumps can be 300% efficient or more. At this level of performance, they produce as much as three times the cooling energy that they consume in electric energy.

Heat pumps are a lot like air conditioners. In fact, in summer, they’re functionally identical. They have outdoor condenser units and indoor air handlers, and they use refrigerant to transfer heat as needed. One of the many benefits of trading your central AC for a heat pump is being able to use this same appliance for heating in the winter. With winter temperatures that rarely dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, Flower Mound is an excellent location for year-round heat pump use.

Cool Your Home With a Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump or AC

For homes that lack the ducting to support central cooling equipment, ductless mini-split systems are worth exploring. You can choose from ductless mini-split air conditioners or heat pumps to replace old, inefficient window ACs. Compared to window air conditioners, ductless mini-splits:

  • Are highly efficient
  • Provide zoned climate control
  • Offer whisper-quiet operation
  • Are capable of cooling entire buildings

In homes without central HVAC systems, ductless mini-splits also boost property values and enhance marketability.

Like air conditioners and heat pumps, ductless mini-split systems have outdoor condenser units. Though ductless mini-split condensers are noticeably smaller, they’re still installed on stable, concrete, or composite pads in back or side yards. These units are connected to one or more indoor air handlers, and each air handler has its own thermostat.

With a ductless mini-split system, you can selectively cool different areas of your home. Ductless cooling eliminates the need to route conditioned air into vacant rooms. It also allows everyone to create the conditions they want in their immediate areas.

Have Your Central HVAC System Zoned

Your standard, central cooling system cools your entire home uniformly. When you turn your air conditioner on, it runs repeated cooling cycles until all areas reach your thermostat’s temperature setting. Zoning breaks large buildings up into small service areas. As with ductless mini-split systems, each zone or service area has its own, independently controlled thermostat. Similarly, zoning eliminates the need to cool unoccupied rooms and offers sufficient flexibility for meeting the diverse needs of multiple building residents.

Zoning is another HVAC upgrade that can add to the value and marketability of your home. Zoning is fast becoming the standard for HVAC installations. When zoning HVAC systems, HVAC technicians add bypass ducts and duct dampers to the ducting. In a zoned system, when conditioned air is no longer needed, duct dampers seal shut and bypass ducts open. Along with new ducting or ductwork renovations, you’ll also need one to four smart thermostats and a smart zone control system.

Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat

ENERGY STAR asserts that smart thermostats can easily shave up to 8% off the average homeowner’s energy bill. Much like programmable thermostats, smart thermostats can hold multiple pre-set temperature adjustments. These devices are both learning- and Wi-Fi-enabled. As such, they eventually become skilled at adjusting themselves. With remote temperature monitoring and remote temperature control, homeowners can identify HVAC problems, stay abreast of energy consumption, and more.

Eliminate Human Error

The DOE shares several simple strategies for cutting summertime cooling costs throughout the nation. Among these is making slight temperature adjustments before leaving home or going to bed. As per the DOE, raising your thermostat setting by just two degrees during normal work and nighttime hours can cut your home cooling costs by as much as 10%. Smart thermostats make it easy to stay on top of these adjustments by eliminating oversight and natural human error.

Stay on Top of HVAC Maintenance and Repairs

Many smart thermostats offer timely filter changes and HVAC maintenance reminders. These alerts help homeowners remain compliant with the terms of their HVAC equipment manufacturer warranties. With fresh filters and on-time, seasonal tune-ups, your air conditioner will offer consistently excellent performance and optimum levels of efficiency.

Invest in HVAC Air Duct Sealing and Insulation

Another way to lower your home cooling costs in Texas is by taking proper care of your HVAC air ducts. According to the DOE and the University of Florida, your air ducts could lose up to 40% of the conditioned air that your AC produces. To combat these losses, have your ducting inspected and maintained each year. You should also have loose, leaky ducts sealed with mastic tape or Aeroseal. Aeroseal is an aerosol-based insulation for ducting that’s applied via HVAC air vents. It’s hailed by the DOE as being among the most remarkable technological and scientific innovations of its time.

Options in ACs That Use Eco-Friendly Refrigerants

Increasing the efficiency of your home cooling equipment will lower your carbon footprint by minimizing “grey emissions,” or emissions that result from electricity production. However, another important step in ensuring eco-friendly cooling is choosing equipment that uses responsible refrigerant.

If your air conditioner is two decades old or older, it probably uses R22, or Freon. Freon contains hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that diminish the ozone layer and indirectly contribute to global warming. AC manufacturers have replaced Freon with Puron, which lacks HCFCs but contains significant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The latest innovation in AC and heat pump refrigerants and the soon-to-be industry standard for residential cooling are advanced Opteon refrigerants. Opteon refrigerants contain neither HCFCs nor HFCs, and they take a far lesser toll on the environment.

Don’t Forget the “V” in HVAC

The “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation, and your home needs plenty of it. Part of increasing the efficiency of your summertime cooling plan is creating a virtually airtight living environment. Tightening your home envelope by adding insulation and weatherstripping where needed prevents cold, conditioned air from escaping and keeps warm, outdoor air from seeping in.

However, tight home envelopes inhibit natural air exchange. This is when stagnant indoor air moves outside and is replaced by fresh outdoor air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), outdoor air can be five times less contaminated than the air inside. Not only is ventilating your home great for your indoor air quality (IAQ), but it also limits stress on home cooling equipment and may lead to more efficient operation.

Take good care of your home’s existing mechanical ventilation by regularly cleaning your bathroom exhaust fans, range hood vent, and dryer vent. These efforts will also help regulate humidity and keep your living space from feeling clammy, muggy, or all-around oppressive. Set your overhead fans to spin counterclockwise to push a cooling breeze down and explore your options for additional mechanical ventilation as needed. Options like whole-house fans and energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) can make a world of difference in how your home feels and how much you must pay to maintain comfortable conditions.

We’re proud to serve homeowners in Flower Mound and the surrounding communities. You can count on us for top-notch heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services. We also offer energy recovery ventilators, whole-house dehumidifiers, duct cleaning, and electronic air cleaners. For help optimizing your summertime cooling plan, contact Honest Home Services LLC today.

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