To cover or not to cover your HVAC? That is sometimes a question a homeowner needs to answer. Here’s what you should know when making your decision about HVAC covers:
To Cover — or Not
It’s not really the entire HVAC system you will need to worry about, but just the outdoor portion of the air conditioner, which includes the condenser and compressor. Although these parts of your A/C are vital to its operation, they are pretty well protected within the sturdy metal housing that usually covers the air conditioner.
You would not want to cover the condenser up in the summer because that would impede air flow, but in the winter, when its not in use, you probably wouldn’t want to cover it up either. The reason? It makes a cozy nest for rodents, which are likely to burrow their way in and set up shop. HVAC companies often report a nice business in springtime, repairing the damage to wiring and other parts that rodents may do when the condenser is covered up tight.
So when would you want to cover up the air conditioner? Here are a few scenarios:
During snow events
Having modern, energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment is important if you hope to have a comfortable home that’s doesn’t cost a fortune to condition. However, another crucial ingredient in a modern household is proper HVAC design.
Following are some key characteristics of good residential HVAC design:
A correctly sized cooling or heating system
Your contractor should insist upon conducting a heating or cooling load calculation (depending on the system) that takes into account your home’s size and layout, energy efficiency, window coverage, orientation on the lot, and much more. With that information in hand, your contractor will recommend the right size A/C, heat pump or furnace for your particular home. This way, you’ll avoid an under- or over-sized HVAC system, each of which has its own set of potential problems affecting energy costs and comfort.
You don’t want a home in which the same, stale air circulates again and again. This is neither comfortable nor healthy. Consider installing a Heat Recovery or Energy Recovery Ventilation system, which constantly exchanges stale air for fresh air, and at the same time transfers heat energy (and moisture in an ERV) between parallel air streams for added efficiency and comfort.
Don’t take that ceiling fan whirling above your head for granted. During the cooling season, a ceiling fan offers a number of benefits in addition to helping keep you cool. An operating ceiling fan, or any fan really, creates a cooling effect for anyone in the path of the moving air. This helps relieve some of the pressure on your air conditioning system, which won’t have to work so hard to provide all the cooling in a home.
This cooling effect is similar to the windchill effect that a person will feel when outside on a windy, winter’s day. The big difference is that in the summertime in Georgia, you really appreciate the cooling effect.
Operating a ceiling fan during the summer will provide these important benefits:
As mentioned, the cooling effect. You’ll feel more comfortable and cooler with ceiling fans operating. While the fan doesn’t actually lower the temperature, the effect of the moving air makes it feel as if the temperature is three or four degrees lower. With the air feeling cooler, you can raise the thermostat temperature by several degrees without any loss of comfort. This reduces the workload on your air conditioning system, which …
If any of your summer projects involve working in the attic, take special care to be safe in this area of your home. Working in the attic presents conditions and challenges that you won’t find elsewhere.
Here are some suggestions for staying safe during attic projects:
Prepare your tools and supplies. Space will be limited in the attic, so prepare your tools and materials in advance so that you’ll know what you’re taking with you. Put tools in a belt or a small toolbox. Having the exact tools you need will save time and prevent the need for frequent trips up and down the ladder to the attic. Put on protective clothing. Attics are going to be filled with dust, particles of insulation, and other material that can irritate your skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, gloves, and even a cap to keep insulation off your skin and out of your hair. Wear kneepads if you’ll be kneeling on joists or beams. Make sure your work boots have sufficient tread to give you good traction. If possible, wear coveralls or other overgarment, or old clothing that can be disposed of when you’re done. Wear a respirator and goggles. The particulates …
It’s not surprising that energy myths continue to spread through the public’s knowledge about their homes. These myths are based in the desire to better understand their home’s essential systems and how to save money.
However prevalent, these practices and situations have no basis in reality:
Not changing the thermostat saves money. If you’re going to be away, it will save energy to raise or lower the temperature, depending on the season. Unless your HVAC system is inadequate or very old, it will be able to cool your home down within a short period. Programmable thermostats are effective in lowering energy costs by controlling temperatures when homes aren’t occupied. Smart thermostats give you control of your HVAC system from anywhere, which makes it possible to manage the HVAC system for optimal energy savings. Appliances don’t use energy when they’re off. Many appliances and devices in your home use electricity when they’re not running. Entertainment systems and kitchen appliances continue to use power if they have clocks or are programmable. Some of the worst culprits are chargers for portable electronic devices that use block-style, heavy chargers. Their chargers continue to draw power even when the device is unplugged. Closing …