A solar powered air conditioner system is an excellent way to start the process of using solar energy for your home, but it can be expensive. These are some tips you may not know about to help your system be more affordable!
Air conditioning is one of the highest residential utility costs just ask any homeowner who lives in a region with lots of hot weather, or even just hot summers.
One reason is the number of sources that naturally contribute to raising the interior temperature in a house, such as stoves, ovens, dryers, hair dryers, electronic equipment, etc.
Air conditioners have to cool the additional heat that these items contribute to interior air temperatures, as well as counteract the effects of additional heat from dark colored roofs, west and south facing windows and hot attics.
It is a smart practice to do an energy audit before purchasing your solar powered air conditioner system. By addressing the items mentioned above, you can reduce the size and cost of the system you will need to cool your home. Many of these changes are relatively low-cost, but can result in significant long-term savings.
For example, insulation is an important factor in cutting energy costs. While a solar powered air conditioner will reduce the amount of electricity you are buying from the utility company, it does not make sense to cool more warm air than is necessary. By properly insulating the attic, walls, cracks around windows and doors and any other leaks that let more warm air into your house, you will maximize the financial benefit you get from your solar powered air conditioning.
Dark colored roofs are another factor that drastically increases the load on air conditioners. Interior attic temperatures can reach as high as 150% during the day when a black asphalt shingle roof is exposed to direct sunlight. In comparison, attic temperatures in a house with a light colored asphalt shingle roof during the same daylight conditions will be more than 30 degrees cooler.
That is a significant amount of heat that your air conditioner will not have to cool. So if your dark colored roof is nearing replacement age, it is a good idea to consider replacing it with a light colored one. Remember, you may be able to offset some of the cost by buying a smaller, lower priced solar air conditioning system.
If you have large windows that face west or south, you can decrease the amount of heat they contribute during the hot season by installing awnings or thermal lined window coverings. By closing the drapes on these windows during the day, the house will stay cooler. You will get a bonus benefit, too your carpeting and upholstery will not fade from the exposure to sunlight.
Another way to reduce your initial cost may be to buy a new unit, since they are as much as 60% more efficient in energy usage than air conditioning units built in the 1990s or earlier. Remember that in many cities, the local utility company will buy back extra electricity. A new, more efficient solar powered air conditioning system may put you in the position to sell back some of your excess power.
You may also be able to install fewer solar panels than it would take to power your older air conditioner. It is even possible that the savings from the lower number of solar panels that a newer system requires, in addition to your annual energy savings and any rebates or tax credits, could pay for the cost of the new unit.
There are many state and national programs in the U.S. and other countries around the world offer cash rebates, tax credits or other kinds of incentives for investing in energy efficient systems. These are good reasons to invest in a solar powered air conditioner system sooner rather than waiting for prices to come down.
These incentives may not be available later on, so check into what programs are available in your area right now. Installing your solar powered air conditioning system will allow you to enjoy lower energy costs as soon as possible instead of paying more while you wait.
Perhaps the biggest additional benefit to installing a solar air conditioning system is that the solar panels continue to produce electricity during the rest of the year when you do not use the air conditioner. So the savings on your utility bill is really a year round bonus. And if you were able to implement some of the energy-saving suggestions throughout the rest of your house, you may be able to have a few months without having to pay a utility bill wouldn't that be nice!
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