Cost Effective Summer Cooling

Electric rates are climbing with little prospect for relief. Even if generating costs come down, the massive infrastructure plans for utilities promise to add considerably to future bills.

So how do you keep control of your summer cooling costs? Fortunately, Colorado consumers have plenty of options.

Save Energy with an Eco-Friendly Dual Purpose Heat Pump

Active cooling has traditionally been done with central air, evaporative (swamp) coolers, window units, and fans. But as heat pump technology is becoming more widespread and affordable, consumers are seeing significant reductions in cooling costs compared to other refrigerated air systems.

Yes, heat pumps work for cooling, too. Besides bringing warm air into the building, they can also take it out and replace it with cool air. They use a two-way circulation system to pass outside air through a unit that heats it in the winter and cools it in the summer.

A typical central heat pump system has two components. An outdoor unit has a heat exchanger with a coil and fan. The coil operates as a condenser in cooling mode and an evaporator in heating mode. An indoor unit, called the air handler, also has a coil and a fan. The indoor fan blows the heated or cooled air through the building’s air distribution system.

In operation, it’s much like your kitchen refrigerator, exchanging hot air for cold. In appearance, it’s similar to a typical HVAC unit, but it uses considerably less energy to do its work.

For more information about how heat pumps work, see this video on the This Old House YouTube channel.

A heat pump saves energy costs in two ways. First, it’s an all-electric system so there’s no natural gas or other fossil fuel expense. Second, by using the outside air as a supplemental energy source instead of relying totally on heating and cooling coils, overall electricity use is lowered compared to other systems.

Purchase and installation costs are comparable to central air, but still represent a major investment. Sometimes a ductless mini-split system (which uses the same technology as a heat pump) can be less expensive, especially for smaller spaces.

Since heat pumps are considered eco-friendly, there are also incentives offered by government agencies and utilities, so be sure to check those out. And the lowered environmental footprint of heat pumps is there regardless.

Take Advantage of Nature

Colorado’s semi-arid climate and high elevation give residents several ways to use nature to their advantage when summer temperatures climb. Our thinner, drier air dissipates heat faster than in the humid climes of lower elevations. Temperature drops quickly as the sun goes down and taking advantage of the naturally cooler evening and nighttime air is cheaper than paying to cool down trapped indoor air.

Open windows and use ceiling, attic, and whole house fans that use much less electricity than refrigerated air conditioning. Ceiling fans give a gentle cooling breeze while floor and table fans can keep air circulating in individual rooms. And don’t forget the kitchen exhaust fan. It removes hot cooking air and draws cool evening air in through open windows. Then trap that cool air in by closing windows, drapes, and blinds in the morning, and closing doors to rooms you don’t use during the day.

More Ways to Save This Summer

Here are more ways to cut down on your energy costs as we move into summer:

  • Avoid peak demand times. Rates are 40% higher between 1pm and 7pm, when demand is at its highest. Move things like laundry and cooking to mornings and evenings if you can.
  • Move your cooking outdoors. Homeowners are finding that outdoor kitchens add enjoyment to summer cooking while keeping the heat outdoors.
  • Dress for the weather. Lightweight, loose clothing lets air circulate near your skin turning you into your own evaporative cooler.
  • Switch to LED lighting. Incandescent bulbs waste over half their energy generating heat. That not only adds to cooling costs, it also shows up in your electric bill. LED bulbs are cool, energy efficient, and long-lasting.

Allstar Electrical Services is committed to helping you enjoy your summer at the lowest possible cost. Our extensive residential services are there to help you reach that goal. Visit our website to learn more. Then email us or give us a call at 303.399.7420 to schedule an appointment.