Air conditioning units are typically powered by electricity, which is made from fossil fuels. The use of electricity requires a large amount of energy, which produces carbon dioxide. At excessive levels, this greenhouse gas can trap heat near the planet’s surface and contribute to such environment damage as global warming. So when you use an air conditioner, you’re contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. However, newer models are more energy efficient and use less electricity than older models.
Is an Outdated AC Unit Worse for the Environment?
Your air conditioning unit is responsible for keeping your home cool in the summer. It’s also one of the most energy-efficient systems you can install in your home. The problem is that some people don’t realize how much damage an outdated AC unit can do to the environment.
If your air conditioning system is outdated and inefficient, it will likely burn more electricity than newer systems and may be using more energy than necessary. This means that you’re paying more money on your electric bill while producing more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. And if they haven’t been maintained properly, they can leak refrigerant into the atmosphere. This is an environmental hazard as well as potentially hazardous to your health if it’s inhaled or touched.
How to Minimize Your Impact on the Environment
Air conditioning units have a significant impact on the environment and can cost more than other types of cooling systems. The good news is that there are ways to minimize your impact on the environment.
Air conditioners can be recycled and parts can be reused. The EPA estimates that 50 percent of units are still in working order after 10 years and could be recycled instead of disposed. In addition, most air conditioners are energy efficient, so it makes sense to keep them operating as long as possible. When you’re ready to replace your unit, buy an Energy Star certified model that meets strict criteria for energy efficiency, performance and indoor air quality.
Here are some ways to minimize your impact on the environment with your air conditioner:
- Use a programmable thermostat and set it to 78 degrees or higher when you’re not home. This will allow the air conditioner to run less often, which reduces its energy use and lowers your utility bills.
- Clean or replace filters regularly because dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.
- Use fans when possible instead of turning on the AC unit. Fans cool people by circulating air around the body, while central air conditioning cools entire rooms by removing hot air from inside the house and replacing it with cooler outside air through vents throughout the house. If you use fans during hot weather, turn them off when using your central AC system to avoid unnecessary energy use when cooling needs are greatest.
New Air Conditioners have Improved Environmental Ratings
Today’s air conditioners use about 2 percent of all electricity consumed in the United States. They account for about 6 percent of all energy use in homes, according to Consumer Reports. The magazine says that’s because newer models use far less energy than older ones did.
The EPA says that new air conditioners have improved environmental ratings. It says that an Energy Star-rated unit uses at least 15 percent less energy than a standard model and has features like timers and remote controls that let you adjust temperatures from anywhere in your home — and even when you’re away from home. The agency adds that Energy Star-rated models also use less water because they don’t run until they reach their desired temperatures.
Energy Star-Rated Models Installed by Mullin Heating and Air Conditioning in Broken Arrow, OK.
As you shop for a new air conditioner, you may see that some models have an ENERGY STAR rating and others don’t. What’s the difference?
The Energy Rating label on your ac unit tells you how much energy it uses and how much CO2 it produces. It also gives you an idea of how efficient your unit is and how much money you’ll save on your electricity bill.