As we head into the dog days of summer, our thoughts turn to staying cool. Don’t have central A/C in your home? You’re not the only one. Lots of old homes in the Hudson Valley and Catskills aren’t outfitted with air conditioning, but that doesn’t mean have you have to suffer and swelter in the hot temps. Tommy Webber, owner of T. Webber Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, offers these sensible tips for keeping your A/C-less home as cool and cucumber-like as possible.
1. Turn on ceiling fans – If used in conjunction with an air conditioning system, the fans are very effective at lowering the indoor temperature by circulating the cool air throughout the room. In the summer, ceiling fan blades should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down to the floor. In the winter the blades should turn clockwise to pull cool air up.
2. Postpone the use of appliances — On average, there are three major heat generating appliances in the home, the oven, dishwasher and dryer. It is best to use these devices in the evening instead of the hottest part of the day. If possible, skip using the oven during the summer and grill outside more often. Any use of the oven will heat up the home.
3. Keep the doors inside the home open — While in the winter, closing interior doors helps keep heat in specific rooms. Doing so in the hot summer months is detrimental to your cause. You want air to flow freely through rooms and throughout the entire home. Good airflow means a cooler home.
4. Check the window coverings —Thermal drapes, cellular shades or blackout curtains will keep the heat outside and the cool air inside the home.
5. Customized cooling and heating – The major benefit to the installation of a mini-split ductless system is it has the ability to allow for customized heating and cooling throughout the various areas of the home. This allows for one room to be warm and another to be cold, all without inconveniencing anyone. Several air-handling units can hook up to one outdoor system with each zone featuring its own thermostat for convenience.
6. Adding AC to a home with no existing ductwork – Many Hudson Valley homes were built before central heating and air conditioning was widely available, and many older homes have no ductwork at all. To retrofit ductwork in an existing home requires taking away space to make way for the ducts. Ceilings would be lowered or space would have to be carved out of the rooms. Unlike ducted systems, the footprint of a ductless system is minimal.
7. New additions to the home – Summer is the time of the year that homeowners are repurposing spaces or adding new additions to the home. In order to have climate control in that space you only have two options: a ductless system or having additional remodels done to expand ductwork to the garage. The least invasive and fastest way to heat and cool a new addition or a repurposed room is to add a mini-split system.
8. Cost less to operate – The ductless systems are not only great for the environment, but they use substantially less energy. Homeowners can save 20-30 percent per month on their utility bills by switching to a ductless mini-split system.
9. Improve indoor air quality – With traditional ducted HVAC systems, air ducts must be professionally cleaned on a regular basis, and even after cleaning, dust and allergens are left behind. Ductless systems offer multi-stage filtration that can drastically reduce dust, bacteria, pollen, allergens and other particles in the air.