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AC Broken Down? How to Help the Environment While You Replace It

An eco-friendly air conditioner may seem like a contradictory term, but there are ways to keep your home or office cool in the summer while minimizing your environmental impact. Like washing machines, water heaters, and even light bulbs, air conditioning technology has evolved in the last two decades to make them more efficient and use fewer resources. Replacing your old AC with a newer, eco-friendly model means lower utility bills without compromising comfort. 

Make sure your new unit meets the latest energy standards

Most of our homes have AC units that are more energy efficient than ten years old. In most cases they no longer meet the current energy standards. Even with regular maintenance, they simply don’t meet the current energy and environmental standards. Replacing old, inefficient units is the best way to lower your carbon footprint this summer.

Avoid the landfill

Dispose of your old AC properly. Instead of sending it to the landfill, recycle it for scrap. There are a number of companies that specialize in collecting and breaking down large household appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, and AC units for scrap metal and used parts. Check with local scrap metal buyers to see what they can do for you. If there isn’t one available in your area, you can also often take it to a hardware or tech store and ask if they can recycle the unit for you.

Does your AC unit fit

Another common problem is choosing a unit that is too small for the area it needs to cool. This means that the unit has to work harder, run longer, and still might not be able to cool the room evenly. Check the specs before you buy and make sure that the unit you purchase is built to comfortably cool the entire area. Buying a replacement unit that actually fits to your home size and needs will prevent wasted energy.

Upgrade your thermostat

Invest in a programmable thermostat. This is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your new AC unit. A programmable unit allows you to prevent your unit from running unnecessarily when nobody is home or in zones where AC is not needed. Some can connect to apps, allowing you to control your AC even when you’re away. They can also often be scheduled to turn on before you get home, allowing your AC to gradually adjust the temperature to be ready for your return rather than pushing harder to make it the right temperature right away.

Change your filter

Some of us have no idea what kind of filter our AC unit uses until there’s a problem. Be sure to check your filters regularly, and switch to a charcoal filter if the one you have is made of synthetic, non-biodegradable fibers. If possible, consider investing in a reusable AC filter. 

Finally, consider an evaporative cooler, AKA swamp cooler. It is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional AC unit. They use a third of the energy and don’t require the same coolants that AC units use. They aren’t an ideal option for everybody but talk to your installer about what works best for you.

  • Meghan Belnap is the author of this post.

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