Have you decided to replace your air conditioner this fall? Air conditioning replacement can make your home so much more comfortable, and it can save you thousands on energy throughout its lifespan. If you really want to make the most of your new air conditioner and your air conditioner replacement efforts, however, you may want to complete a few other home improvement projects alongside the replacement. Here are four projects that complement an AC replacement well.
1. Move the thermostat.
Did you know that the location of your thermostat impacts the comfort of your home and how high your energy bills climb? If the thermostat is on an exterior wall, it may read the temperature as lower in the winter and higher in the summer -- causing your HVAC system to turn on less often than is needed. If the thermostat is right over a vent, it will similarly get inaccurate readings.
While replacing your air conditioner, you may want to move your thermostat, too. Your HVAC contractor may do this for a small fee or even free of charge since they're already on-site for other work. The best place for it is on an interior wall, as close to the middle of your home as possible, and far away from any vents.
2. Invest in a smart thermostat.
A decade or two ago, upgrading to a programmable thermostat was the big trend in HVAC. Programmable thermostats were a big step up from old-fashioned, dial-style thermostats. However, now there is an even better option. Smart thermostats coordinate with your smartphone so you can monitor the temperature of your home and adjust it even when you are not at home. This allows you to save even more energy. Plus, the apps that coordinate with a smart thermostat allow you to monitor your energy use and changes in energy use over time.
Some HVAC contractors include a free WiFi thermostat with a new AC unit -- or they may offer a discount. There's no better way to get the most out of your new, efficient air conditioner.
3. Have the ducts sealed.
Over time, the metal ducts that carry air through your home can start to separate at the seams. Some of the conditioned air may leak out between your walls rather than being discharged into your home. Duct sealing is a procedure that involves sealing these gaps to hold more air inside. You'll notice afterwards that your rooms cool more evenly and that your air conditioner does not have to stay on for as long to get your home cool.
4. Add insulation.
Insulation and air conditioning go hand-in-hand. Your air conditioner releases cold air, and the insulation blocks that coolness inside. If you're upgrading your AC unit, this may be a good time to upgrade your insulation, too. You can have the insulation in your attic replaced, and if there is little to no insulation between your walls, you can have insulation blown into these spaces.
Some homeowners also benefit from having their loose fiberglass insulation replaced with spray foam insulation. This dense foam is sprayed onto surfaces and stays there. It has a greater insulating value than fiberglass, and it is resistant to moisture, so it won't grow mold or harbor insects in a humid environment.
A new air conditioner will do you a lot of good, but there are also other projects that can have a major effect on your home's comfort level and energy use. Talk to your HVAC contractor to learn more about moving your thermostat, upgrading your thermostat, sealing your ducts, or updating your insulation.