........The Cajun Contractor, Michael King.........
..................Michael King
...........The Cajun Contractor

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Mobile homes can provide years of comfortable and convenient living, while giving you the most for the dollar you spend on electricity. Here are some energy conservation tips relating to air-conditioning that can help keep your utility bills low. Next week we’ll look at other energy-saving tips.

AIR CONDITIONING: The single largest energy user in the Gulf Coast area mobile home is the air conditioning system. Peak energy use occurs during the hot and humid months of June, July, August and September. The air-conditioning system functions mush like a refrigerator in that it removes heat and moisture from the interior of your home and replaces it with cool, dry, filtered air. Unnecessary heat and humidity from the outside can cause the system to work overtime, resulting in high utility bills. Properly installed and maintained equipment is a must if your air-conditioning system is to operate efficiently.

DUCTWORK: It is extremely important that the return air duct is tightly sealed. Outside air can be pulled in through the slightest crack, placing an additional workload on the air-conditioning unit. A simple, periodic ductwork check should be part of your maintenance routine. Since most ductwork is located under the mobile home, adding skirting form the bottom of the home to the ground, or even a couple of inches below ground level, will help you get the most from your air-conditioning system in the summer and heating system in the winter. It also will help keep pets and other small animals from tearing out the duct insulation or the ductwork itself.

WEATHERPROOFING: Adding weather stripping and caulking are inexpensive and easy ways to keep your energy costs down. First, clean the area to be caulked to ensure proper adhesion, and then use a caulking compound. The best compounds remain elastic when dry and are available in colors to match exterior finishes. Weather stripping comes in a variety of materials, from foam to bronze. Check with a reputable hardware store to determine the best type for you in terms of cost, durability and ease of installation.

FILTERS: The return air filters of your air-conditioning and heating system should be changed or cleaned regularly. Dirty filters slow air movement and increase the system’s running time. Permanent filters should be cleaned weekly, and the disposable ones should be placed monthly. The savings in your electric bill will more than offset the cost of filters.

VENTILATION: This is another load on the air-conditioning system that you can lessen removing moisture from Louisiana’s humid atmosphere is a large part of your system’s job. Cooking and bathing increase the humidity inside any residence, but proper ventilation can decrease the strain on your AC and your pocketbook. Range hoods and bathroom vents can remove considerable moisture from your living area, and do it with little effort and expense. Where ventilators can be placed on the roof, heat trapped in the space between the insulation and roof can be removed. This results in a cooler attic area and ceiling, which are very important to both comfort and energy efficiency.

TEMPERATURE CONTROL: A thermostat setting of 78 to 80 degrees is recommended during the summer. Since high humidity helps your body hold heat, the use of a dehumidifier improves the comfort level and requires less energy than running the air-conditioning system. Ceiling fans and oscillating fans also help control humidity by increasing air circulation and promoting evaporation of excess moisture (humidity) from your skin. In the winter, a thermostat setting of 65 degrees is recommended. Again, humidity affects comfort level. A properly humified room is as comfortable at 68 degrees as a dry one at 72 degrees. A humidifier, or even a vaporizer, can add all the moisture you need. To prevent deterioration, it is best to keep humidity levels at about 30 percent.

SITING AND SHADING: Much of the comfort you seek and the home’s efficient use of energy are determined by its placement on the lot. In southern latitudes, a mobile home should be positioned in an east-west direction so that the rays of the sun will not hit the home broadside. Also consider tree location when siting a mobile home. Freestanding tress are an effective shading device for walls and roof. Deciduous trees let the sun in during the winter and provide constant shade, but this might be undesirable able during winter, when the sun’s rays can be used to help warm your home. As the number of trees increases, their effect on the house will change. A grove of trees not only will provide shade and wind protection, but also modify outside air temperature through evaporative cooling. Experiments have shown a difference in shaded and un shaded outdoor wall surfaces of 8 degrees. Other research shows that shade trees will reduce heat gains by 40 percent to 80 percent, depending upon their placement and density.

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with any kind of home improvement job you can think of, click here!



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