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 Solar Home Efficiency - Temperature Control 
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Post Solar Home Efficiency - Temperature Control
by: Kriss Bergethon

Homeowners all over the world are considering a solar power kit or solar panel system for their home. This is a powerful way to save money, produce clean energy, and "go green". But before you do this you have to make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. The less energy you use, the greater impact your solar power system will have on your wallet and the planet. There are several things you can do in conjunction with solar panels to create an extremely efficient, comfortable home. This article will teach you about energy efficient heating, air conditioning, and passive solar.


Using gas (e.g. propane or natural gas) to heat your home is very efficient compared to electric furnaces. And using hot water heat, such as floorboard and in-floor heating is much more efficient than forced-air. Whatever your heat system is, regular maintenance is key to efficient energy usage. Often components such filters, valves or burners must be replaced periodically. Cleaning ducts can also improve overall efficiency.

For smaller spaces that are far away from the central heating unit (such as garages or basements) kerosene heaters can provide cheap, fast heat without the expense of heating of the space every day. Closing doors, vents or valves for seldom used rooms also reduces consumption significantly.

Something else to consider is your temperature setting. Try lowering the temperature setting by one degree each week for four weeks. By the fourth week, chances are you won't notice that your house is four degrees colder. And if you are colder, doesn't it make sense to throw on a sweater instead of heating the entire house?

Air Conditioning

Cooling air in hot climates is a huge drain on our electrical grid. This kind of consumption can be partially blamed for the rolling blackouts in California and other states a few years ago. Again, maintenance on these units is key. Have a trained professional check the refrigerant levels and performance. For new units, look at for the Energy Star logo. This government program certifies the best energy performers. New air conditioning units are often 200% more efficient than their old counterparts.

In arid climates, swamp coolers are a wonderful option for cooling. Swamp coolers work best when they are placed in shady areas, as opposed the roof mounts we are used to seeing. And the same holds true for cooling: don't cool seldom used spaces and keep filters and ducts clean.

Try the temperature experiment for cooling your home as well. Raise the thermostat by one degree each week for four weeks. Also, try simply opening the windows at night to let in the cool air. Chances are the night are is enough to cool your house while you sleep.


How often does your system run? Is it running all day while you're at work? Many people believe that it is inefficient to shut the system off while they are gone for the day and then have the system kick on right before they get home. This is almost always untrue. A well-sealed, insulated home will maintain a comfortable temperature within 5-10 degrees over an 8 hour workday. Try it out for a few days and see for yourself.

A programmable thermostat, and a homeowner that knows how to use it, is an absolutely essential piece of an energy efficient home. Turning your system way down while you're away on vacation, even for a weekend, will have a significant impact on your electrical consumption. Take 15 minutes and read your owners manual for you thermostat, or go out and get yourself a new one. New thermostats cost as little as $20 but can have a huge impact on your energy usage.

Passive Solar

What is passive solar? Passive solar is using the sun and your window treatments to heat or cool your home. Simply opening your blinds on the south side of your home during the day can raise the temperature inside by 10 degrees. Likewise, adding shade trees, window treatments, or awnings to the south side of your home can lower the temperature inside significantly. Plus these additions can add beauty and aesthetics to your home. An architect and a landscape architect can help you add beautiful and functional components to your home that will pay off with lower utility bills.

About The Author
Kriss Bergethon is a writer and solar expert from Colorado.

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Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:29 am
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