Cool Down this Summer
Your Allies for a Heat-free Home
June, 2008 - Issue #44
With summer bearing down on the Santa Clarita Valley, we're all asking the same question: How am I going to keep my home cool without going broke?

Energy prices are soaring, so you can expect higher bills. Higher, that is, unless you find a way a more efficient way of getting it done. Thankfully, you have options.

The Switch
Did you know, for instance, that one of the most cost-effective ways to cool your house (or apartment) this summer is by letting the air conditioner run? That's right, run.

"The key is not to let your home get above about 90 degrees," says Johnie MacDonald of Mac Heating and Cooling. "When you do, then your furniture gets hot. Your carpet gets hot.Your walls get hot. After that, it's hard to cool your house because those things are putting off so much heat."

The trick, says MacDonald, is to install a programmable thermostat - a way to regulate the temperature in your home throughout the day.

"A simple thermostat can save you a lot of money," MacDonald says. "You can program it so that when you come home from work, you don't have to run your air for three to four hours straight."
MacDonald says you should set it to 90 degrees when you're not home, then program it to start cooling into the 70s about 30 minutes before you expect to be home, then turn off 30 minutes after you go to bed.

The Ceiling
Another simple solution is to install a ceiling fan. According to George Cleminson of Valley Breeze, a quality ceiling fan can cut cooling bills by as much as 25 percent.

But not all fans are created equal. "The key is you need a fan with a good motor," Cleminson says. "The typical fans you'll see at home centers don't push enough air to make a big difference."

The science of the ceiling fan bears that out. In the summer, the idea is to use your fan to create a wind chill factor. To do that, you need to move enough air so that people can feel it below. "You're not actually making the room cooler," Cleminson says. "You're making it feel cooler."

Run your fan on forward in the summer months, unless you own a fan powerful enough to create a wind chill in reverse. In other words, if you can't feel the air hitting you, don't run it reverse - at least not in the summer.

The Sun
Perhaps the most powerful (and unlikely) ally available in your battle to cool your home is the sun. By harnessing the potential of solar energy, you can convert the oppressive SCV summer heat into energy.

Greg Johanson, president and owner of Solar Electrical Systems, is just the guy to help you do it. Johanson has been designing cutting edge solar technology for decades. He's listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for setting the first speed record for a solar car, and he invented a solar roof for the Toyota Prius.

Today, he saves businesses and homeowners thousands of dollars a year by designing and installing solar panels. All you need is a south, west or east-facing roof that's unshaded between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Solar Electric will even handle the permits with your HOA.

How does it work? Silicon wafers convert the sun's rays into DC electrical power. An inverter then converts that into usable AC power, which literally spins your electric meter backward and reduces your bill.

Installing solar panels isn't the cheapest solution, but between government rebates and power company discounts, units usually pay for themselves in about four to five years... and they last well beyond 40. That's a good investment.

For More Information...
Mac Heating & Cooling
Valley Breeze Fan Co. 255-5015
Solar Electrical Systems 805-497-9808
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