Friday, July 26, 2013

Insulation Is Our Friend

Finally some relief from the humidity today.  It was actually quite pleasant when I stepped outside this morning to place the recyclables at curbside.  We are enjoying a cool front down from Canada.  Thank you Canada!!!  Prior to this respite, we have had several weeks of unbelievable heat and humidity with the heat index well over 100 degrees.  A difficult summer indeed.

As we have discussed here in the past, I have a small window air conditioning unit in my bedroom which I use in the summer months to help take some of the stress off the main central air conditioning unit.  This 5,000 BTU unit helps the main cooling unit run less, thereby saving me money.  You would not think that adding an additional unit would bring down cooling costs, but it did.

To further help with cooling costs during the particularly hot summer, I decided to add some insulation to the side panels on the window unit.  I added insulation to these side panels once before on the inside.  But I became less pleased with how that looked over time.  So I removed that insulation and decided to insulate the side panels from the outside.

Very simply, I bought a package of Duck Brand insulating foam blocks.  Then I went outside and placed a ladder on the patio and measured how far it was horizontally and vertically from the side and top of the window to the air conditoining unit.  I transferred those measurements onto the insulating foam with a silver marker and cut out the section with a pair of household shears.  My measurements were 7-1/2" wide by 12-1/2" high.  Yours will be different depending on the window size and the size of the unit.

Prior to this project, the only thing keeping out the hot, humid air was this thin accordion style plastic panel, which is probably not very energy efficient.

I positioned the insulating block in place and used a putty knife to push it into the crevices for a nice, tight fit.  I cut it a little larger than needed so it would fit snugly in the space.

Finally, you can see here that I did the same on both sides of the air conditioning unit.  A nice clean installation.  I placed this air conditioning unit in a window that faces the back of my property because I did not want it to be seen from the street.  But a neat installation is a must whether it can be seen or not.  This is a neat installation.  This will help keep the cool air in and the hot, humid air out.  In the winter, it will keep warm air from escaping to the outside.  I have a cover I put over the exposed part of the air conditioner every fall, so that helps to further insulate things.

If you have a window unit and would like to save a few dollars on your electric bill, this small change can make a difference.  We all want to keep as many dollars as possible in our pockets.  Plus it is just the right thing to do to save precious natural resources. 
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