Heating And Cooling In Floridian Home Construction: Tips For Making Your Vacation Home Comfortable And Energy-Efficient
Building a vacation home in Florida means that you are already aware, to a certain extent, of how hot Floridian summers can get. However, are you prepared to make your vacation home both comfortable and energy-efficient? Here are some tips you can use during and after home construction which accomplishes your heating and cooling goals.
HVAC Tips During Construction
Heat Pumps vs. Traditional Central Air Conditioners
Florida is far enough south that a heat pump system is a very good option for you. Rather than a traditional condenser and evaporator system, which is found in many central air conditioners, a heat pump works on removing the hot air from your home and allowing the cooler air to stay. Also, a traditional central air conditioner may be forced to run continuously on Florida's hottest days of the year. If you install a heat pump system in your home during construction, you will save yourself a lot of money later on in both conversion costs and heating and cooling costs.
Also, if you install more insulation than you think you need, you can keep more cool air in your home during the summer and more warm air in during the winter. Many homes farther to the south tend to have less insulation than those in the colder Northern regions of the U.S. Discuss with your contractor how much insulation is generally installed (e.g., in the attic and/or walls) and then ask him/her about installing more insulation to increase heating and cooling efficiency. Better yet, ask your HVAC contractor about extra insulation and its effects on your heating and cooling costs.
Tips after Construction
Setting and Keeping the Thermostat at a Constant Temperature
To keep your Floridian vacation home cool after construction is complete (and any time of the year thereafter), keep the thermostat set for about seventy degrees (or whatever temperature is most comfortable for you above fifty degrees). This will engage the heat pump when it is hot, and the heat pump will move hot air out of your home. When it is cold, the preset temperature will engage the heat pump, and it will reverse its flow and place warmer air back into your home.
Additionally, you should use room-darkening shades throughout your vacation home. If you keep them drawn most of the year, you can conserve more energy because your home will not get as hot and the heat pump will not have to work quite so hard. If you spend your winter months in Florida, you can open your shades, letting in more heat and light to warm your vacation house.