Keeping the cost of cooling your house down can be difficult, and you might look for a variety of ways to cut out energy waste. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misnomers floating around that can even cost you more money in the long run because they’re not effective. You should watch out for these summer cooling myths so that you can avoid some pretty easy mistakes.
Air Conditioners Remove Heat From the Home
First of all, a lot of people don’t understand how an air conditioner works. Some people seem to think that an air conditioner makes cooled air, but this is a somewhat skewed way of thinking about it. To better understand how your air conditioner works, you need to think about what cool air is. Cool air means that there’s little heat, which is a form of energy. So, an air conditioner is pulling the heat, otherwise thought of as energy, out of the air in your house. It does this by collecting air from your home, running it through a cycle that involves a refrigerant, and pumping the air that now has less heat in it back into your home. Additionally, the air conditioner pulls the humidity out of your house through this process to further make the air more comfortable. This is an important point to remember when you begin thinking about how your system is set up and when you’re ready to have your system serviced.
Shutting Vents Is Hard on Your System
Another common misnomer is the idea that you should shut the doors and vents to the rooms that you’re not using so that you can cool down the parts of the house that you are using more quickly. This technique backfires because your ductwork and the entire HVAC system were designed to cool the entire house. When you close vents and doors, you only prevent the free circulation of air, which makes it harder for the air conditioner to pump the cooled air back inside the house. Because your air conditioner has to work harder, it also uses more energy, which costs more money.
Most Heat Transfer Isn’t Through the Doors and Windows
When you’re interested in finding ways to save on cooling costs, you might look to insulation and sealing, especially around the doors and windows. But while most homes do lose some energy through the windows and doors, a much bigger source of heat transfer is actually in the walls, pipes, and electrical outlets. If you’re concerned about getting the most out of your air conditioner, you should have a professional visit your house to take a look at where there might be heat transfer from the outside into your home.
The House Won’t Cool Down Faster by Lowering the Thermostat Temperature
On hot summer days, it’s tempting to think that you can make your house cool down more quickly by lowering the temperature on the thermostat. Lowering your thermostat won’t work, though. The air conditioner cools at the same rate regardless of how hot the house was when you turned it on or how quickly you would like for it to cool down. The temperature that you set your thermostat to will be the temperature that your air conditioner shuts off at.
A Bigger Air Conditioner Isn’t Better
Logically, a larger air conditioner should help your house cool down more quickly. In fact, it does. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy with the overall quality of the air if you get an air conditioner that’s too big for your house. Air conditioners do a few basic jobs. They filter the air so that you can enjoy air that has significantly fewer irritants in it. They also cool the air and remove humidity. When you have a larger air conditioner for your house than what you need, it can cause problems because it cools the air more quickly than it can remove particles of allergens and moisture from the air. It takes several cycles for an air conditioner to remove humidity and allergens, so if the air conditioner is able to remove the heat from your home faster, it means that it’s not able to filter out the moisture and allergens. That’s why it’s best to go with an air conditioner that’s the right size for your house.
Appliances Produce Enough Heat to Make a Difference
You might not realize this, but all of your appliances combined can affect how hot your home gets. Appliances like television sets and computers will produce a certain amount of heat, but your oven, dishwasher, and clothes dryer will put out even more heat. While you might not want to turn your television or computer off during the middle of the day just because it’s putting out some heat, you could turn off some appliances that you don’t use very much, such as a second and third television in other rooms. You can also put your dishwasher or clothes dryer on if you know that you’re going to be out of the house for several hours or in the early morning hours when it’s more likely to be cool.
If you have to make a meal, it’s best to make it on the grill outside if it’s a particularly hot day so that you can keep your house cooler. Another strategy is to make meals that don’t need to be cooked. For instance, you might choose to make a salad with sandwiches.
Energy Efficient Air Conditioners Are Only Efficient If They’re Maintained and Installed Properly
When you’re looking for an air conditioner, you should look for one that’s energy efficient, but you also need to have it installed properly, and you should have it maintained. Even energy-efficient air conditioners will work less effectively if they’re dirty or need repairs. Additionally, an air conditioner that isn’t installed correctly could lose energy because something is connected loosely.
Don’t Completely Turn Your Air Conditioner Off for the Day
If you get tired of coming home from work to a sweltering house, you’re going to love learning about how it’s not even the most energy-efficient option to turn your air conditioner completely off during the day. A better option is to turn the temperature up to a temperature that’s a few degrees higher than what would actually be comfortable. This way, the house will cool down fairly quickly and easily when you come home, and it won’t have to use the energy to keep it as cool as you normally would. There are a couple of reasons why this is a good strategy to save energy. One of the major problems with completely turning your air off is that it takes a lot of energy to get your house back down to an acceptable temperature. Another problem with waiting until you’re home to turn on your air conditioner is that peak usage time for electricity companies is about when most people with nine-to-five jobs get off of work. When you’re using electricity affects the price that you pay, so it’s better to have the house slightly cooled when you get home so that you don’t have to expend as much energy during peak hours.