There is so much misinformation that circulates around cooling your home it’s no wonder mismanagement of your air conditioner’s energy consumption is almost guaranteed. With Texans expected to face scorching temperatures and surging prices this summer, there has never been a better time to learn about these common myths to help lower your electricity bill. Here’s how to avoid common myths, use your air conditioner more effectively and earn summer energy savings.
Myth: Your home will cool faster if you crank the thermostat way down
Your air conditioner works at a constant rate, regardless of whether you are trying to cool the home by 2 degrees or 15 degrees. Think about this – you wouldn’t hit the Floor 7 button in an elevator because you want to get to the third floor faster. If you set your thermostat to be too cool, your air conditioner will just work harder to get the home colder than you actually need it, and you will end up paying more than you need.
Myth: Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature when you’re gone
Unless you have pets, it’s ok if your air conditioner temperature is at an uncomfortably hot setting when no one is home. You will save more money by keeping your your home warm while you’re gone and cooling it down when you return than if you left your home at your preferred temperature all day. In fact, it’s actually better for your air conditioning system if you let it run at full speed for longer amounts of time than if it starts and stops in short bursts in attempt to maintain a constant temperature all day long. Along with providing cooler air, your air conditioner will also dehumidify the air and it can do this more efficiently when it is running for longer periods of time. So if no one is home, set your thermostat about 7 to 10 degrees warmer than you actually prefer. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to start cooling your home about 20 minutes before you get home so that it is comfortable when you arrive.
Myth: Close the doors and vents in unoccupied rooms to save energy
This is a very bad idea. First, air conditioner units are installed to fit the size of your home. If your home is 2,000 square feet and you close off vents and doors to half of your home, then your air conditioner will still try to cool all 2,000 square feet and create a sizeable waste. By closing your vents, you also increase the air pressure inside the ducts causing more air to leak out and waste even more energy. And when you close your vents, you don’t allow air to circulate through the closed off rooms. That could allow mold growth to occur in these spaces.
Myth: Run fans in unused rooms to keep rooms cool
People are cooled by fans when air blows across their skin and evaporates the sweat on their body. If a person isn’t under a fan, they aren’t going to be cooled by it. Therefore, running fans in an unoccupied room is useless. In fact, it actually wastes energy and may raise the temperature of the room! Whenever you leave a room empty, be sure to turn off any fans.