As a homeowner, you’re continually on the lookout for tips to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer. Unfortunately, misinformation and incorrect assumptions lead to energy waste and high cooling costs. Learn the truth about these common AC myths so you can run your air conditioner as efficiently as possible.
Myth: Cranking the temperature way down cools your home faster.
Fact: Unless you have a variable-speed air handler, adjusting the thermostat is like flipping a light switch, not pressing on a gas pedal. Setting the temperature to 60 degrees won’t cool your house any faster – all it does is overshoot your comfort zone and waste energy in the process. Adjust the thermostat a little at a time. You’ll be amazed at the difference a degree or two makes.
Myth: If you have central air conditioning, you never need to run the ceiling fan.
Fact: Sure, you have the power to stay comfortable without ever running a fan, but you’ll pay more for it. With a fan blowing on your skin, the room feels up to 4 degrees cooler, allowing you to set the thermostat to 78 degrees while making it feel as though it’s 74 degrees. Just remember to turn off the fan when no one’s in the room since the “wind chill effect” cools people without actually lowering the temperature.
Myth: It’s cheaper to leave the thermostat at the same setting all the time, even when you’re away.
Fact: The thinking here is that turning up the thermostat to 82 degrees while you’re gone only forces the air conditioner to work harder to restore a comfortable temperature when you get home. While this is true to a point, a programmable thermostat can save you 5 to 10 percent on your cooling bills if you set the temperature back for eight hours or more at a time every day.
Myth: Bigger AC units are always better.
Fact: When the time comes to replace your air conditioner, remember – size matters! An oversized unit isn’t better because it operates with shorter cycles, impairing its ability to dehumidify your home. This leaves you feeling cool but clammy. Air conditioners work better when they run a bit longer, so make sure the unit you install is sized correctly for your home.
Myth: Air conditioner maintenance is a waste of money.
Fact: Some homeowners think tune-ups are a ploy AC contractors use to make more money. However, preventative AC maintenance ensures safe, efficient, reliable operation all summer long. It lowers your cooling bills, prevents breakdowns and helps your equipment last years longer.
The biggest truth is that energy savings come from running your air conditioner sensibly. Close the windows while the AC is running. If you get overheated, turn on the fan before you adjust the thermostat. There are plenty of ways to keep your summer energy bills in check without being uncomfortable.