In an effort to lower cooling costs in the summer, many homeowners follow misguided advice that actually ends up using more energy. Here are some of the most common energy-saving myths and what you should do instead to save money this season.
- Turning down the thermostat real low will cool the home faster. While at first thought this might seem to make sense, the reality is that the large majority of air conditioners (A/Cs) have a fixed airflow. This means that it will produce the same amount of cold air when turned on regardless of how low the thermostat is. As a result of setting it too low, you will likely overshoot your target temperature and waste energy. Set your thermostat to your desired temperature and leave it.
- Turn the A/C on or off when you’re gone. Cooling down an extremely hot home is difficult, but it’s wasteful to leave the A/C on when you don’t need it. The solution is a programmable thermostat that will maintain the temperature a bit above where you normally set it.
- Fans can keep empty rooms cold. Ceiling fans keep people cool with the wind-chill effect, but don’t actually cool air. Only run fans when you are nearby or else you are wasting electricity.
- Close your vents to improve A/C efficiency. Unless you have a zoning system in place, you are best off leaving all your vents open. When you close a vent in a rarely-used room, the increased pressure inside your ductwork increases leakage. Secondly, studies have shown that closing vents can actually increase the energy used.
- A/C is necessary to stay cool. While A/C might be the most convenient cooling option, it’s not always the best or cheapest. Spending time in your cool basement is often an option as well as rubbing ice cubes on your wrists and neck periodically.
Keeping your cooling costs down is a good goal, just don’t fall for these energy-saving myths. For professional help making your Southwest Illinois home more efficient, contact Ernst Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, Bethalto, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Maryville, Staunton and Troy, Illinois about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy savings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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