There are a lot of myths when it comes to air conditioning methods. In order to cool your home properly, using the most cost effective methods, you need to know the myths from the facts. This is especially true in a city like St. George, when average highs are 102 degrees during the month of July. Some of these a/c myths are so incorrect that believing in them is actually costing you money. So, let’s debunk two of them, and learn a few a/c tips and tricks in the process.
1) IT’S CHEAPER TO LEAVE THE A/C ALL DAY
Myth: It costs less to let you’re a/c run throughout the day than to leave it off while you’re gone, and restart it when you return home.
Idea Behind the Myth: It’s a general belief that it costs more to get you’re a/c system started again than it would be to just let it keep blasting all day long. This is in the spirit of a car’s engine, which is said to use more gas each time it starts up.
Facts: Generally, for most central a/c units, when they’re on, they’re on. They don’t put in extra work trying to lower in increase temperatures. Here’s how it works:
Let’s say it’s the middle of August, and your St. George home has reached 99 degrees. Yet, your comfortable temperature is 74. So, you set the thermostat at 74.
The central a/c unit will come on, and continue to run until the thermostat reaches 74. Your unit will then shut itself off.
When your home’s temperature reaches 75, the unit will cut back on again, until the temperature is back down to 74.
This cycle continues over and over again, maybe a hundred times while you’re away from home.
Tip: A programmable thermostat allow you to program the unit to remain off until about 30 minutes before you walk in the door.
Trick: The trick is to find the temperature most comfortable for you. Then, you need to determine how long it generally takes your unit to get your home to that temperature. Now, adjust the programmable thermostat accordingly.
2) CLOSED A/C VENTS HELP SAVE ENERGY
Myth: Closing off various vents helps your unit use less energy.
Idea Behind the Myth: The idea is that you’re not using a particular room. So, close it off and the air will circulate better throughout all the other rooms.
Facts: Any energy used by your air conditioner is consumed at the unit itself. Closing off vents in various rooms just causes the air to have to find other places to “vent” or release itself. Sometimes, this could be through duct system leaks. And, if there aren’t any, the air pressure could actually create some. This could cause faster wear-and-tear than usual.
Tip: A zoning system allows you to place certain areas in particular zones. For example, you may want your home office cool during the day, but not be too concerned with the rest of the house until nighttime. Zoning allows you to cool just the office area, saving you money.
Trick: You’ll have to figure out how you want you zones to work. You may have one zone for upstairs, another zone for general-use areas downstairs, and a third zone specifically for the rooms you use during the day, like the home office and kitchen. Or, let’s say like most St. George families, yours spends a lot of weekend time in the den, while the kids are always in the playroom. Put these two rooms in a zone of their own to ensure that they remain cool on the weekends, without having to cool off the rest of the house.