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Everyone has their own ideas on how they can keep their home comfortable in the upcoming heat and humidity of a St. Louis summer. But how can you know which air conditioning habits will actually keep your home cool, without wasting extra money on your cooling bills each month?
SmartHouse has been helping homeowners increase the efficiency of their air conditioners through maintenance, repair, and even AC replacement since 1947. We have seen air conditioning myths come and go—here is what you need to know about the top five AC myths, and how you can better keep your home cool as we all spend more time indoors this summer.
Many homeowners assume that leaving the fans on throughout your home, 24 hours a day, will keep your home cool. While it is true that a ceiling fan, desk fan, or oscillating fan can help you to feel cooler in your home, it will not drop the actual temperature inside your living space. By moving the air in a room, a fan cools any moisture on your skin, but it will only feel cool to anyone in that specific room. One way to save energy is to turn off any fans in rooms that you are not using.
If you have been feeling like your air conditioner just can’t keep up, you may be tempted to go out and buy the biggest air conditioner you can find. While an air conditioner that is too small for the square footage of a home can be inefficient and often breakdown from wear and tear, an air conditioner that is too large can also be equally as inefficient. This happens through “short cycling”, where your AC unit reaches the desired temperature too quickly, and turns off and on, again and again, wasting energy.
If you feel your air conditioner is not keeping up with your cooling needs, it may be a problem with your home’s performance. Upgrading your insulation, air sealing your home, and inspecting your ductwork can help reduce your energy loss.
If you happened to be in a car race, you might think to slam your foot down on the gas pedal as soon as the light turned green, to get to the desired speed as fast as possible. However, the temperature on your thermostat is not like a “gas pedal”. Air conditioners are designed to work at a constant pace, so lowering the thermostat from 75º to 71º will cool your home at the same rate as lowering your thermostat from 75º to 65º (the latter will just take longer). Set your thermostat based on your actual desired temperature for maximum efficiency.
Contrary to the advice in Myth #1, leaving the vents open in all rooms is actually recommended for AC efficiency. Closing central AC vents in unused rooms can cause airflow issues in your ductwork, and the air of the vents left open will eventually try and find its way into these unconditioned rooms, through gaps in any doors or windows.
Since we are talking about air conditioners working at a constant pace, this fact often has homeowners assuming that they should leave their AC unit on, all the time. While yes, air conditioners operate more efficiently when they are not short cycling, there are times during the day when the outside temperature is not as hot, or there is no one at home to enjoy all of the cool air. Using programmable thermostats or smart thermostats can help further maximize the efficiency and life span of your air conditioner, by making sure it never works harder than it has to.
If you are struggling to keep your home cool, or are frustrated with your unexpectedly high air conditioning bills each summer in your Creve Coeur, Brentwood, Kirkwood, University City, Richmond Heights, Ladue, Clayton, or Brentwood home, make the smart call to the heating and cooling experts that St. Louis trusts, at SmartHouse.