These days it seems everyone is trying to save money by improving the energy efficiency of their home. Oftentimes, efforts are focused on the HVAC system. While homeowners may know many of the intricacies and quirks of their system, cooling season brings a whole new range of ideas for how the system should work, how it should sound and most of all what best practices result in lower energy bills. There are more myths and tall tales regarding HVAC and cooling than you could imagine. In fact, some of the things you may think are saving energy and money are actually costing you.
Here are the top 5 myths about air conditioning and cooling season…
MYTH #1—Closing off vents and registers will reduce your energy bill.
If you have a forced air system, the pressure load is balanced throughout the house. When vents are blocked, your A/C will still pump out the same amount of air; closing off those vents only throws off the balance of the system because you’re restricting “release areas”. The more vents you close, the higher the pressure in the ductwork. This makes your system work harder, and costs you more money. The best energy efficient practice you can put in place is allowing air to evenly flow throughout the house.
MYTH #2—Ceiling fans are like a second air conditioner.
It’s a common misconception that you can use a ceiling fan to cool a room just like an air conditioner. Yes, a fan works by circulating air throughout a room, and as that air hits us we feel cooler. However, room temperature stays the same. It’s just like how you’d feel outside on a still day versus a breezy one. Moving air makes you feel cooler, but it doesn’t lower your temperature. The truth is that fans circulate air to cool you off, but they don’t actually cool down your home.
MYTH #3—Upgrading equipment automatically translates to energy savings.
High efficiency equipment upgrades can aide in reducing energy bills, but there are several factors that must be in place for this to work in your favor. Even the most energy efficient equipment can cost you more to operate if it’s not sized properly or installed correctly. Having a system too small or large for your home can backfire in the form of increased energy costs. According to the DOE, poor installation and incorrectly sized equipment can waste as much as one-third of your energy consumption.
MYTH #4—The lower the thermostat, the faster your house will cool.
We all get switch-happy when temperatures are scorching. It’s natural to think as the indoor (and outdoor for that matter) temperature gets higher, the lower you should adjust the thermostat. However, setting your A/C at full-blast will not reach a comfortable temperature any faster. Here’s an example—when it’s 100° outside, no matter what temperature you set the thermostat, your house is not going to get much cooler than 80°. Your system may not be able to get past a 20° indoor/outdoor difference. This brings us to our last cooling myth…
MYTH #5—If the A/C isn’t running you don’t need to worry about thermostat temperature.
DOE thermostat data indicates the longer your house stays at an increased temperature when cooling, the more energy and money you will save. This is because cooling costs depend mostly on the difference between indoor and outdoor temperature. When you bump up the temperature in the summer, you simply reduce the temperature difference which in turn reduces your bill. This is why a programmable thermostat should be your best ally during cooling season.
Call on the comfort and cooling experts
Hopefully this blog post debunked some of the most common air conditioning myths that you thought might decrease your energy bills. Awareness of your system and an understanding of how your HVAC works is critical to knowing what can work in your favor. One of the best ways to ensure your system is equipped to perform efficiently and dependably all cooling season is to have a system tune-up performed. Weather is still cool, but it won’t be for long. Now marks the best time to have your system inspected before the air conditioning becomes a staple in your home.
Want more tips on how to efficiently use your A/C this season? Interested in learning how preventative maintenance and seasonal system tune-ups can improve efficiency and decrease energy costs? Contact Dominion Service Company today at 800-832-0758 for information.