If you live in the Maryland/Virginia region, you’re no stranger to intense and/or fluctuating summer temperatures. As temperatures begin to rise and you prepare to power up the air conditioner, bear in mind that central air units are one of the biggest sources of energy use in the home.
That said, before switching on your cooling system, ensure that you’re aware of the common air conditioning misconceptions and what steps you should be taking this summer season.
1. Adjusting your A/C settings while away
While air conditioning is a luxury that most find themselves depending on during the late spring and summer months, it can be costly if not adjusted correctly. Some think that the best way to alleviate these costs is by shutting off the A/C before leaving the house. This is not true.
Yes, shutting off your air conditioning does save electricity. However, all efforts are lost due to the fact that it takes even more power to cool the entire home once you return and decide to turn the system back on. Instead, invest in a programmable thermostat that can automatically adjust the internal temperature during the day, gradually raising or lowering temperature as it becomes necessary.
2. Are ceiling fans a cheaper alternative?
A common misconception is that ceiling fans, functionally, are the same as air conditioning…only cheaper. This is untrue. Ceiling fans do save a greater amount of money overall because they pull far less power than an air conditioner. However, they do not actually “cool” the house down. Fans simply move the existing air around, giving you the sensation that the atmosphere is cooling when, in fact, it’s merely moving across your skin rapidly.
While air conditioning and ceiling fans both serve a significant purpose, be mindful of the collective amount of power being used in your home and the desired end result. In the case of cooling the air in your home, the power being expended by the fan can sometimes wind up costing you more than it’s cooling you; especially if the home is vacant while the fans are running.
3. Reducing temperature
Many try to cool their homes quickly by lowering their thermostat in large increments. However, dropping the temperature by 10 degrees does not make the house cool any faster than if you were to reduce the temperature by one degree. Regardless of what you manually program, air conditioning systems have limited settings as far as speed and circulation are concerned.
If you feel the need to cool down the house quickly, allow the air conditioner to gradually lower the temperature by powering down while also turning on a few fans to move the air around.
4. Should I close air vents in rooms that are empty?
No. This may sound counter-productive, as it is commonly believed that shutting of air conditioning to one room will reduce the unit’s entire output and, thus, save money. However, the A/C unit in your home operates within a precise balance, designed to cool each room at once. Shutting off certain air vents in different areas of the home can upset that balance and result in the unit being forced to work harder as it tries to gain access to the room(s) that’s been closed off.
5. Replacing your filters
Contrary to common belief, air conditioning filters must be changed quarterly (every three months), not once a year. Why does it matter? Overtime, dust, dirt, and debris can collect and clog your machine. Cleaning these filters frequently ensures that your home is going into each new season with a fully-functioning system.
Understanding how to operate your cooling systems appropriately will leader to a longer “life” for your air conditioning unit, better results in its functionality, and lower bills for you and your family.
Let us help you be tactical in your approach toward cooling your home. Give us a call today at (443) 459-5800!