Beating the Heat without Breaking the Bank: Summer AC Energy Saving Tips
Things are heating up, so it’s time to hunker down and get ready for another South Carolina summer. Your air conditioning works overtime to keep up with the sweltering heat. We’d all like to conserve energy and save some money, but you have to do it correctly. A lot of money saving AC myths actually cost you more in the long run.
Here’s how All American Heating & Air recommends you maximize your HVAC efficiency the right way.
Your HVAC Doesn’t Get a Summer Break
Your AC shouldn’t take a vacation while you do. The most common myth is that you can turn off your HVAC while you’re gone to save money. Air conditioning doesn’t only manage temperature, it also regulates humidity levels. Leaving your AC off for extended periods of time creates humidity related problems and causes damage to your home.
The humidity level inside your house should never be higher than 60%. Any higher and you’re at risk for mold and mildew growth in both your HVAC unit and home. When you turn your system back on when you return, you will be met with a musty odor. High humidity also warps wooden furniture and floors, peels paint and wallpaper off the walls, and creates an ideal environment for bugs.
If the humidity doesn’t get you, the high temperatures will. Most electronics are meant to be stored at room temperature and can only withstand temperatures above 90º for a limited time. It also puts a strain on your refrigerator and freezer that struggle to maintain their set temperature in a hot environment. This increases energy bills and potentially spoils your food.
Fixing these problems is more expensive than paying to keep the AC running continuously. It takes your system a lot of energy to go from off to room temperature. It’s cheaper and easier on the system to keep your unit on all the time rather than turning it on and off as you come and go.
Instead, turn your AC up 7 to 10 degrees warmer than usual, leaving it no hotter than 85º. You’ll save money and maintain a safe humidity level in your home.
Remember- Hot weather won’t take a break, so keep your AC on for goodness’ sake!
Let it Vent
Okay, so I can’t turn the unit entirely off, but can I save money by closing vents in unused rooms? Wrong!
Closing vents actually puts pressure on the system, decreasing efficiency and driving up costs. Cutting off airflow can freeze your coils and damage your compressor, preventing the unit from working properly. It can also cause cracks in your heat exchanger and leak deadly carbon monoxide into your home.
Your HVAC is appropriately sized to cool your home with all the vents opened. Closing vents won’t save money or push more air into other rooms. It causes leaks that lead to costly repairs and replacements.
Additional Ways to Save Energy
Deflect the sun:
It’s no surprise that the sun is hot. Direct sunlight in your home raises the temperature naturally and makes your system work harder. Closing curtains and using window tints helps deflect sunlight and therefore heat. Closing your blinds with the slats facing upwards diverts UV rays from entering the room.
Use that Fan:
You can keep your home a few degrees warmer when a fan makes you feel cooler. Turn your fan on counterclockwise to push air downwards and create a wind chill effect.
Make sure your home is properly insulated. People often think about windows and doors when talking about energy loss. That’s an easy fix with caulk or gap filler. In reality, most air is lost through uninsulated walls and roofs. Not as easy to fix, but insulation eventually pays for itself by decreasing energy bills.
Keeping it Cool
There are several safe strategies you can adopt to save energy and reduce your AC bill that don’t ruin your HVAC system.
If you have concerns about the efficiency of your system or its ability to cool your home, All American Heating & Air is only a call away.