Keeping your San Antonio home cool during the summer months can certainly drive up your overhead costs. In an act of desperation, many homeowners start using energy-saving tips and strategies that they’ve either found online or gotten from family members and friends. Sadly, much of this advice is responsible for increasing home cooling costs. In fact, certain recommendations can even cause excessive wear on air conditioning equipment and create the need for costly repairs. That’s why we want to share seven of the most common myths about summer cooling, as well as some tips for keeping your home comfortable and your utility bills at a manageable level.
1. Bigger Is Better
When it comes to most consumer products, bigger often denotes better value or higher power. This, however, isn’t an idea that plays out well when it comes to choosing and installing air conditioners. Although a massive AC unit might seem like its capable of cooling any house down, air conditioners should always be selected according to the dimensions and layout of the individual building. Improperly sized cooling equipment will drive your energy bills up. Overly large units constantly cycle themselves off and on, and air conditioners that are too small will run all of the time. Worse still, in both cases, this manner of functioning accelerates ongoing wear and dramatically reduces the overall lifespan of home cooling equipment. Rather than investing in the biggest air conditioner you can find, have a licensed HVAC professional choose one for you. HVAC technicians perform careful assessments of properties, and their measurements and features. They then apply their collected data to choose cooling equipment with the most needs-specific specifications and capabilities for the individual environment.
2.Shutting Vents and Doors in Unused Rooms Will Prevent Energy Waste
Among some of the latest innovations in home cooling technologies are ductless, multi-split air conditioners and multi-zone central air conditioning systems. With these setups, homeowners can selectively cool occupied areas of the home without having to use energy on rooms or areas that are vacant. However, absent of these technologies, there’s really no way to efficiently cool down small spaces of a house. With non-zoned central air conditioning, every room should be cooled uniformly. There should never be excessively hot or excessively cold spaces throughout the building unless the property’s ductwork isn’t routed to these areas.
One of the most common myths about summer cooling is that it’s cheaper and more efficient to close air vents in rooms that are empty. In truth, however, a standard central cooling system isn’t sophisticated enough to know that you don’t want to cool an area simply because you’ve closed a vent. As such, closing a vent doesn’t stop air distribution to the space; it merely impedes it. The same amount of energy is being used, and your energy bill will be just as high. Moreover, if you keep vents selectively opened and closed throughout the home, you’ll put undue stress on your air conditioner, accelerate normal wear, and decrease the overall lifespan of your cooling system. It’s far better to use other proven strategies for limiting energy use, such as choosing a comfortable, moderate temperature setting at the thermostat, and sticking with it.
This is also true when it comes to closing doors. Leave all doors throughout the building open as much as possible. This will allow for free airflow and good air circulation. It will prevent hot and cold spots from developing, and reduce the amount of work that the AC system has to do to create and maintain your preferred indoor temperature.
3. A Super-Low Thermostat Setting Will Cool Your Home Faster
Nearly every homeowner is guilty of cranking the thermostat down to an incredibly low temperature to get rapid relief. This, however, will never cool the home down faster unless you have a new, modern AC system that has a variable-speed air handler. Most central air conditioners have fixed-speed fans that only allow them to cool at a steady, controlled rate. As such, turning your thermostat up to a higher temperature setting like 78 degrees won’t save you money, and cranking it down to 66 degrees or lower won’t provide cooling relief any faster. Always choosing a moderate temperature setting for your home and maintain it. 72 degrees generally works best for most households. If you want to use the thermostat to reduce energy waste and limit your energy costs, have a programmable thermostat installed. With this, you can set the thermostat to a slightly higher temperature when you’re gone or while you’re sleeping, and the thermostat will automatically adjust to a slightly lower and more comfortable temperature just before you wake up or just before you get home.
4. You Should Turn Your Air Conditioner Off When You Leave
Much like cranking the thermostat way up or way down, turning your air conditioner off isn’t going to save you money or lower your carbon footprint. Instead, it will cause your home to steadily increase in temperature such that the air conditioner will have to work much harder when you return. Allowing AC systems to work at a constant, consistent rate to keep the indoor temperature at a moderate level is far more energy-efficient, and much more cost-effective. It will also keep you from having to wait in potentially sweltering and unsafe conditions as your air conditioner labors to gradually bring excessively high temperatures back down.
5. The Heat From Appliances and Electronics Doesn’t Matter
Everyone knows to limit oven and stove use on the hottest days of the year. Grilling outside or making salads and other cold foods your normal repast is a great way to conserve energy and minimize your cooling costs. However, there may be other appliances and electronics throughout your home that are constantly generating heat. If you’ve got multiple televisions or computers in the building, consider only running these early in the day or late at night. Cumulatively, household appliances and larger electronics can raise indoor temperatures by several degrees. They can also significantly increase the amount of effort that air conditioners must put forth. Unplugging appliances and electronics that you aren’t using will prevent this unintentional warming. You should also purchase a drying rack or a clothesline for the summer months. This is a great way to avoid the excess heat that your clothes dryer creates and to increase your reliance on clean, solar energy.
6. Ceiling Fans and Standing Fans Are Sufficient
If you haven’t installed a central air conditioner or a ductless multi-split air conditioner, you shouldn’t continue relying on ceiling fans or standing fans to keep you cool on their own. This is especially true now that states throughout the nation are increasingly experiencing record-breaking summertime temperatures. Fans don’t actually lower indoor temperatures. They simply move the indoor air and have a cooling impact on the skin. Moreover, unlike air conditioners, fans don’t improve indoor air quality and they don’t regulate humidity. Even if your home doesn’t have ductwork for supporting central HVAC, you can still have ductless, zoned air conditioning installed to boost your property’s value, improve its marketability, and make your living environment much safer.
7. Windows and Doors Are the Biggest Causes of Energy Loss
Sealing up cracks and gaps at doors and windows is an effective way to increase the efficiency of your entire home. However, contrary to popular belief, these spaces aren’t always the biggest sources of home energy loss. Energy loss tends to be far more common in pipes, HVAC ductwork, and chimney areas that aren’t properly sealed. When making efforts to make your home airtight, be sure to address these areas as well.
Beyer Air Conditioning & Heating offers reliable, affordable heating and cooling services for residents of San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding areas. We install, maintain, and repair all types of HVAC equipment. We also provide air duct cleaning and indoor air quality services. Get in touch with us today to learn more about keeping your home cool in the summer months or to schedule a service appointment.