With the full heat of summer upon us, many Idahoans are turning to their air conditioners for some relief. However, there are several myths that persist to waste energy and money.
Myth: Leaving a ceiling fan on will cool a room even if no one is in it.
Fans cool your skin, not the air; they do not lower room temperature. A fan works by circulating the air in a space; when the air moves across the skin, we feel cooler even though the air temperature in the room remains the same. If a fan runs in a room when no one is there, no one is feeling its benefits. So it’s just wasting electricity.
Myth: Closing vents in unused rooms will get other rooms cooler.
Instead of moving the cool air to a room where it can be used, the air is simply bounced back and not distributed elsewhere in your home. You’re basically paying to keep the inside of your ductwork cold! By closing off the vents, you are also forcing the compressor to work harder resulting in your air conditioner wearing out quicker.
Myth: Turning off your A/C while you’re at work saves money and energy.
This myth is actually half true, because turning off the air conditioner while you’re at work does save energy. It also forces your air conditioner to work much harder when it’s finally turned back on. The benefits of turning off the A/C every morning are negated by turning the air back on every evening. Adjusting your thermostat a few degrees allows your air conditioner to work less during the day, while making it easier for the A/C to cool off your house at night. Programmable thermostats are a great way to save on electric bills.
Myth: It’s more efficient to let your A/C run all day while you’re away.
Even when you’re not around, your air conditioning unit is working to keep your home cool. Adjusting your thermostat a few degrees while you are away from home can dramatically cut down on your energy bill. Programmable thermostats are a great way to save on electric bills.
Myth: Setting the thermostat lower cools down the house faster.
Although some air conditioners do feature variable speed fans, most only have two settings: on and off. Setting your thermostat lower doesn’t make the air conditioning unit work any faster. In fact, it may increase your energy bill if you set it too low. The best setting is at the target temperature you want your room or home to cool and give it time.
Myth: Air conditioner filters should be replaced once per year.
It’s recommended that you change your air filters monthly, or at minimum, every 3 months. Dirty air filters can inhibit air flow and force your A/C to work harder. This wastes energy and may cause the premature death of your air conditioner.