Break Out of Your Old Routines & Save Money
When it comes to keeping our homes cool each summer, we all have our routines. Some of us have a specific temperature we like the thermostat kept at, while others turn on our ACs remotely on the way home from work so that the house is nice and cool when we get there. These habits are comfortable, and most of us never consider changing them. But what if we told you that some of your common AC habits cost you money?
Below we review four common cooling habits, how they cost you money, and what you can do instead.
Habit #1: Cranking Up the AC When You First Get Home
If you've been outside in the heat and humidity, you cannot wait to get inside your cool, air-conditioned home. However, you might want to pause if the first thing you do when you walk in the door is crank up the AC or dial down the thermostat. Often we think that turning the AC to a lower temperature will make the house (and ourselves) cool down faster. However, this isn't the case. Instead, what you're doing is causing your AC to work harder and run longer. This ends up costing us money on our electrical bills and can lead to your system wearing out before its time.
Instead, keep your AC at a stable temperature (we recommend 74°), and give yourself 20 -30 minutes after coming inside to adjust it. Often when we are hot ourselves, we feel like we can't get cool fast enough, but often, after a few minutes inside, we realize that the house is cool enough as it is.
Habit #2: Turning the AC Off When You Go to Work or Leave the House
Do you turn your AC off when you leave the house? Many people do this, believing that it costs them an excessive amount of money to keep the system on while they are at work. Yet, by turning your system off all day, you may actually end up spending even more on cooling costs. When you turn your system off for any length of time, the temperature in your home creeps up, especially in the summer. Then, when you get home and turn your system back on, it takes a lot longer for the system to bring it down to the temperature you prefer.
Instead, we recommend keeping your system at a stable temperature throughout the day. By doing so, when your system has to kick on, it will only have to run long enough to bring the temperature down a degree or two. On very hot days, you can set your thermostat a little higher (such as at 78° instead of your usual 74°). This will keep the system from turning on quite so often but won't let your home heat up so much that your system has to work overtime when you get home and turn it on.
Habit #3: Keeping Your Home Closed Up At Night
Were you ever told as a kid to keep the windows closed to avoid "air conditioning the outside"? Many of us were told this, and it is true. If your AC is running, leaving windows open just causes all the conditioned air to pump outside while the hot air is dragged in, defeating the purpose of running the AC and costing you money. Consequently, many people leave their homes pretty shut up in the summer to avoid cooling loss. But, if you aren't opening your windows at night, you're missing out on all that free cool air!
There are certain times of the year when the temperature outside never drops lower than your temperature inside, such as during the height of summer. However, most of the year, when night falls, the outside temperature drops fairly dramatically. This is especially true here, in the Pacific Northwest, where we enjoy fairly temperate weather. By keeping track of the temperature inside and outside your home, you can take advantage of the many cool nights we have, which provide great opportunities to turn off your AC and cool your house down naturally.
Habit #4: Failing To Have Your AC Inspected Annually
While the adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," is true of many things, when it comes to cooling systems, this can be bad advice. Ideally, you should have your air conditioner serviced every year. Many people think that because their AC is working well enough, they can just skip maintenance. However, failing to perform routine service or get inspections with a professional AC maintenance team, like ours at A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical, can leave your system vulnerable to breakdowns.
The perfect time for AC maintenance is springtime, before the first heatwave hits. During your maintenance visit, our technician will go over your entire system, identifying any repair issues or parts that are showing signs of excessive wear. They will also clean the unit, change your air filters, check coolant levels, and more. This service prepares your system for the coming summer heat and helps extend your system's life, meaning you don't have to pay for a replacement until you need it.
Want more help keeping your cooling bills down? We are always here to help! Reach out to the AC team at A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical.