Summer continues in Austin. Air conditioning is an essential part of our lives, even more so than usual during the hot months of June, July, and August. But how much does the average person really know about the technology that cools their home? It’s not a subject that most people spend time thinking about, nor is it a realm of information taught in school. And sure, it’s possible that you could go most of your life without knowing anything about air conditioning besides how to work the thermostat, but what happens when something goes wrong?
Say one day your air conditioner stops blowing cool air. Or say one day you notice your electricity bill is twice as high as usual. Knowing what to do in such situations, and more importantly, how to avoid them in the first place, is about having some knowledge about the ins and outs of air conditioning. That’s why in this tip I’ll go over some of the most common misconceptions and myths surrounding air conditioning and air conditioning repair. Austin residents, stay cool, and stay informed.
Myth # 1 Bigger AC Means Better Air
When people shop for a new air conditioner, they often operate under the false assumption that a bigger air conditioner will give them better results. It’s not hard to understand why people might think this. For a lot of things in life, bigger devices and appliances provide more of what they do. A bigger television is better than a smaller one. A bigger truck can carry more. A bigger computer will likely be more powerful.
But this logic doesn’t follow with air conditioners. When you’re shopping for a new one it’s important you get an air conditioner that is sized appropriately for your house. What will happen if you get an air conditioner that is to big is this: the AC will turn on and very quickly cool the house down. Sound great right? Well, the problem is then the air conditioner will switch off not long after switching on. Then the house will heat up again, and the air conditioner will switch back on. This fast switching between off and on, the result of having an air conditioner that’s too big for your house, causes the air conditioner to draw more energy than it needs to.
This happens because an air conditioner uses the most energy during the first three to five minutes after switching on then during the next twenty five minutes of run time. So when your air conditioner is too big it may be cooling the house down quickly, but it’s doing so at the cost of needless energy use.
Myth # 2 Lower Thermostat Setting Means Faster Cooling
We’ve all been there. It’s 95 degrees outside. You just got home from a long trip running errands or running a three-mile jog, or running the kids to school. The heat feels almost unbearable at this point and you want nothing more than to plop yourself down in your cool living room. But you enter the house to find the air conditioner on a high-temperature setting. Great, you’re saving energy costs by leaving the AC higher while you’re out of the house, but now you’re in the house and you want to be cool. So, you rush over to the thermostat and you crank it way down, hoping to get that cool air as fast as possible.
What’s wrong with this decision? Well, the way air conditioning works, it doesn’t matter if you set your thermostat at 75 or 65; it won’t cool your house down faster. Most air conditioners only have two speeds, on and off. Even air conditioners that have variable speed fans all have just one max speed they use to reach the set temperature when first switched on. So, by setting the air conditioner lower in attempt to cool your house down faster, all you’re actually doing is wasting energy by causing your air conditioner to run longer than necessary to maintain a temperature lower than necessary.
So, if you crank your AC down in an attempt to get that relief quicker, all you’re doing is wasting energy and money. Set your thermostat at the highest temperature that you feel comfortable, and leave it there while you’re home to enjoy it. That’s how you save the most money.
Myth # 3 Fans Can Cool Your House
This may come as a surprise but fans don’t do anything to help cool down the air in your house. Now, let me clarify, fans can help you feel cooler. But any fan, whether it is a standing fan, a box fan, or a ceiling fan, will not do anything to actually lower the temperature. That’s because fans don’t produce any cool air, the only move the existing air around. So, when you have a fan on facing you, it makes you feel cooler because it moves the air over your skin. But, unless the fan is facing you and you’re in its direct area of air circulation, it’s doing nothing except wasting electricity.
So, what does this have to do with air conditioning? It means that you shouldn’t leave fans on in rooms you’re not in with the idea that it will take some of the house cooling work off your hard working air conditioner. If you’re not feeling the air blown by a fan, turn it off. Fans are not an effective method of saving money on your electricity bill. They can help circulate and distribute the cool air produced by the air conditioner, but they don’t create any cool air themselves.
The only exception to this is in the particular case where the temperature outside is cooler than inside. If you place a fan in front of an open window in such a situation so that the fan draws air from outside and blows it in, this will cool down the room that it’s in. But that’s not so much a concern in these hot summer months.
Myth # 4 Turning the AC Off Will Save Money
This one seems like it should be true based on everything we know about how to conserve energy. When you’re not using your computer you turn it off. You don’t leave your television on when you’re not using it. And obviously your car only needs to be running when you’re driving it around. Yet, when it comes to air conditioning, this common sense logic doesn’t apply. When you leave the house, you shouldn’t switch your air conditioner off completely.
Why is this, you might ask? Well, it’s all about how the air conditioner uses energy. It takes much more energy for the air conditioner to cool a house down from hot to comfortable than it does for an air conditioner to maintain a steady, cool temperature. Maintaining is easy; it’s getting to that maintainable temperature in the first place that’s hard on your air conditioner.
That isn’t to say you should leave your air conditioner at the same setting all day long even while you’re at work. You should absolutely raise the temperature the thermostat is set at during the times of the day that you’re not in the house. But just raise the setting by 4 to 7 degrees, maybe 10 at the most, if the difference between you’re comfort level temperature and the outside temperature is very great. The best way to do this is to invest in a programmable thermostat. With a programmable thermostat, you can have your AC working as efficiently as possible, running less when you’re away and more when you’re home, without having to remember to manually change the settings at all.
AC Myths and AC Repair in Austin
There you have it, four extremely common myths and misconceptions about your air conditioning in Austin, Texas. Perhaps you knew all about the myths in this tip already. Or perhaps you learned four new things today. Either way, now you should be a little more capable of saving money and energy when it comes to using your air conditioner in this hot summer weather.
Air conditioning repair in Austin is what we do at AC Express. We bring you high-quality services at low prices because that’s what we stand for. Regardless of how much you know about air conditioning, and how to save money on your energy bill this summer, there’s no way to avoid unforeseen air conditioner problems. When something goes wrong, contact AC Express, and we’ll take care of you. For excellent Austin AC repair, maintenance, or replacement, call today!