Air conditioners are a part of our everyday lives in Texas, especially come summertime. Once the summer starts heating up, you may be tempted to crank the thermostat as low as it goes to cool down quick. Or, if you’re in the market to get a new AC unit installed, perhaps you want the industrial sized unit so your house can be a walk-in fridge. If these are your plans for this summer, you may want to reconsider your options.
For starters, bigger is not always better. Oversized air conditioning systems are incredibly inefficient, and they may not make your home as comfortable as it could potentially be. An oversized unit will cool your home just as fast as a smaller, appropriately sized unit, but the oversized unit will accomplish this before proper dehumidification happens. This will make your home feel “clammy.” In addition, the oversized unit will draw a lot more electricity than is needed. When selecting a new air conditioning system, have professionals measure the size of your home and individual rooms so they can recommend a model that is well suited for the job.
Don’t use the circulation fans of your air conditioner to circulate air without running the compressor as well. Keeping your AC on auto mode will shut off fans at the same time as the compressor. Use ceiling and standalone fans in individual rooms to increase circulation. If you would prefer to use fans over an air conditioning system, consider installing a whole-house fan. These fans work by drawing in cool air during the night and circulating it throughout the house during the day. During the day, the house remains sealed to circulate the cooled air while the warm air is exhausted through the attic.
Setting your thermostat as low as it can go will not cool your house any faster than setting it to your preferred temperature. If left unattended, the lower temperature setting will result in over-cooling, which can lead to increased energy use, more frequent maintenance of your AC, and even freezing of your air conditioner’s condenser unit. Instead, set your thermostat as high as you are comfortable with. Every degree above your normal set temp results in 1-3% of energy savings. Remember, the closer your inside temperature is to the outside temperature, the less your AC needs to work to keep you comfortable. If you are using a window AC unit, use standalone fans to help circulate the cold air around your home. Close the doors to any rooms you do not need cooled. Finally, avoid placing appliances and electronics near thermostats, as the heat they give off can fool the thermostat into thinking the house is not cool, and will continue to run the air conditioner.