How to Raise Your AC Settings and Stay CoolPublished on: August 13, 2014
Summer weather in the Southeast is hot and humid, and high temperatures force air conditioners to work longer and harder to keep the indoor environment cool and comfortable. Since cooling a home can account for up to 60 percent of summer electricity usage, homeowners
Raise the Thermostat
A simple way to lower cooling costs is to raise the thermostat setting. In fact, turning the dial up just one degree can save up to four percent in monthly air conditioner operating expenses. While the energy savings are welcome, the corresponding loss of comfort is not. Therefore, any strategy should be based on raising the thermostat while still staying cool.
Energy Savings Strategies
There are many inexpensive and simple ways to maximize air conditioning savings without becoming uncomfortable. A licensed HVAC contractor can evaluate your home and help design a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy.
- Plant Shade Trees: A well-designed landscaping plan will enhance the visual appeal of your property while reducing energy consumption. Professional landscape designers recommend planting deciduous trees to shade exterior walls with a west, east or south exposure. Shade trees are very effective at blocking the sun’s UV and radiant heat while lowering the intense thermal gain through patio doors and windows.
- Ceiling Fans: A ceiling fan uses about 60 watts of power while an air conditioner consumes 3500 watts. A ceiling fan will keep you cool by continually mixing the air to eliminate the hot air pockets that form in high thermal gain areas. Since ceiling fans aid the evaporation process, comfort levels remain unchanged even when the thermostat is raised.
- Window Treatments: Glass exposure is particularly problematic in areas with intense sun and heat. Older single pane and dual pane windows are often leaky and extremely inefficient. Solar screens can help reduce sun exposure by up to 90 percent and typically provide a payback of three years or less. Window film is less costly, but it is also less effective since it is applied directly to the inside of the window. Window film is generally not recommended for dual pane glass applications.
Energy Savings without Sacrifice
The contractors on the AC Southeast® website can conduct a free energy analysis of your home or office to help identify efficiency deficits and provide additional helpful energy saving tips.