When you are looking for ways to reduce energy costs during the summer, there are literally thousands of resources online, and friends and neighbors are always ready to share their insights. Unfortunately, even someone with the best intentions may not be giving you sound advice. At Peterman Brothers, we help Indianapolis homeowners find ways to boost the efficiency of the air conditioning system by providing expert advice, affordable recommendations, professional services, and top-notch heating and cooling products. Sometimes this means helping homeowners recognize common myths about HVAC systems. Here are the top 9 myths about using your AC in the summer.
1. You Save Money by Closing Vents
Closing the vents in your home is considered a way to prevent cooled air from going into rooms that are not used, as well as to fix cold areas. Closing vents actually costs you money now and in the future. Your HVAC system is designed to operate efficiently with a specific distribution of air in the home. Closing vents causes a backup of airflow, and your AC works harder. This increases your energy costs and may damage the components of the system. You may need costly repairs, or you may shorten the lifetime of the HVAC equipment. If you want to control airflow, a better option is to install a zone system. Give us a call to learn more about how a zone system works.
2. Windows and Doors Are Where You Lose the Most Energy
Older Indianapolis homes may need some general maintenance to seal the doors and windows, but these are not the areas that pose the greatest loss of energy. You lose energy in less visible areas of your home, such as chimneys, attics, pipes, and ductwork. If you really want to see a good reduction in your energy costs, seal around pipes, chimneys, and ductwork. If you have energy loss in your attic, it may be time to have the insulation replaced or updated.
3. Turning Down the Thermostat Cools Your Home Faster
The only time that turning the thermostat way down works is in homes with variable speed AC units. These are not as common as single-speed units. The thermostat is not what determines how quickly your AC cools your home. It is actually the fan speed. Turning down your thermostat only means that the fan runs longer, and this requires additional energy. You have two options to prevent your home from getting too warm during the summer. First, you can reduce the thermostat setting to a slightly lower temperature. Second, install a programmable thermostat that operates according to a schedule, and you don’t have to be home to make the adjustments. Some models even allow you to adjust the thermostat on your mobile device.
4. Turn Off Your AC When You Are Away
Many homeowners in the Indianapolis area turn off their AC systems when they aren’t home as a way to save money. The problem with this practice is that, when they arrive home, it is much warmer inside. The AC unit runs longer to cool the space down and reach the desired temperature. A better practice is to leave your AC on during the day so the AC does not have to overcome such a significant temperature difference. This is another situation in which a programmable thermostat is a better solution.
5. Turning Off Electronics and Appliances Doesn’t Help Much
Modern homes have an abundance of appliances and electronics, and each produces a good amount of heat. They also use electricity. Both of these factors increase your utility costs. Two practices to adopt during the summer are to turn off your electronics when you aren’t using them, and only use your appliances in the morning and evening when it isn’t as hot outside.
6. Always Buy the Biggest AC System You Can Afford
Bigger is not always better when it comes to air conditioning systems. In fact, buying a unit that is too large for your current HVAC configuration can cost you money later. The best approach is to meet with an expert from Peterman Brothers to have your current HVAC system evaluated. The new unit needs to fit with your existing ductwork. If you buy a unit that is too large, it may damage the ducts and other components. Buy a system that is too small, and you may not be able to efficiently cool your home.
7. Use Ceiling Fans to Keep Your Home Cool
Ceiling fans can help with air flow and circulation, but do they really help to cool your home? Unfortunately, no. Ceiling fans help you feel cooler because the breeze from the fan helps evaporate moisture on your skin, and you feel cooler. Walk into a room without a ceiling fan, though, and you will notice that you feel slightly warmer. If you are looking for ways to reduce energy costs each summer, you are better served by using the money that you want to invest in a ceiling fan and the additional cost of operation to update your HVAC system. Peterman Brothers can help you by recommending a new AC unit, zone systems, programmable thermostats, and more.
8. Buying an Energy-Efficient AC System Automatically Saves Energy
The truth behind this myth is one of the most surprising to Indianapolis homeowners that we speak with about how to save money during the summer months. Simply installing a high-efficiency air conditioner will not automatically save you money every year. Modern units are more efficient because they have more complex designs compared to older, less efficient units. As such, your new high-efficiency AC equipment needs more maintenance and upkeep. Specifically, the filters need to be changed regularly to ensure proper air flow. Peterman Brothers recommends that you schedule routine maintenance twice per year. The best times are in the spring and autumn.
9. It Doesn’t Matter When You Run Your AC and Appliances
Believe it or not, the cost of electricity in Indianapolis and surrounding communities fluctuates during the day. What you pay for a kilowatt hour in the morning may be significantly lower than the cost of a kilowatt-hour in the afternoon. The way it works is that the electric company actually purchases the electricity that it passes on to you, and the pricing structure is flexible. The economics behind electricity purchasing is a bit complex, so the best practice is to run your AC, appliances, and electronics in the earlier and later part of the day. This alone can result in a visible reduction in your energy bill.
Learn More About Using Your AC in the Summer
Since 1986, Peterman Brothers has provided exceptional HVAC, plumbing, and electrical services to homeowners in and around Indianapolis. Whether you are looking to save money on utilities, update your AC system, or need repairs done quickly and professionally, we can help. Call us today to speak with one of our experts and schedule an appointment in your home with one of our technicians.