With summer heat and sweltering humidity rolling in to the New Jersey area, people everywhere are rushing to fire up their air conditioners. However, with electricity prices continually rising, many people are always looking for ways to save money and keep their bills down. After all, nobody likes having to open an electric bill demanding hundreds or even thousands of dollars in service.
For many people, that means turning to old tricks that they may have learned long ago to keep their home more comfortable. However, what you may not realize is that many of these tricks that are often passed around through word of mouth or uneducated internet posts don’t actually help you. In fact, some of these tricks do quite the opposite and actually can cost you more money or cause additional wear and tear on your home. In this blog, we’ll take a look at two common AC habits that don’t actually save you any money and give you the low-down on some things that actually will help you.
Only Running the Upstairs Air Conditioner
This is a common mistake we see, often from people who have read something on the internet about how to save money on their air conditioning. The logic usually talks about how heat rises while cold air falls and thus running only your upstairs air conditioner actually cools your entire home. I’m sure we don’t have to tell you that this isn’t even close to how things work. For starters, your upstairs air conditioner is exactly that: your upstairs air conditioner. It isn’t designed to cool both the upstairs and downstairs areas—it doesn’t have the capacity to handle that, so in reality you’re just overworking it, which places a lot of additional strain and wear and tear on it. Plus it can’t keep up, so that means it will run indefinitely, and that means you’ll be uncomfortable, and you’ll spend more energy doing so.
Here’s how we recommend setting your air conditioners if you have a multi-story home: set your upstairs thermostat to the temperature you want, and then set your downstairs thermostat to two degrees warmer than that. This creates a cascading effect where the cooler air does continue to sink, and thus you can take advantage of that with how you set your downstairs thermostat. Your upstairs unit will still have to operate more, but that’s natural due to the nature of multi-story homes. In any case, this will help you save money and save wear and tear on both your upstairs and downstairs systems.
Closing Vents to Increase Airflow to Other Areas
We see this happen pretty often: a homeowner closes off the vent in a room they rarely use, such as a spare bedroom or an office that’s rarely occupied. The logic here is that by blocking off these rooms, your air conditioner will force more air to go to the other vents around your home, and thus they’ll cool off quicker. This is also not true, and in fact, could be damaging your air conditioner even further.
Here’s how: have you ever tried to breathe through a straw? If you have a straw with a wide diameter, such as big milkshake straw, then it’s fairly easy. However, if you have a small-diameter straw like a coffee stir stick, then both inhaling and exhaling are significantly more difficult. This is because the straw itself has an extremely limited capacity. Your air duct network is the same way: it has a limited amount of air it can hold, and it’s designed for maximum airflow with your vents all open. When you close off vents, this increases the air pressure inside your ducts, making it harder for your blower fan to continue cycling air. In turn, you waste money, your home doesn’t cool off any faster, and you’ll find yourself having to fix a broken blower fan far faster than you would otherwise.
Instead, leave the vents in these rooms open and simply close the door and shut the blinds. This will keep the air in these rooms cooler, thus allowing it to continue to cycle throughout your home. Likewise, make sure these vents and registers are not blocked by things like furniture. It’s not uncommon for people to place things like a desk or chest of drawers over a vent in your floor—this also blocks airflow and creates the same problem as shutting the register.Stay cooler and more comfortable this summer by scheduling an air conditioning tune-up with the team at EnviroSafe Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Water Treatment! Dial (856) 878-2806 to request your appointment now!