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The Great Thermostat Misunderstanding, or Cool Your Home for Less with This Tip

setting-wall-thermostatAs HVAC technicians with plenty of experience working with both residential and commercial customers, we often encounter misunderstandings about cooling and heating. Many of these misunderstandings have been around for decades.

But today, with the quick access that almost everybody has to information, these misunderstandings travel even faster—and it’s almost impossible to stamp them out. We can only try our best to see that our customers are informed so they receive the most efficient and longest service from their heating and central air conditioning system in Zebulon, NC.

The Big Misunderstanding about Thermostats

A few weeks ago we wrote a post about the benefits of installing a Wi-Fi thermostat. We think this is a great idea for improving comfort and cutting down on energy bills. But you can start saving with your current thermostat right now if you watch out for the Big Mistake many people make with thermostats during the summer.

The big mistake is continually lowering the thermostat, often as low as it can go, in order to enjoy “more cooling.” Often on a hot day, people will but the thermostat down to its lowest setting (60°F on most systems) because they believe this is the best way to “push back” against hot weather. But thermostats and air conditioners don’t work this way! This tactic is almost certain to waste energy and end up delivering a home that’s too cool for comfort.

There are two important factors to consider in this situation:

First, a thermostat doesn’t work like a throttle or the flames on a gas-burning stove. You aren’t getting more cooling when you turn down the thermostat. What happens is the compressor on the air conditioner remains running for longer, until the thermostat detects the temperature setting is reached. This means a waste of energy for no real benefit—as well as a house that’s too cold.

Second, the greater the difference between temperatures inside and outside the house, the faster heat moves from one location to the other. If your home is much colder than the outside air, the home will gain heat faster, and this will force more work from the AC. Narrowing the gap between indoor and outdoor temperatures helps maintain a more stable indoor climate and put less work on the air conditioner.

What Is a Good Thermostat Setting for Summer?

The Department of Energy recommends you set your home’s thermostat to 78°F in summer. This might at first sound a bit warm to you—but when it’s in the 90s outside, this is a pleasant temperature. If you find that 78°F is still too hot, we advise going down to a lower temperature, such as 72°F then raising the temperature by one degree each day to help the household acclimatize. Each degree higher the thermostat goes will mean around 1–2% savings on your bills. Going from 68°F to 78°F might help you cut 20% off your utility bills over the summer. Plus, the reduced stress on the compressor will help the system enjoy a longer life.

If your comfort problems are coming from AC malfunctions, or if you’re interested in installing a new AC system or thermostat, contact us today.

Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. offers comfort from our family to yours! We serve the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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