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Fox Around the House

Don't be fooled by these 5 home cooling myths

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 (iStock)

As the mercury rises this summer, most people are going to be looking for ways to keep their electricity bills down. But before you make any changes around the home, here are a few air conditioning myths to watch out for.

Myth: Fans Keep a Room Cool

Fans don’t make a room any cooler, they merely make you feel cooler. By moving air over your skin, a fan can lower your body temperature, but will do nothing for the heat inside a room. So if you’re not in the room, you’re just wasting energy by leaving the fan on. However, there’s one exception to this rule: if the air temperature outside the house is cooler than the air inside, then placing a fan near a window can help draw cool air into the home or create a cross current to exhaust some of the hot air trapped inside. 

Myth: Upgrading to a bigger air conditioner will give you better results

As summer stretches into the hottest months of the year, your air conditioner might be straining to keep your home cool, causing you to head to the store for a newer and bigger unit. But there are a lot of reasons your air conditioner might not be up to the task. As with any appliance, an air conditioner needs regular maintenance. Start by cleaning the air conditioner, and if that doesn’t help, you can try to get it serviced. If the air conditioner is installed in a spot that gets direct sun all day long, moving it to a shadier location might help. Also the problem might not be the air conditioner at all. If you have a lot of leaks in your house, such as cracks around the windows, missing weather stripping around the door, or poor insulation, the problem could be your house. Try to look for any gaps where you might be leaking cold air and plug them up.

Myth: An air conditioner is just a device to cool the air

Sure, air conditioners produce a steady stream of cool air, but there’s actually another factor at play when it comes to making you comfortable in the summer. In addition to cooling the air, air conditioners also reduce humidity. Humid air feels hotter than dryer air. Many air conditioners have a drying function that is dedicated to reducing humidity, and this setting also uses a less energy. If your air conditioner doesn’t have this setting, you could also try using a dehumidifier to save a little money on your energy bill. 

Myth: Crank the temperature down for faster cooling

Central air conditioners are designed to work at a fairly constant pace and then turn off when your home reaches the desired temperature. So turning the temperature way down won’t cool it faster, it just means you might end up with a frigid house if you forget to readjust the thermostat once you hit a comfortable temperature, wasting money and energy. There is, however, an exception to this rule. If you have a window unit, you likely have low, medium and high settings. Using the high setting will cool things off faster — just remember to turn it down once your home feels comfortable.

Myth: It’s more efficient to leave it on all day than to raise and lower the temperature

Programmable thermostats are a great way to save money on energy bills during both the winter and summer months. By setting your thermostat to change the temperature in the house when you’re not around, you can dramatically cut down on energy usage. Many people believe that an air conditioner has to work extra hard to cool the house back down when you get home, negating any benefit from turning the temperature down. However, this simply isn’t true. Even when you’re not around, your air conditioner is hard at work keeping the place cool, which leads you to waste a lot of energy. So feel free to use the program function on your thermostat and save some money on your bills this summer.