Friday, July 8, 2011

Air Conditioning Mysteries

Recently, I received a text from my friend, Andy. It said:

You should do a blog post about the most effective way to use AC in the summer. Is it better to turn it off when you're gone or just raise the temp. I've heard different things and I'm confused. I need some light green advice.

OK. Advice coming up!

So here's what I think is true after some research on the internet: You should turn it off, for maximum energy savings.

This assumes, however, that your AC actually works. Mine is quite inefficient, and it takes most of the night to cool the house down if I'm gone all day. So I just turn mine up, not off, since I can't sleep when it's hot (that's why I'm LIGHT green.)

There are other things you can do to keep your house cool while using less energy.
  • Use fans. I have ceiling fans in both rooms in my house. They make a huge difference to the way I perceive the temperature, even if they don't actually make it colder.
  • Get blackout curtains. These have a reflective surface on one side that reduces the amount of sun that comes into the house. Since I live in Texas, I start using mine in the spring. They do make the house a bit dark, but it's worth it for those few degrees of difference they make in the temperature.
  • Use heat producing appliances (like the oven and dryer) at night. I have a toaster oven that I use for most of my baking during the summer.
  • Change your air filters regularly.

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