When it comes to the Texas heat and summer, the high temperatures seem hard to beat. Misconceptions about energy use are hiding in every corner of your home and can take a toll on your utility bill.
Don’t be fooled by common energy myths:
MYTH: Turning off the AC while not home saves energy.
FACT: Turning off your AC system while you’re gone can actually cause your unit to work harder. It’s more energy efficient to adjust the temperature gradually, especially by using a programmable thermostat.
MYTH: Running ceiling fans will help keep empty rooms cooler.
FACT: Fans cool your skin, they do not cool a room. Fans work by circulating the air, which creates a breeze, making you feel cooler when it hits your skin. Just like lights, you should turn ceiling fans off when you exit a room.
MYTH: Closing air vents in unused rooms saves energy.
FACT: Central air systems work by distributing air throughout the entire home. When you close a vent, you prevent the system from delivering air to that area and your AC system is still using energy to do so.
MYTH: Setting the thermostat at a lower temperature cools your home faster.
FACT: When you turn down the thermostat, the unit will cool at the same speed regardless of setting. We recommend that you keep your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer for the highest efficiency. For every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer, you can save up to 4% on cooling costs.
MYTH: Keeping the fan in the “on” position on your thermostat keeps your home cooler.
FACT: The “on” setting forces your AC to run constantly—even when your home is already cool, which raises your home’s humidity. Keep your fan on “auto” to keep humidity down and save on energy costs.
MYTH: Time of day doesn’t matter when it comes to running appliances.
FACT: Time of day does matter when running electrical loads. To avoid peak times of use and save energy, take advantage of the delay setting and run your dishwasher at night.
MYTH: Bigger is always better when it comes to cooling equipment.
FACT: Too often, cooling equipment that isn’t sized properly, lead to higher electric bills. A unit that’s too large for your home will not cool evenly and might produce higher indoor humidity.
MYTH: AC is the only way to beat the summer heat.
FACT: There are many other options to help cool off this summer:
- Keep doors and windows closed and make sure they are sealed properly to prevent outside humidity from seeping in.
- Close your curtains in the morning before the heat sets in.
- Create natural shade by planting trees on your home’s southern and western exposures.
- Use ceiling or floor fans when you occupy a room. These both use considerably less energy.
- Properly insulate your attic.