Will Turning The Thermostat Down Cool My Home Faster?
California is notorious for its hot summers and Bay Area residents know all about this. We all depend on our air conditioners to keep us cool and comfortable when we get home. But, what do you do when the inside of your house is hot and humid when you enter? The answer for most people is that they keep turning the thermostat down. This doesn’t really solve the problem and only adds to the energy costs. It can be awfully tempting to turn the thermostat down to 72°F on a roasting hot day, but these are a few things that can go wrong with that.
The Thermostat is Not a Throttle
Your air conditioner doesn’t start huffing or working harder as you turn the thermostat down. This is not how it works. Basically, whenever you lower the temperature, you set a different target temperature for the air conditioner to achieve. You don’t really make the air conditioner start cooling any faster.
The thermostat switches off the compressor and fans when its temperature sensors detect that the set temperature has been reached. In short, the thermostat is an “on” and “off” switch. It is not a throttle that ramps the power up or down. You only keep the air conditioner running for longer when you drop the thermostat low. It doesn’t give you a faster or a higher cooling output.
Minimize Heat Gain
Why does your house get hot on a hot day? It is because the sun’s rays and ambient heat makes its way inside the house through windows, walls, and gaps in insulation. Heat has a tendency of moving from an area of higher concentration to lower concentration. You can keep your home cool by slowing down this heat gain.
Good insulation is an important part of minimizing heat gain. It ensures that the immediate inside of the house has the same temperature as the outside. Without insulation, your air conditioner will keep working if you set the temperature super low.
Dangers of Low Thermostat Setting
Air conditioners that run for an extended period of time incur unnecessary wear and tear. This can cause AC repair issues and reduce its lifespan. In addition, your house will become far too cold if you forget to change the settings on the thermostat once the desired inside temperature is reached. You will waste money and energy.
You should consider installing a programmable thermostat for avoiding this problem. These types of thermostats can be controlled by a mobile device as well. You can start remote cooling a few hours before you are due to come home. This will increase efficiency while eliminating any discomfort.
Ideal Thermostat Setting
You should set the thermostat to a higher temperature and keep it running steadily there throughout the day. This will slow down heat gain and reduce the risk of your air conditioner running constantly. The ideal temperature depends on the household.
Thermostat setting of 78°F is recommended by the Department of Energy when people are at home. The temperature should ideally be increased by 8°F when people are away or at night. These changes are easy to make with the help of a programmable thermostat. If going up to 78°F suddenly is uncomfortable for you and your family, you can consider increasing the temperature by a degree a day until you become acclimatized.