Fact or Myth: Sleeping With the Windows Open Reduces Energy Expenses
In late August and early September, the temperatures in Foothill Ranch, California, are pleasant. During the day, it can go up to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, it stays at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You will want to use air conditioning during the day to keep your home comfortable. However, you might wonder if you could save a few dollars on energy by shutting off your air conditioning unit and opening the windows at night.
In many cases, shutting off the AC and opening the windows can save you money, especially in Southern California, where nighttime temperatures are relatively comfortable. However, this isn’t always the case. When deciding whether or not to shut off the AC and open the window to save money, there are several factors that you need to consider.
Outdoor Versus Indoor Temperature
One of the first things you have to think about is the outdoor temperature versus the temperature in your home. Most people in California set their AC unit at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, on warmer summer nights, the temperatures might spike into the low to mid-70s.
If that is the case, turning off your air conditioner and opening your windows is counterproductive and could even cost you money. Temperatures always look for equilibrium. If it is 70 degrees in your home but 73 degrees outside, the warm air will enter your home and the cool air will be pulled out until there is a balance.
The next day, when you turn on your air conditioning unit, it will have to bring your home from 73 degrees back down to 70 degrees or your desired temperature. Because you left the windows open overnight, your AC unit will have to work harder to lower the internal temperature. Each degree your AC unit lowers your indoor air temperature could represent up to a 1% increase in your energy bill.
A 1% increase does not sound like the end of the world. However, when you add up these small incremental increases throughout the year, they can substantially increase your energy bill. Remember, the energy you use to cool and heat your home represents more than 60% of your utility expenses. The goal is to take steps to keep your energy expense at a minimum.
When You Open the Door, You Let Humidity In
When most people think about humidity, they think about the air outside. Anyone who has been in California for any amount of time knows the difference between a hot day and a hot and humid day. Even if the outside temperature is the same, it will feel hotter on a humid day. Being in a humid environment is uncomfortable.
In addition to cooling your home, most air conditioning units will also remove excessive humidity. When you open your windows at night, you let that humidity in. The humidity will permeate the carpet and furnishings in your home throughout the night.
Your air conditioning unit will have to work harder to counteract the effects of humidity. Having your thermostat set at 70 degrees when the indoor air is humid will not feel the same as if the indoor air was dehumidified. You will find yourself lowering the temperature on your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower so that your home feels like 70 degrees with no humidity.
Some studies have shown that, if you leave your windows open overnight, your AC unit must combat an additional five gallons of moisture in the air the next day. This affects how you feel in your home and the amount of money you spend on energy costs.
You might be surprised to learn just how little opening your windows at night does for you compared to how much harder your AC unit needs to work the next day. Turning your unit off at night will lower your energy expenses by around 30%. However, the added humidity and increased interior air temperature could mean that your AC unit works between 21% and 26% harder to cool your home the next day. Any savings garnered by shutting off your unit are consumed by the excess energy needed to operate your unit the next day.
It is even worse if your AC unit is poorly maintained. Dirty evaporator or condenser coils can impact how effectively your AC unit works. If you feel that your air conditioning unit is not working as well as it should, give us a call at White Mechanical, Inc.. We will be happy to send out our technicians and have them evaluate your unit. We can recommend repairs or even suggest replacement units to help your family stay cool all summer long.
Does It Work If I Open My Windows and Turn on My AC Unit?
In theory, it seems like it should help. You benefit from your air conditioning unit working and get the cool air blowing into your home from outside.
However, you may not realize that, when White Mechanical, Inc.’s technicians come to install your air conditioning unit, the unit we select is based on the size of your home. When you open your windows, your air conditioning unit is trying to cool your home and the outside air. So it is continuously working harder than it was designed to.
Running your air conditioning unit with your windows open could lead to the unit burning out or could cause premature damage to different parts of the air conditioning unit. Suppose you want to open your windows to get some fresh air. That is fine. Turn off your air conditioner. When you are ready to use the air conditioner again, make sure that the windows are closed.
If you opt to open your windows at night, especially on a very cool night, try to get up in the morning and close your windows and blinds before the sun rises. This will let you trap the cold air in your home and make it easier for your air conditioner to keep your home cool throughout the day.
Work With Heating and Cooling Experts in Foothill Ranch, California
At White Mechanical, Inc., we are proud to offer NATE-certified technicians who are skilled and equipped to handle your individual HVAC needs. We are licensed, bonded, and insured. Our technicians feel equally comfortable working in a residential or commercial environment.
There is no job that is too big for us or a job we think is too small. We work hard so that our technicians are up-to-date with the industry so they can resolve every issue they come across. We want you to feel comfortable in your home or business, knowing that, if all else fails, your HVAC system won’t.
White Mechanical, Inc. is experienced with HVAC maintenance, installations, and repairs. You can turn to us for sheet-metal work, ventilation, filtration, and fiberglass installation. When it comes time to replace your system, give us a call.
White Mechanical, Inc. invites you to see for yourself how we can help you with any HVAC project in the Foothill Ranch area.