IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Rocky Mountain Power officials want to dispel a few common myths about cooling off that will help you save money on your bill.
Myth: Leaving the AC running when you are away saves energy
It takes a lot of energy to cool down a sweltering house, but it is definitely a waste of money and electricity to keep your AC running when you are gone. The best option is to use a programmable thermostat that can regulate the temperature, letting your house warm up during the day and then return to your chosen comfort level by the time you get home. Also, make sure you set your air conditioner thermostat as high as comfortable – Rocky Mountain Power recommends 78 degrees or higher when you’re home and 85 degrees while you are away.
Myth: Cranking the thermostat lower will cool the house off faster
The majority of residential central air systems have only one fan speed. So regardless of the set temperature, the house will adjust at the same rate. Dropping the thermostat to 65 degrees won’t cool the house faster. You could just be wasting an extra 10 degrees or so worth of energy and money.
Myth: Leaving your ceiling fans on while you’re away keeps your home cool
Fans cool people, not rooms. They are effective in helping you stay cool while reducing your air conditioning costs. Plus, since they are targeted to a specific area, they can be more cost-effective than cooling your entire home. But treat them like a light – turn them off when you leave the room.
Myth: Closing vents in some rooms will boost cooling in others
Nope. The majority of modern central air systems are designed to distribute air throughout an entire house. So if you close a vent in one room, the system keeps cooling and pumping to that area without the air getting into the space. Basically you are paying to keep the inside of your A/C ducts cool. Plus, it can be hard on your system since the more vents you close, the harder your unit has to work to push the air out.
Myth: Air conditioning is the only way to keep cool
Evaporative coolers, or swamp coolers have come a long way over the past few decades. They can cool hot, dry air by up to 30 degrees through the natural process of evaporation, while using only enough electricity to power a fan. They work best in the dry, arid climates of the west because they add moisture to the air. Whole house fans, portable fans and ceiling fans are also really effective ways to cool off in the summer.